Review by Marlon Carter. Just Planes returns to Iberia and the A340-600 for yet another opportunity to experience the operation of this unique aircraft. In this program, we will be joining the flight crew as they journey to Mexico City from Madrid onboard the A340-600 with the return trip featuring the A340-300!
Before we board the aircraft, we take a tour of the Madrid airport and the services that are offered by Iberia. Some of the services that were showcased were the Check-in services, Apps for IPAD used by Iberia staff and the Quick Service point that allows customers to access information on just about any aspect of Iberia’s flights and policies.
A very useful feature of this quick service point is the ability to scan your boarding pass to access information on your flight. With these revolutionary services, Iberia is truly showing themselves to be an airline that is one step ahead of the competition.
Another interesting segment of this introduction was the tour of the Control Center of the airport that coordinates the daily activities of the staff and airline. In addition to having a tour of the Control Center, we are also taken to the ramp area to for a presentation on the ground operations.
After the Madrid airport presentation was completed, we meet up with our flight dispatcher as he takes us through the flight planning process. The flight plan for our flight today takes a very unconventional route directly across the Atlantic due to bad weather conditions. Apart from showing us the routing of our flight, the dispatcher also explains how much the entire flight will cost the company in fees and fuel expenses and it’s needless to say that this is a very costly flight!
As we draw closer to the time of our departure, the flight crew takes the time to review the flight plan prior to boarding the aircraft. When the dispatch review has been completed, the First Officer takes us on a very thorough walk-around inspection of the aircraft.
During the walk around it was the immense size of the A340-600 series that becomes quite apparent. The A340-600 is one of the longest commercial airliners around and it requires careful handling on the part of the pilots for taxi, takeoff and landing. During the preflight briefing that follows, the captain stresses this point since the 600 series requires careful attention for takeoff rotation. If the pilot pitches too high, it can easily cause a tail strike!
After departing from Madrid there were many highlights from the long journey to Mexico City. Some of these highlights included presentations on Oceanic Clearances and the CPDLC, Flight plan integrity checks, TCAS and an explanation of the EFP (Equal Fuel Point) that in the event of an emergency would determine whether the crew will divert to Miami or head back to Santa Maria.
One of the things I appreciated very much was the interactive nature of this program. The Captain was very engaging and he always had interesting information to share with the viewers. Some examples of this were the explanations of the difference between the A330/340 and the presentation on how an Airbus aircraft flies.
While on approach to Mexico City there were a few exciting moments where the crew had to avoid bad weather in the area but nonetheless the landing was uneventful.
As an added bonus to this program, Just Planes has also included clips of various airliners landing and departing Mexico City. While this segment was short, it provided a fitting “intermission” before viewing the return portion of our trip.
In preparation for our departure back to Madrid, we join the crew as they discuss their routing with the dispatcher. When this has been completed we join the crew as they carry out their departure briefing and cockpit preparation checklist. During the moments before pushback, the Captain takes about the advantages and disadvantages of the A340-600 vs the 300 series which I am sure you will find quite interesting. After all the checks have been completed and all clearances were received we depart Mexico City at night for our 11 hour flight back to Madrid.
During the return portion of this trip there were a few highlights worth mentioning. During the night time departure, there were many opportunities to admire the stunning view of Mexico at night. In addition to this our departure required many deviations from bad weather which was clearly seen from the cockpit as the skies lit up from lightening associated with thunderstorms in the area.
The final highlight focuses on our arrival and the many camera views used to capture our approach and landing into Madrid.
In the end, the journey was a wonderful experience and the engaging flight crew made the experience one that was very educational. The A340 truly shines in this program and if you are an Airbus fan, this is one program you won’t want to miss out on!
What I Like About Iberia A340
· Great scenery
· Creative editing and camera views
· Features very unique destinations and aircraft
· HD and widescreen format
· Blu-Ray and DVD Download