Spain's Iberia Airlines Unveils Business-Class Upgrades
Iberia Airlines today unveiled new cabin improvements to its long-haul fleet of Airbus wide-body jets, including fully lie-flat seats in business class.
The new business and economy class seating sections in Iberia's fleet will debut on eight new Airbus A330s the airline receives in February. Iberia's existing fleet of A340 aircraft will be converted throughout the year with the cabin upgrades.
The introduction of fully lie-flat seats follows a growing trend in the airline industry to provide first-class comfort in business-class cabins. (Read more: Delta Joins Other Airlines to Offer Lie-Flat Seats)
In Iberia's business class (called Business Plus), the new 180-degree lie-flat seats will replace the airline's current angled seats, which offer a nearly flat recline of 170-degrees. And the new cabin configuration will offer every business class passenger direct aisle access. Window-seat passengers now have to climb over their seat mate.
There's also a new entertainment system with a 15.4-inch touch screen—50 percent larger than the current one—and features tablet-like functionality allowing passengers to swipe through screens. There is also a 4.2-inch touch screen remote with a virtual keyboard, which can also be used to make telephone calls. Later this year, passengers will be able to send and receive text messages on the remote.
Content on the entertainment system will change monthly and will include 80 feature films and television programs in multiple languages, 200 musical options and interactive 3D games. (Read more: In-Flight Entertainment: What You Get on Each Airline)
Economy class passengers on the new Airbus A330s will also have individual entertainment options on 9-inch seat-back touch screens. And new ergonomic seats sporting more room will be featured on the A330s, as well as rolled out on existing A340 aircraft during the year.
Iberia is a member of the oneworld alliance along with American Airlines, which allows frequent-fliers the ability to earn and redeem miles on member airlines. (Read more: How to Quickly Rack Up Frequent-Flier Miles)
Iberia is Spain's largest airline and flies to more than 100 destinations worldwide. The carrier merged with British Airways in 2011, though operates the brand independently under its parent company, International Airlines Group. Iberia's U.S. gateways include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.