Trip Report: Iberia Regional CRJ1000 Economy Class VLC-SVQ-VLC
This will be a pretty short trip report, because there’s really not much to say about flying Iberia on the short one-hour hop from Valencia to Sevilla and back.
Iberia is a curious bird. It’s supposedly a full-service airline, with their Iberia Express brand a low-cost carrier. Then they also have their partner Vueling, also a low-cost carrier, and Level, yet another low-cost carrier.
Yet in Economy Class on all flights within Europe and Spain, there is no complimentary service. Not even water. And the lowest fares don’t include seat assignments or checked baggage.
So how is Iberia any different from Iberia Express, Vueling, and Level? I actually have no idea.
Iberia Regional flights (and basically all Iberia flights at Valencia are Iberia Regional, i.e. operated by regional aircraft), all board from an area past the lounge as you’re walking from the security checkpoints, and down the stairs.
Recently, Valencia Airport has been improving its facilities. I was surprised to see this comfortable sitting area available to all passengers off to the side.
When boarding the aircraft, the gate agents do call up Oneworld Alliance status passengers for priority boarding, so I guess that is one benefit of flying Iberia if you have status.
But I noticed that parked right in front of the gate was a bus. And just beyond the bus was the only Iberia aircraft I could see. That bus couldn’t possibly be taking us to that very same aircraft, could it? That plane’s only a 30 second walk away from the gate!
Indeed that was our bus, and indeed that was our aircraft! They waited for everyone to get on the bus, and then that bus drove all of 5 seconds to take us to the door of the plane. What a waste of time and fuel! And for all of those status passengers who thought they had some advantage with their priority boarding line? Too bad!
There’s really nothing to report on the flight itself, because like I said, everything is buy-on-board, including water, so I basically just rested until landing in Sevilla.
On the way back from Sevilla to Valencia, thankfully they did let us walk to our plane, even though the distance from gate to aircraft was a lot longer!
I was also struck, both on the Valencia and Sevilla sides, just how many employees they have assigned to load the gate-check suitcases into the belly of the plane. I guess many hands make light work? There was even a supervisor-looking guy with a clipboard to oversee it all, it seemed!
On the flight back, it seemed we weren’t the only ones to come to the airport straight from the Feria. There were a group of women who seemed to have had a few glasses of rebujito too many. One was already clutching the air sickness bag while we were boarding, and others needed to use the lavatory even before takeoff. But the single lavatory in the rear was out of order! That actually turned out to be a lucky thing for us, because we were sitting adjacent to the lavatory door, just one row from the back (again, no seat selection on the lowest fares!).
Other than that, this was an uneventful flight, again because there was only buy-on-board service of which I didn’t partake.
On the Valencia to Sevilla route, Iberia, Vueling, and Ryanair all have nonstop flights. There’s really no difference in the service in the air, and all charge extra for baggage and seating. So it really just boils down to who has the most convenient flight times, for the days you want to travcel.