It was spring 2022 with the biggest COVID-19 travel restrictions gradually being lifted it was time for the first big holiday for my boyfriend and I. As I wanted to convince my boyfriend that travelling without his beloved car can also be fun I decided to drag him along on a Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Reflection, starting from the Italian port of Civitavecchia near Rome.
After our visit to the Diamond Lounge we made our way to the gate. Even though we were flying Air Europa, the plane at the gate clearly wasn’t an Embraer or Boeing 737 of Air Europa as you would usually expect. At the gate was an Airbus A320 in the colourful livery of Iberojet. Due to unkown reasons (lack of staff or maybe late delivery of 737 Max aircraft to Air Europa?) this plane was wet leased from Iberojet by Air Europa to fly the Madrid to Brussels and back route.
Iberojet is mostly known from its low-cost flights to far away Spanish speaking destinations using their all-economy A330 and A350 aircraft. The sole A320 being the oddball of the fleet and now finding use flying for Air Europa. Not having heard much good about Iberojet I had rather low expectations of the flight.
From Brussels (BRU) 10:45 to Madrid (MAD) 13:10
Flight Time 2 hours and 25 minutes
Airbus A320-200 EC-LZD
Delivered to Orbest in June 2013, Flying for Iberojet since May 2021
The aircraft was in an all-economy layout with 180 seats, I pre-selected the first row at the bulkhead as these seats gave some more legroom. Rows 2 and 3 the other business class rows had the typical cramped leg space you would expect from a charter aircraft, proving my selection of row 1 was a good bet.
Surprisingly there was a curtain divider between Business and Economy which was indeed closed during the flight, giving somewhat more privacy. The load factor of only three people in business class provided for a quiet cabin.
At Air Europa as a Spanish airline you were still required to wear a facemask aboard during the flight at all times. Upon boarding the cabin crew handed a disinfectant towel to everyone. I was also surprised by the fact that we were served a choice of water or orange juice in plastic cups as a pre-departure beverage. Something you don’t see often in business class within Europa and competitor Iberia certainly doesn’t do it on a similar length route.
After take-off we were served a meal in a thick grey tray. Air Europa tries to provide a more original healthy style of food. As a starter there was some hummus with vegetables, the main was a quinoa salad with some slices of beef and the dessert was a rich chocolate mousse. Alongside the cabin crew handed out warm bread, but they were overbaked and so hard that they were almost inedible.
Along with the meal I had a nice white wine served in a small glass bottle and a container of water, both with proper glasses to drink from.
After the meal I was offered a choice of tea or coffee and selected a hot tea which was served as hot water in a cup with your own separate tea bag so you could control how strong you wanted your tea.
Service on board vastly exceed my expectations and the crew clearly did their jobs with passion and joy, it was never a problem if we wanted extra drinks and where proactively offered these. On the food front, the catering was okay, but maybe a bit too experimental for my taste. I prefer the more traditional hot meal served by Iberia on the same sector.
Air Europa gains points with their pre-departure beverage, which is always a nice welcome.
Arriving in Madrid was with the usual long taxi as the airport is so vast in size it took quite some time before our flight was parked at a remote stand in front of Terminal 2. Even though there were plenty of unused jet ways we were parked at a remote stand and bussed to the terminal.
This however was fast and smooth and we were in the terminal to walk to our connecting flight in no-time.