CLICK ME – IBERIA – BA FAMILIARISATION TRIP TO MADRID
We meet at 06:00 at the check in area Zone A in London Heathrow Terminal 5. This gave us enough time to pass through security and enjoy a nice Starbucks coffee before the flight BA458 London Heathrow (LHR) to Madrid (MAD): Airbus 321:
The flight run on time and all the logistic by the airline run efficiently. We travelled on-board the Airbus 321-200, part of the 320 family. With a range of 5600 km and a maximum speed of 828 k/p. The A320 family is of the world best sellers air-planes, in direct competition with the Boeing 737 series. The aircraft had power sockets in the every seat. British Airways has 22 of the aircraft with a variety of seat configuration, ranging from 154 up to 177.This type of aircraft is used for domestic and short European routes but also covers middle long routes such as Tel Aviv and Moscow.
Madrid Terminal 4 Airport Tour:
Great tour, I certainly enjoyed learning about the huge procedures at Madrid Airport, the behind scenes visit at SATE was a great highlight.
Introduction to Madrid Barajas Airport is the largest in Spain, custom-built to be compete with major hub airports within Europe. It counts with four parallel runways. The main building includes a sequence of parallel spaces which allow plenty of daylight to penetrate inside the building. The design aim to facilitate the different phases of the passenger’s journey at the airport, from check-in, security control, lounges and aircraft gates. It has an area 3,050 ha (twice the size of Heathrow!).
Interesting facts: The airport ceiling design by Richard Rogers, consists of 200,000 m2 of bent composite bamboo sheets, and is then the one of the largest industrial bamboo project in the world! Pretty impressive.
Terminal T4 consist of two buildings, T4 and its satellite, the T4S, connected through an automatic underground train. Terminals T1, T2 and T3 have six boarding areas: A, B, C, D, E and F, connected to the terminals.
The Remote-controlled train links terminal T4 with terminal T4S Satellite. It can be used for passengers with boarding pass. The journey takes 3 minutes and it is a 24/7 service. Both stops are in level -2.Transfers to other terminals (T1 T2 T3), is operated the free shuttle bus, a transport service operating 24 hours a day.
SATE: (Automated Baggage Processing System).
One of the main highlighted, I enjoyed a lot the education visit to SATE. I learned that over 12,000 pieces of luggage per hour are conveyed daily through high-speed trays beneath Terminal T4 at the Madrid airport. This is basically like a baggage highway!, where every bag drives directly to its destinations accurately through the conveyors avenues, an impressive engineering system designed by Siemens, with an investment of 300 million euros.
The enormous underground structure embraces 115 kilometers in length, moving baggage through the 2.5 km between Terminal T4 and T4S. The most significant characteristic of SATE, is its extreme automation as a connection hub. As such the main function of the SATE are efficiency of baggage connections. The structure covers 176 check-in counters; two special baggage lines; six transfer lines; 12 training courses where luggage is collected to take them to the air planes; four stations for manual reading and three levels of luggage inspection.
When the checked baggage comes in the system, then its ten-digit bar code is read and incorporated into its specific journey, identifying travellers and its final destination. All this controlled by various safety regulations and efficiently to be loaded into the aircraft hold.
T4 Satellite Premium Lounge Velazquez. The spacious lounge is really a highlighted, the shower, family areas, baby centre and buffet menu very impressive. Really lovely views to the airplanes, and plenty of space to work and catch up with some relaxing time. I especially enjoyed Ben presentation about BA & IB and was surprised by his knowledge at such young age he is passionate about aviation and I enjoyed listening to his presentation.
The lounge is located at the Terminal 4 Satellite building. The 26,900 square foot lounge has a capacity of 500 passengers. The lounge, although belonging to Iberia, can be use by all One-world alliance passengers travelling in Business or First or holder of the Sapphire and Emerald levels of the loyalty program. Being in terminal 4S, means the access to this lounge is limited to flights outside the Schengen area, as is located after exit immigration.
Amenities include a sit down restaurants plus buffet lounge with various hot and cold dishes. It also provides spaces for relax, private spaces for families, showers, game consoles,TV rooms and a spacious bar offering a variety of wines and local drinks.
That is all, now back to London…
“Maybe I live in the gates that lead to outbound world flights. Maybe that is my home”