5 routes, and while 3 of them are still departures from London airports, they don’t go to Madrid – and one of them departs from Luton!
Ok, firstly the most surprising route – although arguably probably the least useful unless you fancy trying something new!
Air Nostrum who are a well established Iberia franchise partner and operate the “Iberia Regional” brand are going to be flying from London Luton airport to Vigo, in southern Galicia (north-west Spain).
Departures on Thursdays and Sundays, from 15th July through to 27th September. If you wanted to go for a long weekend, the departure times are 1550 from LTN on Thursdays, returning at 1540 from VGO on Sundays.
The flights will be operated by their Bombardier CRJ-900 jet aircraft, which have a 2-2 seating configuration and look a bit like this (that’s a CRJ-1000, but its in the new livery):
If you are going to try to book this using Avios points you might hit a problem if using BA.com – as it refuses to believe that Luton Airport exists!
Even if you use wonderful free-type input form when logged into the Executive Club section, the “LTN” code returns nothing. However if you do a redemption search with “London (all airports)” selected, (i.e. “LON”) up pops the flight – available for 7,500 Avios plus £24 in economy, 15,000 Avios + £34 in business.
Even though Iberia flights are not capped at Reward Flight Saver prices, the charges at Luton are low!
Return flights from Vigo (so you don’t even have to endure a Luton departure if you have a phobia about it) are even more reasonable at just 7,500 Avios + £6.40 in Economy, 15,000 Avios + £31.40 in Business.
(Vueling are also currently flying from Heathrow to A Coruña in northern Galicia).
Next we have 2 Iberia Express flights to the Canary Islands direct from Heathrow.
From the 29th March, flights to Tenerife North will operate on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays. Alternating with flights to Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Iberia Express use Airbus A320 aircraft. Don’t know which terminal they will use, but if booked under the IB code, with status you should have lounge access regardless of whether it is T5 ot T3.
If booking using Avios, remember that Iberia flights are not subject to the Reward Flight Saver capping of fees and charges, so the cash element of the outbound is higher at 10,000 Avios + £76 for Economy and 20,000 + £56 for Business class. (Yes, the £ elements ARE the right way around here!?)
Given that Economy on Iberia is a buy-on-board service, Economy compares far less well with flying BA for 10k + £17.50, or even Monarch booked from an Avios.com account for 10k + £51.
On the return, the co-pay element is a bit more reasonable due to lower Spanish departure taxes, 10k + £40 for Economy, or 20k + £32 for Business. (Again, yes, the money elements are the right way around).
Last summer, BA used a spare cityflyer aircraft during the weekend closure of LCY on Saturday nights to operate direct flights from Edinburgh to Ibiza. No word on whether they are doing anything similar this year?
However, from 29th March Iberia Express will operate Edinburgh to Madrid, 4 days a week, rising to 6 a week for the peak summer. Avios costs: 7,500 + £58 for economy, 15,000 + £71 for business. Returns should be less with lower Spanish taxes.
… and Manchester:
Direct Iberia Express flights Manchester to Madrid start on the 8th September.
Potentially more useful than they might first appear:
For any booking made up to 28th April 2015 (regardless of travel date) BA Reward Flight Savers include UK domestic connections free of charge, so the Avios costs here for EDI-MAD and MAN-MAD are the same as for a connection in London and onwards to Madrid. The cash bit is obviously lower with RFS, so I’d book BA RFS fares up to the 28th.
However, for any bookings made after April 28th domestic connections will be charged for separately. Accordingly if you are based near Edinburgh or Manchester, these direct flights could potentially allow you to avoid extra Avios and charges to get to Madrid.
Additionally, if you are going to Madrid to access Iberia’s (cheaper) longhaul redemption flight options, not only might you save some Avios by not connecting in London, but by flying on 100% Iberia metal you would be able to have fully cancelable through-ticketed redemptions avoiding any need for overnights in Madrid as saftey buffers. (Subject to the impact that being through ticketed will have on the UK APD.)
With apologies for length. Hopefully that makes sense. Corrections welcome, E&OE.