LATAM are a oneworld alliance airline based in South America, the result of Chile’s LAN Airlines taking over Brazil’s TAM Airlines. I think the new branding is very nicely done with its allusion to Latin America. Flights operate between Santiago and Sydney via Auckland and it is possible to book seats on the service between Auckland and Sydney.
LATAM use the disappointing Qantas International Business lounge in Auckland which has seen better days. Boarding is announced in the lounge before it is announced at the gate, meaning you arrive just in time for priority boarding to commence.
LA801 – Auckland to Sydney (AKL-SYD)
14 April 2017
Boeing 787-9 – CC-BGE
Seat: Premium Business 1A
Departure: 07:30 Arrival: 09:15
Friendly crew decked out in purple uniforms directed me to my seat. The Premium Business cabin seats are in grey, red and white which gives a classy, business like feel. The seats are lie flat and arranged in pairs.
While this is not the uber modern 1-2-1 configuration as featured on some airlines, it is perfectly current and serviceable.
On demand entertainment is offered on board though the screens seem a little smaller than they should be. Headphones are provided in the four space area directly under and between the PTVs. You plug these in under the arm rest.
Oddly there are coat hooks beside the televisions along with two spaces for other items. The problem here is that these are so far forward that you need to get out of your seat to reach them.
Magazine and safety card storage is between the seats in another hard to reach spot and the centre console has the seat controls. Seats include a quite effective massage function evoking memories of the Qantas Skybed for me.
Overhead there is a light and air vent and I noted that there was quite a bit of black mould around the area. I hope it is the healthy kind of black mould and not the other kind. All other areas of the aircraft were spotlessly clean.
Welcome Drinks And Off We Go
Cabin Crew offer a welcome drink during boarding. The choices are orange juice or water and I chose the juice. This comes in a hefty glass and appears to be fresh juice with bits.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner windows are lovely and large featuring electronic dimming. More on this later! Once everyone was on board it was time for the quirky LATAM safety video. Here’s the version for the 767 which is virtually identical to what I saw.
It’s currently very on trend for airlines to make safety videos interesting and I chuckled along at this one. We soon headed off to the runway and climbed out into the fresh Auckland morning.
Inside the aircraft it is very quiet thanks to Boeing’s design. It is one of the quietest aircraft I have ever experienced and on descent it’s almost silent inside.
Hot Towels, Pillows, Blankets And The Menu
Once we were in the air, the crew delivered scented hot towels. My favourite crew member on this flight, Veronica, then took a pillow from the overhead, opened up a blanket and gave me both. All of this was proactive and really nice!
You will note the light has changed. The crew are able to change the windows themselves and once in the air the windows all turned blue which meant they were effectively closed for the flight. You can still see outside, but the blue hue makes taking pictures extremely difficult!
Menu’s are handed out to each passenger and this comes in three languages – Spanish, Portuguese and English. There appeared to be absolutely no LATAM branding anywhere on the menu which made me curious. Eventually I found a transparent brand logo on the bottom of the front cover… strange!
Breakfast Delights On LATAM
A choice of breakfast is offered which is a Plain Omelet with Sautéed Mushrooms and Roasted Tomato or a Selection of Cured Meats and Gourmet Cheeses. Essentially it’s a hot or cold breakfast which is common on airlines. I went for the hot option.
I’m totally not a fan of airline omelet’s but I wanted the hot breakfast. The omelet is fine while the tomato and potato cake were quite delicious. It is difficult to ruin fruit and there is nothing wrong with what I was served.
Pound cake is an unusual option for me at breakfast but I found it to be nice and fairly filling. Bread is offered from the basket and I settled on a croissant. Happily this is warm from the oven which makes breaking it up and eating it a very pleasant experience. To drink there is tea or coffee – I chose tea – then I was asked if there was anything else I wanted.
Yes Please, Champagne!
Naturally I wanted to try the Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne so I ordered some. The satisfying pop of the Champagne bottle came from the nearby galley and along came my drink.
Happily, this is a gurglingly good drop and I had more than one glass. Really impressed! Cute LAN Airlines salt and pepper shakers are on each tray and then there is the Mickelsen Gourmet pot. This is filled with jam or marmalade and is a real explosion of taste.
Once I finished my first croissant, I asked for another to finish the rest of the pot. My delightful crew member, Veronica, brought me another type to try as well. It was just as good! I had a third croissant so I could finish them both off completely. Just great!
A Dreamliner Loo
For a change, I only took one photograph when I went to visit the bathroom during the flight. It is a standard Dreamliner facility and has all you might expect.
There is nothing outrageous or unexpected to report on here. Everything worked, and that’s all that’s needed! After this I went back to my movie, which was Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.
LATAM pleasantly surprised me with the little touches that elevated the flight from a good business class experience to a very good one. First, Veronica provided proactive service with a smile and nothing was too much trouble. Next, the surprising taste and quality of the Champagne really enhanced my flight, along with the zesty taste of the Mickelsen Gourmet products.
Inflight entertainment has a limited number of movies on offer but the main selections (Rogue One, Allied and so on) are comparable to that being offered on other airlines right now. The breakfast option is filling and more than enough for a 3 hour flight. The seat with its massage function is comfortable and the pillow and blanket are certainly up to par and overall I look forward to flying LATAM again!
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Oliver Holzbauer via Wikimedia Commons.