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FRA - MAD - TFN on Iberia's A340

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  • FRA - MAD - TFN on Iberia's A340


    in March 2008 I flew from Frankfurt to Tenerife with Iberia, which means that I had to change the aircraft in Madrid Barajas. The flight from Frankfurt to Madrid is operated with an A340-300 on sundays. I was occupied the saturday before and so this was a good opportunity to fly on an A340.
    On Sunday, march 16th I went to the airport by train. The check-in took about 40 minutes and the queue was pretty long so I already knew that the Airbus A340 would be in use. After check-in I actually intended to visit the spectators terrace, but I only had about 30 minutes left, didn’t want to spend money on it and the queue was too long as well. So I went directly to the passenger’s area in Terminal 2.

    Nothing was going on in the Schengen Gates area, so I could pass the security check very quickly – this time without liquids in my bag
    The waiting hall however was pretty crowded, and our aircraft had already arrived. Boarding began a few minutes later. I prefered to watch the ramp and especially the nice aircraft next to our gate, so I entered the aircraft as one of the very last persons.

    Frankfurt to Madrid
    Iberia 3507
    Airbus A340-300 EC-HGX

    I asked one of the F/As for the possibility to have a look into the flightdeck, but she refused it and told me that this was a checkflight and so there were three crew members in the cockpit. As far as I remember the A340 has two jumpseats, so she probably didn’t want me to enter just not to annoy the instructor Anyways, obviously it’s pretty good for Iberia to operate the huge A343 into Frankfurt. They can carry a lot of passengers and they can do their A340 checkflights on a rather short routing as well. The load was pretty good by the way, I guess about 95%.

    I was placed to the left side, but a woman asked me to change the seat so her husband could sit nextto her, so I finally had a window place on the right side. Pushback was on time, afterwards we taxiied to runway 18 which took about 15 minutes.

    It’s true: the A340-300 climbs very slowly so we were surrounded by clouds for almost half an hour.

    The flight itself was rather boring. Somewhere over Switzerland or France, the service began. Iberia does not serve anything for free. Foods and drinks are pretty expensive, a sandwich for instance costs 8 Euros (about 12US$). I did not find coffee on the menu so I asked the F/A for the price. She told me that coffee is 2 Euros and I said that now I didn’t want it anymore A few minutes later she returned smiling and gave me some coffee for free. I assume it was old or somebody spit in but I didn’t mind at that moment. The coffee was okay anyways

    The aircraft had no PTV, and the screens only showed the usual airshow and some ads for the frequent flyer program. Because of the wing I didn’t see to much of the landscape and France was covered by clouds anyways. Passing the Pyrenees was interesting and soon afterwards descend began. The landscape north of Madrid is pretty dry and I would not have expected this sort of landscape in continental Europe.

    We landed on runway 33R in Barajas. Taxiing to the Terminal 4S took about 10 minutes. I was permitted to have a look at the flight deck but they didn’t want me to take photos.

    I was impressed by the architecture of the airport and continued to the M – concourse. There was a passport control and even another security check. Perhaps I left the passenger’s area inconsciously but I assume they only want to have some extra security. Pretty unfair for the weapon- and ammunition stores in the terminal

    I had almost two hours until departure to Tenerife Norte. I searched for a restaurant but all I found was a sandwich store and some sort of a vegetable restaurant. I decided to have two sandwiches and then went to my Gate M29. Boarding was supposed to begin at 15h, one hour before departure. It finally started at 15.20.

    Madrid to Tenerife Norte
    Iberia 958
    Airbus A340-600 EC-JNQ

    Once again I wanted to have a look at the flightdeck, and this time they told me that entering the cockpit is in general not permitted. So I went to my assigned seat (31H), which I had already received in Frankfurt. There were no free window seats and I didn’t feel like asking somebody to change with me so I simply stayed at the aisle.
    The A340-600 is a pretty quiet airplane and apart from the design of the seats the cabin looked very clean and modern. I also liked the camera which is situated on top of the tail. It was pretty interesting to watch it during take off. We almost used the whole runway and only had about 300 - 500 feet above the threshold after rotating.
    The tail camera remained switched on during nearly the whole flight. There was no airshow or anything else so I slept a bit which was no problem thanks to the new seats.

    Right after I took this picture the F/A told me not to take any photos. I told her, that they were for just for myself and that I don't intend to publish them commercially. She obviously thought that taking photos on airplanes is forbidden in general. Next time I will tell her, that there are a few Iberia cockpit crew members taking photos for

    Before landing the tail camera was switched on once again. We approached Los Rodeos’ runway 12. About 1 or 2 nautical miles before touchdown, the F/As still walked through the cabin and then the announcement for landing came. That was quite late in my opinion The landing was nice, I could even see the usual smoke coming from the tires in the tail camera

    Usually I leave the aircraft as one of the last people, but this time I just didn’t want to be on board anymore. I also felt sick of asking to see the flightdeck and so I just didn’t do so.

    The airport of Tenerife Norte is pretty nice. The Terminal was built in 2003 (perhaps 2002) and even with a few hundred passengers arriving at the same time it is absolutely not overloaded. I waited about 30 minutes for my suitcase and finally left the airport when it was almost dark.

    I visit Tenerife every two years so I am well familiar with it. This means that I will only publish a few pictures of the island because most of the time I spent sleeping in the sun

    The view out of my window.

    At the last day we decided to drive to a light house which is situated 15 kilometres from our hotel (air-line distance ). Finally it took us 2,5 hours to go there because we drove via Masca. It's a little village situated in a basin. Check out the road on the pictures.

    The landscape is really impressing. If you ever go to Tenerife, go to Masca !

    Rule of thumb for Tenerife: In the North it's humid and green, in the South it's dry and brown because the clouds often accumulate on the northern side of the hills.

    We finally arrived at the light house and saw our village 13 km away, were we started 2,5 hours before. Felt a bit frustrating

    The next day (March 24th 200 I had to fly back home again. So I went up to the Los Rodeos airport n the morning.

    As said, I really like that airport. When I read the timetable later I noticed that there is not a single international flight on mondays. And in general this airport is more important to people going to continental Spain than to tourists who prefer the South Airport.

    Check In was no problem and I still had about 90 minutes until departure. The terminal is quite good for spotting purposes, so guess what I did

    Binter is the airline of the Canary Islands, here seen in the new colours.

    My A340-600 arriving from Madrid.

    In the meanwhile, the weather got worse. Los Rodeos is situated on a plateau, so it's often foggy up there. This was one of the reasons for the crash of the two 747 in 1977

    Tenerife Norte to Madrid
    Iberia 959
    Airbus A340-600 EC-JPU

    Again I boarded quite late. This time I had my seat on the window, 48A

    Take Off in heavy rain.

    The flight was nothing special as well, except for the nice view onto the Algarve.

    The river is the border between Portugal and Spain. The funny thing about it: there's one hour of time difference between the two countries

    Approaching Barajas over Madrid's suburbs. Looks like in Britain, but each house has got an own swimming pool

    I arrived at Terminal 4S. It's a terminal which is situated in the middle of the airport. It's isolated and can not be reached by car. Two days before departure I noticed that I had five hours in Madrid, so I decided to visit the city. In order to leave T4S you have to go to terminal 4 with a subway, which is the same model as in Frankfurt I believe.

    Barajas Airport architecture is very interesting but also complicated, but it's very easy to find the way because the signage is pretty good.

    Half an hour later I arrived in the city. I left the subway at "Nuevos Ministerios" and then wanted to walk to the city centre. After walking 15 minutes however I noticed that this would take too much time, so I finally took the bus. I saw the Plaza Mayor, the King's Palace, the Almudena Cathedral and of course just the city itself. Madrid is an interesting place, I hope to come back there and have a bit more of time.

    I went back to the airport two hours before departure at 6PM. The transport connection to the airport is pretty good, although you have to change the subway line two times if you are coming from the city centre.

    Madrid to Frankfurt
    Iberia 3512
    Airbus A319 EC-KBX

    I entered the aircraft and the F/A seemed to be in a good mood. So I decided to ask for the flightdeck once again. I was allowed to enter and could even take some photos

    I noticed the LCD - displays and thought that the aircraft must be quite new. Indeed it was delivered in april 2007. Also the cabin looked pretty good with new leather seats.

    There's nothing special about this flight either, probably because it was during night.

    We arrived 10 minutes early in Frankfurt, 25 minutes before my train back home was supposed to leave. We were parked on the apron, so I already accepted to miss that train.

    10 minutes later I had received my suitcase and ran to the "Skyline" train which connects Terminal 2 with Terminal 1 and the train station. I reached it 5 seconds before departing. After arriving in Terminal 1 I ran to the train station and found departure board saying "Train arriving a few minutes later". I thought that this was the best message of my day, because the train would have actually been gone when I arrived at the station. The train however stood there and two seconds after boarding the departure was announced. I arrived at home one hour later.

    Hope you liked my report, feedback is appreciated

  • #2
    Nice report, and that reminds me that I must come back to Tenerife soon.


    • #3
      Yes very nice and complete report, I just hate Iberia service. Flew them about 12 times and only had like 1-2 flghts with OK service.

      Thanks a lot


      • #4
        nice reading. I have fond memories from Tenerife, thanks for those island pics !
        My pics on &


        • #5
          Although I have never been there - the trip report did a good job at making me fell as if I was there. Anyway, IB's F/As are normally a bit curt, and I cannot believe that they expect you to pay for the coffee - but then again, fly on another airline and you would have probably have to have done the same. What a shame that our industry has had to resort to this.

          Do you normally get the chance to see flight decks? How is the request normally recieved in Europe? Here in the U.S. when I ask - I normally get a "no" - but then again, I am a bit 'suspect' looking...
          Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.


          • #6
            Great Report!!!!!!!

            And great pictures!!
            BH Airlines A319


            • #7
              Thank you for your feedback !

              @AA1818: It's depending on company and country of the airline (not because of their laws but because of their mentality). It's easier to get into the flightdeck with Air France, KLM or SAS than with Lufthansa for instance.
              With Iberia it was the first time that I was not permitted to have at least a look into the cockpit, so in general it's possible to get in there


              • #8
                Great report and nice pictures to back it. Also loved the opportunity to recall some of my trips there. Also time for me to make a return. I am sorry you got some awful f/as, who provide me with another reason to keep up my Spanish to better support my photographer's cause.
                Thanks for visiting
                *Avimage's Monthly Slide list *


                • #9
                  I don't speak a word Spanish and that might perhaps never change. Always came along with English and French