Things started nice with a normal flight from Las Palmas to Madrid yesterday even though the organisation could have been better on the Gran Canaria Airport. After arriving in Madrid I was heading to the gate for the flight to Frankfurt. I eventually made it in time and boarded Iberia flight 3516 schedules on 16:00. We then taxied to the runway and the aircraft was accelerating and suddenly after about 1/4 or the runway, the pilot reduced thrust and the takeoff was aborted.

While this was not really a quite nice thing to notice, things started getting worse now. After some discussion with people from the technical department of Iberia we taxied back to the gate with the pilot speaking of not further defined technical problems (he probably said some more interesting things in spanish though, which I didn’t understand).¬† After another half and hour we were asked to leave the airplane and proceed to another gate at the other end of the airport.

About an hour later we borded another aircraft there and things looked like it could finally work out. After the usually security advise we taxied again to the runway but in the end never reached it and got back to the gate which a rather annoyed and angry pilot telling us that we have technical problem again. (Some people metioned to me that he said “I won’t fly with this aircraft” in spanish but I cannot say that for sure). Half an hour later we also left this aircraft and where still stuck in Madrid with people getting nervous and others that suffer of aviophobia starting to cry.

Sorting out our options that using the train to Frankfurt would take about 19 hours and that a proper Lufthansa flight would cost us more than 1000 Euros most of the people got back to waiting for things to come while the first now decided to leave Iberia forever and try to find some more luck elsewhere.

Two and a half hours later and after we got a free sandwhich from Iberia (which was never announced but people found out somehow) yet another aircraft (the third one…) left Madrid at 22:00 and luckily arriving in one piece at about 24:00 in Frankfurt. This of course made me miss the last possibility to go home by train by about 2 hours so I was stuck in Frankfurt until the first train left in the early morining. Luckily by that time I knew most of the passengers of the flight personally and spent the time having a nice conversation with a girl who had started her journey 48 hours earlier in Honduras and was now also waiting for finishing the last 200km

Just a few of the reasons I will never use Iberia for any flight again:

  • There was absolutely no information on the technical problems nor was there any member of the crew which could make announcements in proper english
  • Service was bad on all flights and they didn’t even give people something to drink for free after getting stuck in two aircrafts
  • They refused to give any reimbursement for the inconvenience (have to go into that though)
  • The seat pitch is absolutely ridiculous

As I write this I got a message from André that after waiting 90 minutes in Las Palmas their aircraft got eventually evacuated.

Have a nice flight – but use sane companies…

3 Responses to “IBE 3516 (aka Why I spent a night at Frankfurt Airport)”

  1. Philip Withnall Says:

    I had a similar, though fortunately nowhere near as bad, experience with Iberia on the way to Gran Canaria. My flight from Heathrow to Madrid was delayed (without explanation or apology) for an hour, which caused me to technically miss the connection from Madrid to Las Palmas. It was only after pushing through the passport queue and running the length of Madrid’s terminal 4 that I found out the second flight had been delayed.

    I can only hope that my return journey will go better.

  2. Juanjo Says:

    Iberia it’s a shame for every Spanish.

    It’s an expensive company (or well, it’s not as cheap as you should expect from the service they give), costumer unfriendly and I think you’re lucky if you don’t have problems with your baggage.

    And later the Spanish people wonder why the rest of Europe thinks that Africa ends in the French frontier.


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