Flight: LA800, Sydney-Auckland
Loyalty Scheme: LANPASS Frequent Flyer Programme (OneWorld alliance)
Duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Things have taken off for LATAM since the merger of LAN and TAM in 2012. Five years on and the South American giant has made some strong inroads into the Australian market; most recently expanding into Melbourne with daily direct flights to Santiago. Sydney however has a stopover in Auckland, which is good and bad depending on what way you view it. For me this is a big plus as the airline offers a strong competitive option opposed to Virgin, Air NZ and Qantas.
I was keen to give their business class seat a whirl on the short hop to the Kiwi business hub. Initial impressions upon boarding were good with the funky, warm ambiance of the cabin with its purples and blues as well as the variations of blue tint on the windows creating an inviting environment.
Business class, 3A. There are 30 flat business bed seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. All possess an 75-inch pitch and 23-inch width. The grey and red colour coded seat possesses a universal power point, a USB port, a reading light and a pull-up privacy screen.
Despite the privacy screen, I felt quite exposed to the neighbouring seat and the 2-2-2 configuration means the hop over your fellow passenger can be difficult especially if they decide to lay flat and sleep. Fortunately for me I had an empty seat next to me during my flight.
LATAM’s Inflight Entertainment possesses was a bit disappointing with a limited selection of 110 movies, TV, and audio options, all on a 15.4-inch screen. The screen was also difficult to view whilst sitting upright in the chair. On a short haul flight the selection was fine but I would expect more variety on a long haul flight.
The Bread and Butter (Food)
The food and drink service is satisfactory but a tad underwhelming despite the warm and hospitable nature of the LATAM crew. On this leg lunch is served and the options on the menu are limited. The three course lunch was served in one hit rather than by dish.
The meal choice was between a quiche lorraine or a BLT sandwich. I went with the quiche. It was smooth and didn’t taste too buttery or soggy. The accompanying salad was light but could have used some oil/ dressing for flavour whilst the panna cotta dessert was delectable.
The wine selection had the wow factor with local South American, French and even a couple of Australian wines featuring on the menu. I went with a local red Chilean variety to match my meal and its peppery, bold flavour hit the spot.
No real stand outs here. Sadly lacked a lounge/ bar space which is a major drawback on the B787 and A350s. It would be great to see airlines take an initiative to create a personal space for business travellers to enjoy in the air on these types of aircraft that is currently offered on the A380 and B777.
The 2-2 seating configuration in the current business class world is a tad dated and annoying especially if you have to make the hop over a sleeping fellow passenger. That said the personal space of the seat does feel quite private even if you screen is on show for your neighbour to see. The style and colour scheme of the business class area is fresh, warm and inviting.
Meals wise the wine selection was delectable but the meal choice and presentation was a tad disappointing considering it was business class. Entertainment selection was also mixed with the choice of movies and audio limiting.
I would be keen to see what the business class experience would be like long haul from Sydney to Santiago to see if the experience was any different/ more premium. Based on this experience however it was satisfactory but there were areas for improvement to make the experience for the passenger feel more ‘business’ rather than premium economy.
Have you enjoyed the South American business class hospitality of LATAM of late or found yourself not happy with your inflight LATAM siesta? Love to hear your feedback on this.