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Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeIllinoisChicagoIberia Business ORD-MAD: Mask Jokes Literally Don't Fly

Iberia Business ORD-MAD: Mask Jokes Literally Don’t Fly

Iberia ORD MAD Business Class Flight Review is part of the Punxsutawney TPOL Trip Report.

“Where’s the champagne?” Thanks to Covid there was no pre-flight celebration (see Get Ready to Takeoff: The World’s Best Champagne). My first time flying a long-haul flight since my return from Shanghai in 2019 (see EVA Air Flight Review TPE-JFK: The Best Business Class) was off to an unremarkable start.

Amenities Kit

The amenities kit had a sanitizing wipe. Where’s the hot towel?

a group of bottles and a spray on a table


Soon after takeoff, the food service began. It wasn’t like the old days where meat and cheese are offered with a glass of fine wine. Instead, it felt like peasant class (see Points in the Front, Peasants in the Back). “Chicken, fish, or vegetarian?” I asked for the chicken and was told that it was the last one. I double-checked my seat to make sure I was indeed flying business.

two monitors on a plane


Good wine solves everything. My choices were Rioja tempranillo or Ribera del Duero blend. Since I was flying to Madrid to visit Ribera del Duero (see Guns & Butter: Ribera Del Duero, Madrid Travel Guide (Vino Edition)), home to tempranillo, I went with the second option.

a plate of bread and a glass of wine


Despite the rushed service, the food was better than I remembered (see Iberia MAD-SJU Business: Great to Fly Direct). I especially enjoyed the pretzel bread.a tray with food on it

Lost in Translation 

A quality flight is as much about the hard product as it is about the soft. I typically become well acquainted with the flight attendants and receive extra perks as a result (see Emirates Shower Class JFK-DXB: One More Time Be Our Guest: Etihad First Class 777 Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles). This flight was no different. The flight attendant promptly came to offer me more pretzel bread and more wine. There was never a shortage of either. At one point, the Spanish flight attendant came by and said in English, “What a shame it is that your wine is empty.” Attempting to be equally clever, I responded in Spanish, “Tengo que beber más porque no quiero llevar la mascarilla” (I don’t want to drink more but I do not want to wear a mask). His facial expression went from carefree to stone cold. He abruptly left, returned with another glass, set it down in silence, and then walked away.

Later on, my glass was empty and I signaled in his direction asking for more wine. In English, he sternly said, “We have concluded our beverage service.” Since dinner was over and in light of Covid, I thought that perhaps alcohol was only served during meals. This hypothesis was proven wrong when moments later another passenger ordered a Jack & Coke.

The “I shot the clerk!” famous movie line popped into my mind when I realized what was going on. I turned to Ms. TPOL and told her that he must have thought that I was being serious in my refusal to wear a mask. Not trying to get kicked off the flight, I thought it wise to stay put and stay quiet for the time being.

a person's leg and feet on an airplane

On the way back from the bathroom with my mask on, I encountered the flight attendant. I told him (in English) that there must have been a miscommunication. I explained that I was joking about the mask comment and that my sarcasm was lost in translation. That same carefree demeanor returned to his face. He explained to me that he had already told the captain that there may be a mask agitator on board but now that he spoke to me, he understood that I was not intoxicated and that I was not trying to cause trouble. We then discussed how I was going to Ribera Del Duero for wine tasting and where to go while I was there. The conversation concluded with him telling me to go back to my seat and await my refill.


After that international incident, I decided that that last glass of wine would be my final [in life]. The flight attendant had other ideas. He came by and apologized for what had transpired. I reiterated my apologies. He then presented me with a full bottle to be enjoyed at a later time while recounting this story.

a golf ball on a television screen
I’m all right, don’t nobody worry about me.


After the incident, everything was groovy. Seeing that I did not touch my coffee, the flight attendant asked if I didn’t like the coffee and if I would like an espresso instead.

a cup of coffee on a table

It was far better.


34,000 Avios points to lie-flat is a great deal. Need I say more? (see Iberia Business Booked for 25k Avios! Best Deal Ever?).

a chair with a shelf and a stack of blankets


Wi-Fi on planes has come a long way. I was, with some interruption, able to stream the Bucs vs. Patriots game before going to sleep.

a screen with a red and white text


With an offer left before arriving, I woke up for breakfast. Again, it’s better than I remember.

a plate of food and cups on a table


TPOL may fancy himself a polyglot (see TPOL The Polyglot: A Better Way to Learn Multiple Languages), but my days of telling jokes in foreign languages are over.

a plane parked at an airport
Made it Madrid


  1. You totally blew this international incident! You should have gotten arrested! Just think of all the publicity from being wrongfully arrested on an international flight. Gary Leff would have to go on Fox News to clear your name and say the mask mandate is wrong. Richard Quest would have to respond with how you are such a great world traveler! Heck Trump might even get involved to free a “good guy.” You could have had your own “Locked up abroad” episode and then once you were free appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.” Total missed opportunity.

    All kidding aside glad you made it without incident and a good review!

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