May 27 2024  |  Airline & Terminal News

WTCE issue: Inspired by Spain, an interview with Iberia's Melanie Berry

By Chelsea Clarke

This is a special feature from PAX International's May 2024 WTCE issue, on page 24.

Iberia’s A350 900

Inspired by Spain
 With a rich legacy spanning almost a century, the Spanish airline Iberia aims to connect people and culture. Dedicated to fostering prosperity and social impact, Iberia contributes to the Spanish GDP and employment; but it is the airline’s commitment to celebrating its local culture that sets it apart. 

Now, with Iberia Group boasting 167 aircraft carriers and relaunched direct flights between Madrid and Tokyo, as well as added routes to Tirana and Ljubljana, the Spanish airline with Latin American soul is growing—but according to Melanie Berry, Iberia’s Director of Customer Experience, its mission remains the same.

Melanie Berry, Director of Customer Experience, Iberia

“During these almost 97 years, at Iberia we have had the same purpose: we generate prosperity by connecting people with the world,” she tells PAX International.

Iberia extends its cultural touch with the introduction of toiletry bags designed by Teresa Helbig, inspired by the airline’s iconic blue, red and yellow colours. These sustainable bags, available in Business and Premium Economy Class, showcase vegan cosmetics made in Spain using surplus wine grapes from the wine used onboard Iberia in eco-friendly packaging.

“These sustainable products are packaged by Envera, the Iberia employee association for parents of people with disabilities, which employs more than 400 people with disabilities,” says Berry, adding that passengers will be able to select a complete kit or just components. Any products not used are then reused to avoid unnecessary waste. Iberia is one of the first in the industry to introduce full circularity for amenity kits.

Iberia’s culinary experience, crafted by caterer Do&Co, provides passengers with an authentic taste of Spain.

“Iberia is very proud to be Spanish and we try to reflect that origin in our inflight menus,” says Berry. “Our meals are very much based on the Mediterranean diet, with fresh, local and seasonal produce wherever possible.”

This includes options such as handmade cappellacci pasta, traditional Spanish salmorejo, and roasted chicken thighs with pisto Manchego. Additionally, Iberia accommodates passengers with dietary restrictions with kosher, vegan, low-salt, low- calorie and gluten-free options.

As Iberia heads into its next century, its mission to advance local culture through personal touches will keep Spain connected throughout the globe, Berry says.

Interiors snapshot

Iberia’s A350 NEXT Economy cabin

Along with its other inflight offerings, Iberia has a large focus on connectivity. With a comprehensive entertainment offering, passengers can select from 220 films, including blockbuster hits alongside curated Spanish cinema, Latin American content, full franchises and kids’ content plus 330 titles with podcasts, albums and playlists. The airline has installed Wi-Fi in 90 percent of its fleet offering free text messaging for Business Class and Iberia Plus members. Paid internet is also available.

Iberia has recently introduced the enhanced experience in its three cabins on its latest A350 with new Airbus standard—specifically the 4, 2022 standard. The Business Class features a sliding door for increased privacy, individual access to the aisle and a two-meter-long lie-flat bed with additional storage. The Premium Economy cabin boasts added privacy with headrest wings, a touchscreen IFE navigation panel and screens from 12 to 13 inches. Economy Class passengers enjoy an expanded cabin width, resulting in increased seat width and comfort. All Economy passengers benefit from adjustable headrests and larger inflight entertainment screens. 

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