Why I Often Choose to Fly Iberia Instead of British Airways

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I wrote an article the other day about a new “hidden city ticketing” trick available on Iberia Airlines. But there’s another really good reason why Iberia can be the better choice when flying between London and Madrid, at least for those of you with BA Silver status or better…

As many readers will no doubt be aware, British Airways offers two types of Economy class fare: Basic and Plus.

If you enjoy elite status with British Airways, however, you are allowed to pre-select a seat on a Basic fare, but no level of status entitles you to a free checked bag. This is annoying because theoretically Oneworld Sapphire members should receive an allowance of one additional checked bag. Not so when flying on a British Airways “Basic” fare.

On Iberia, on the other hand, you will see a similar presentation of the fares available: Basic and Optimal.

However, buried well within the table of benefits available to Iberia Plus elite status members, you’ll find this…

So, despite having booked a BASIC fare, British Airways Silver or Gold members (as well as Oneworld Sapphire and Emeralds) can receive a free checked bag when flying on Iberia.

In my experience, your Iberia booking will never show your entitlement to a free checked bag. But when you arrive to the airport, you should have no problems checking in a bag…


It is worth reminding you that codeshares are “irrelevant” when looking at checked luggage allowances. The operating airline’s policy is what matters.

You must fly on Iberia metal – i.e. a plane operated by Iberia – to take advantage of this loophole.  If you book a British Airways flight using an Iberia flight code, you are still subject to BA’s luggage policy… i.e. no checked bag on Basic fares!

A Bit of Cashback on Top

Even when I don’t need to check a piece of luggage into the hold, it is still worth remembering that Iberia can be £3.53 cheaper, by visiting Topcashback before clicking through to Iberia UK…

The Bottom Line

Many people prefer to travel with hand baggage only on short European flights. Sensible…  But for those times when you know that you will need a checked bag, you can save yourself a few quid by booking with Iberia instead of British Airways…

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