After looking at our (9/28/2019 flight SFO to Barcelona)) carry on “ allowances for Iberia Luggage 56cm by 45cm by 25cm, I had to buy new a new carry on. My question is how tight is the airlines about the under the seat “personal accessory” that on their website says: 30cm by 40cm by 15cm? I want to bring a daypack that is over those specifications. Any experience with the airline on carry on information would be very helpful. Thank you.
Iberia are pretty strict with their luggage restrictions, if the flight is fully booked you can expect your roll away and any large carry-on bags to be checked in. As was the case with me, when the Iberia flight attendant enthusiastically told me "a la bodega!", referring to my carry-on :).
I haven't flown Iberia trans-Atlantic. I did fly them last year between Spain and Portugal, two short flights. On both, they were very strict about scrutinizing everyone's carry-on bag. On the first flight, I let them check my carry-one and took the camera bag that I usually put under the seat up in the overhead bin. (So didn't exactly save much space if any.) I had to wait an extra half hour in Lisbon waiting for the checked bag. On the flight back to Madrid, I was connecting to a flight home to the US and had to practically beg to let me carry the bag on the plane; fortunately, a sympathetic gate agent took pity on me and let me carry it on. I was skeptical I would gotten my bag checked through to the US successfully, given that the hand-tags they were using weren't computer-tracked.
This helped leave a bad taste in my mouth about Iberia. I haven't been hassled like this by other European airlines. I'll be avoiding Iberia in the future - only as a last-resort.
We flew Iberia home from Barcelona to Boston last year and they were not fussy at all about our carry-ons.
On our flight, I didn't see anyone being forced to give up their luggage.
My impression is that airlines are much more lenient about a "personal item" than about the "carry on" bag. We've never had a "personal item" measured or in any way examined on any airlines. But then again, we've only flown Iberia once.
To say that you had no problems with oversize luggage means nothing. Just means on that particular day they were not checking careful and you got by. Does that means that everyone, everyday will get by with oversize luggage? Who knows? I have seen everything from very tight to very loose with very difference consequences. So I think you need to be prepared to comply with the airline's restriction. Everything after that is a dice roll.
A couple of years we were returning from Prague on Delta to New York. However, I don't think it was Delta running the gates and check-in. At check-in I noticed a family of five deliberately hiding a slightly but noticeable oversize carry on bag. One of the kids was hiding the bag behind a post and the agent asked if they had any other luggage and they said no because we had to show them our carry-on luggage. They were not weighing the luggage. just kind of eye balling it. (We were next in line behind them.)
In the gate waiting area we noticed they were keeping the bag somewhat out of sight. When boarding started they pushed to near the front of the line and one of the teenagers was carrying the bag. Dad and Mom handled all the board passes and then step aside to let the kids pass. Nearly everyone boarding had some type of a carry-on bag of various size so I am sure they thought they would just slide pass with the flow. Nope !!! A stern-eyed, stout gate attendant put her hand out and stopped the kid with the bag and shaking her head no, no, no. An argument ensured as the father claimed that the check-in agent had OKed the bag but the gate agent wasn't believing anything. By the time we passed then a supervisor in good and clear English was tell them they had to return to the check-in counter and properly check the bag. That is the last we saw of them. Looked for them in New York at immigration and am sure we would have seen them if they had been on the plane. We assume they missed the flight. A high penalty for a slightly oversized bag.
I fly Iberia every summer to Spain. We travel with a carry on (Rick Steve's convertible wheel-backpack) and a "personal item." Our personal item varies every year from a large-ish back pack to a small-ish underseat luggage. We've never been questioned or seen anyone have a hard time with it. The way I think about it is that my carryon has to fit in the overhead and the personal item should fit comfortably under the seat in front of me. Of course, you can can put your personal item in the overhead, too. But I like to use the personal item for things I need to access during the flight or in case of emergency - like an extra pair of socks, underwear, flip flops, small jacket, aspirin, you get the idea.
I like my personal item to have that little sleeve thing that lets it sit on top of the rolling backpack carry on. But you didn't ask that. So, the short answer is that in my experience, Iberia is pretty liberal with the personal item.