The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Has Iberia breached any safety regulations? And why such awful service?

Contrary to a few recent comments I am not a negative person nor grumble my way through life. However my flight on Iberia yesterday from Heathrow to Madrid  does go down as one of the worst ever. I do not often fly with them and plan never to in future but I would throw out two questions.

A generic  first question. Is their service always terrible and terrible beyond belief.  A more specific second question. Are they breaching air regulations by having no one seated in an exit row?

Let’s start with the second question. An Airbus 321- at the first set of seats adjoining the emergency exit on the right hand side of the plane there was no one seated there. On the left there was one person. I do not know the specific rules but suspect that someone should be seated on either side to operate the emergency exit doors. During the flight I saw this a number of times and it was not a case of someone temporarily departing for the lavatory. The seats on the left here clearly show no one seated nor apparently in theories in front and behind. imageimg_1926img_1925


The service was dire. There was no welcome aboard. Okay that will not kill anyone but this was a pattern of the flight. No service. No one offered any food or drink  and when a few of us asked other passengers it seemed a trolley had been zoomed so fast up and down such that no one was aware of the service.  I noticed as it was one of the few occasions where I did want to buy food and drink. In fact the only other time I saw anything resembling service it was the duty free cart being pulled through .

A visit to the toilets situated at the rear of the plane showed clearly the activities of the three crew. One was eating a nice looking meal that I presume was a business class meal. One had her head in an IPad. The last one was reading. All seated at the back hidden from sight of all the passengers. Zero attention to the passengers. Zero attention to anything except themselves.

I have not witnessed such a pathetic attempt at customer service and plan not to again with Iberia. But again the safety angle comes to mind here.


The last attempt at customer service was almost amusing. A stewardess at the exit to the plane I presume saying goodbye but it sounded like a repetitive chant that one might hear when a record gets stuck. A voice devoid of inflection or effort. Put simply I don’t think Iberia bothered yesterday and maybe that was why the plane was half full at best. My recommendation? Avoid Iberia until they start considering basic customer service as the norm

Anyone with any thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “Has Iberia breached any safety regulations? And why such awful service?

  1. I worked as a flight attendant years ago for easyJet and IIRC there had to be at least one person (if not two) sitting in the exit rows. Of course, that was a Civil Aviation Authority requirement for British registered aircraft so the Spanish equivalent may have different rules. I often fly in SE Asia and frequently see the exit rows empty – this is because the airlines treat them as premium seats and charge accordingly. Profit over safety it seems, and perhaps it’s the same at Iberia.

  2. Would you be willing to pay 100$ more for you plane ticket?
    The answer is probably no hence the horrid customer service experience we face everyday. Underpaid, overworked, with little prospects for the future. Do you really expect crew to smile at you? If you do, then start paying more for your flights, which will probably also be a plus for the environment.
    Win win 🙂

    • Not sure I agree with the logic here. We all pay enough for the staff to smile and be pleasant and in fact thats part of most jobs for most people. Underpaid and underpaid sounds like descriptives for my occupation , medicine.

      • Ask any flight attendant and they are underpaid. I don’t know if you’re also underpaid but most likely yes. Welcome to our society. Cheap travel comes with cheap kindness. Try first class?

  3. Still dont get why being underpaid should make folks always sullen and disinterested. Chicken before the egg maybe…lots of air crew are actually very nice. I always travel cheapest economy and would say that an average happiness quotient of 50, is sometimes bettered with BA, but here is was minus….

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