Aircraft Type: B787-8
Class: ‘Premium’ Business Class
Flight time: 13:21
Date: April 2015
Best for: Couples due to the seat config or smarter travellers wanting a better experience compared to the Iberia codeshare flying the same route.
The crowd: A full cabin, mainly Chilean, and either wealthy travellers or business travellers.
Business or pleasure: This route, considering it connects on to Frankfurt, is mainly for business travellers, although there is no wifi. International power ports will keep your devices charged, but being night flights each way, this is the perfect flight to relax and enjoy the IFE.
Routes: LATAM have 1600 flights a day, 800 of those from Santiago, it is well connected, however mainly in South America and the US. The flights to Australia and Europe help connect most of the world through its OneWorld code shares.
Frequent Flyer Programme: LANPass, fully compatible with TAM as well as offering the perks and treats of being a OneWorld member.
Best bits: Service, food and wine, although the fully flat seats, Dreamliner cabin and IFE make it a very enjoyable product.
Worst bits: We wish we were an inch shorter, and flying with someone we knew. The 2 x 2 x 2 seat config isn’t the best.
LAN 787-8 Premium Business Class Report
When we were asked to take a look at the new lounge in Santiago Chile, it gave us the opportunity to experience LAN’s older 787 product, just as they roll out their new 787-9 version. We had been excited to experience the product for some time, and had heard great things. Being the Dreamliner too, we were even more excited to try out yet another carrier’s 787 offering. Being over 13 hours in flight time, we were given plenty of time to experience a midnight dinner and early morning breakfast, as well as test Boeing’s ‘reduced Jetlag’ promise.
On the Ground
As we landed on a British Airways flight from London Heathrow, we were already in Madrid airport’s impressive T4 a few hours ahead of our trip to Santiago, however we were pleased to see even 4 hours before the flight, the check in counters were staffed and open. Naturally, so early before the flight, there was no queue, and we quickly walked up to the Premium Business Check In zone. LAN offer two flights that time of day, one to Lima, the other to Santiago, which explains the full aisle of check in counters available for the flights. Just a few hours earlier, passengers would have been checking in for the Madrid to Frankfurt flight, which is a great way to experience the product on a short hop in Europe.
We were greeted by a friendly, smiling check in agent, who made quick work of our baggage and even mentioned a previously-made request for an aisle seat in the main section. We already knew the configuration of the business class cabin, and opted for aisle access and knowing a passenger wouldn’t have been stepping over us. Whilst originally in row 1, the check-in lady kindly suggested we opt for row 4, where the noise from the galley and toilets was less likely to wake us on the flight.
We then made our way through to the satellite terminal at T4, which is a substantial 20 minute trek from check-in, where LAN offer the use of the Iberia Lounge. Unfortunately LAN don’t have access to the fast track security channel, but the queues were quick anyway.
The lounge, situated behind immigration, is situated (randomly) in the Duty Free area of the terminal. Large frosted doors open up to a long thin and expansive space for passengers to rest and relax before their journey.
The lounge is symmetrical whether turning left or right, however to the left, at the end, is a wine bar, featuring a good selection of excellent wines, and to the right, is the lounge’s restaurant, although that was closed when we visited.
The lounge was filled with buffet counters, offering hot and cold food, along with several drink stations, and snack bars. The lounge also features showers, a business centre and fairly fast wifi. (Here’s a tip, Iberia use the airport-wide wifi service, and the access code works in all the terminal, so no matter if travelling business or not, you can gain future access to the Wi-Fi)
The best bit is the fairly unobstructed view of the apron, and from this lounge you can see two of the runways, which were both in use whilst we waited. The lounge in nothing compared to LAN’s new lounge in Santiago, but was good enough to spend an hour or so in.
Boarding commenced a rather impressive 50 minutes before departure, however with a 5-10 minute walk to the gate, by the time we arrived, boarding was fully underway. There was a separate lane for business class passengers, although boarding commenced through the same door.
On stepping into the cabin, its clear how Boeing have really managed to change the passenger experience. LAN one of only a few of the only 787 operators to really use the trademark Dreamliner doorway arches that lift the ceiling height and give a real sense of space. The other real noticeable product on entering was the mood lighting, which, like one of Madrid’s trendiest bars, was flood lit in pink lighting.
The business class cabin is split in two by the doorway, with three rows of seats in front of the door and two behind the door. Unlike other cabins we are used to, there is no galley splitting the cabin, so the effect is one of spaciousness. With a configuration in a 2 x 2 x 2, 20 passengers will have access to the aisle (with the 10 middle seats not having the worry of someone stepping over) 10 passengers however, will have to step over a passenger to get to the aisle.
These passengers, however, will have access to the fun (yet gimmicky) tinted super-sized windows as well as a little more privacy in the cabin. As the flight progressed, there were many different lighting effects which dramatically changed the blank canvas of the cabin – so much so, we couldn’t actually tell the actual colour of the cabin walls.
The seat itself is forward facing, and reclines into a fully flat bed, fitted with massage functions and memory recall for your favourite seat positions. Created as seat pairs, each pair is separated by a centre divider which holds a variety of storage holes, a tray table, cocktail table, IFE controller and in-seat charging points (both Empower and USB)
For those solo travellers there is also a partition which when pushed down, springs back up and offers a large amount of privacy. The seats, in striped red fabric are very comfortable to sit in, and also firm enough to sleep on without causing discomfort. In fact we slept for quite a few hours undisrupted.
Situated in front of you is a seat wall, and ottoman (not for sitting on) which features your own touchscreen TV, coat hook and even more storage units. What we really like with these seats is the fact your feet don’t end up in a foot-coffin, and remain open, allowing you to roll over and reposition during sleep without knocking your feet or feeling claustrophobic. In fact the touchscreen is so far in front of you, using the hand held controller is a lot easier than touching the screen.
The seats are wide and well proportioned, but our only criticism is that they aren’t long enough. At 5’10” we aren’t the tallest of people, and our feet and head touched either wall when fully laid out. We now wish we were either one inch shorter, or the beds were just one inch longer. Then, this bed would be virtually faultless. (We plan on heading out on the 787-9 by LAN to see if the carrier has increased the seat pitch)
LAN’s IFE system is called ‘in’ and is fairly encompassing. Featuring a wide selection of movies, it is more than capable of entertaining even the most regular of fliers, especially considering the overnight nature of the flights – both ways. There are also box sets of TV show including Game of Thrones and Vikings and we enjoyed the breadth of TV programming including travel shows. The screens, measuring over 15″ were of great resolution and we liked the fact there was lenticular screening, meaning passengers travelling next to you had a dimmed view of your screen, giving you a little more privacy.
The headphones on offer were good quality and had active noise cancelling, although the cabin was already fairly quiet due to the advanced nature of the Dreamliner.
Also supporting the digital IFE was a very good magazine with fairly decent features. This was supported by an entertainment magazine and even a wine magazine, supporting the wine selection available on board.
On taking our seat, we were immediately offered a drink and assorted warm nuts. Hearing good things about the Pisco Sour, we opted for this, which was just as good as ones we had had on the ground. As boarding took a little while, we were even lucky enough to get a second drink before we taxied away.
We were also handed a menu, stored away in the seat, for us to select what we wanted before we took off. Being a midnight flight, this was a nice touch as the crew wanted to get everyone fed quickly before we settled in for the long night flight ahead. The menu also allowed for an express version, which was another nice touch, to help those more tired individuals get a good nights sleep.
- Green Salad with seasonal vegetables
- Special selection of cheeses
- Tomato Soup with Basil and Parmesan
- Octopus in Vinaigrette with Vegetable Couscous
- Veal Loin in Port Wine Sauce served with Creamy Rice, Leeks and Grilled Asparagus
- Mozzarella and Tomato Panzotti in a Creamy Pesto Sauce with Tomato Ragout
- Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon, Mozzarella, Asparagus and Toasted Almonds
- Mövenpick Ice Cream
- Raspberry Tart with Red Fruit Sauce
- Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Either a cold breakfast or hot breakfast including cheese omelet with Grilled Asparagus was on offer, and chosen from a tick-box menu handed out before sleep.
- Brut Premier Champagne, Louis Roederer
- Domus Aurea, Vina Quebrada de Macul, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
- Zuccardi Q, Bodega Zuccardi, Malbec, 2012
- Vendimia Seleccionada, Pago de Ina, Temparanillo 2009
- Crios, Bodega Diminio del Plata, Torrontes, 2014
- Quintay Q, Quintay, Sauvignon Blanc 2014
- Croft, Villa Nova de Gaia, Port, 2009
The food was exceptional on board, and just after take off, another Pisco Sour offered and our table laid with a white table cloth. Approximately 20 minutes later, the first tray was served, which consisted of the Salad, Cheese, and starter. Our option of the Octopus was both light, zesty and packed full of flavour. The presentation as well for business class is excellent.
Shortly after devouring our starter, bread was delivered along with our main course. There was a large bread selection and the main course, whilst not as attractive as the starter was rich and filling. We opted for the Veal, the first time we’ve had that in the sky.
The creamy rice was an acquired taste, but still hot and worked perfectly with the rest of the dish. We decided to opt for the Tart to finish, just to settle the taste buds slightly.
We were offered more food after this, however we declined, instead opting for some sleep, and no sooner had we reclined the bed, the cabin lights dimmed allowing the majority of the cabin to get some shut eye, whilst other slower eaters soldiered on with the lights above their seats. Sadly no pyjamas are offered in business class, but this isn’t standard practice. Luckily we brought our own, and headed to the somewhat uninspired toilets to change.
We were woken up 2.5 hours before landing, and looking at the map, could tell we were well over Brazil at this point. Slightly disorientating as we didn’t realise how long we had managed to sleep for. Digging into the IFE, we were presented with fresh orange juice and a black coffee. Perfect recipe for waking us up. Shortly after, breakfast was served.
Forgetting what we had ordered the night before, we were pleasantly surprised by the food offered. The croissants were perfectly warmed, fruit salad tasty and fresh, and whilst the omelet was slightly buttery (you can see the butter in the dish) It was tasty enough, and our second serving of asparagus was just as crunchy as the first.
A couple more cups of coffee and croissants later, it was time to put our seat back into the upright position and get ready to land. The whole way through the flight, the cabin crew were attentive, professional and genuine, and even on leaving the plane, hands were shaken and warm smiles greeted each passenger as they left the plane.
LAN offers a great deal of extras that really make a difference, from hot towels to welcome cocktails such as Pisco Sours. However its the smaller details that stood out, such as taking a breakfast order with us before we went to sleep so we didn’t have to fill in the form, kneeling next to us when speaking so we didn’t have to strain to maintain eye contact, taking our jacket before we had even had a chance to look for somewhere to hang it and of course, the staff offering a thick duvet and comfortable pillow within seconds of starting to recline our seat. However the unisex amenity kit, by Salvatore Ferragamo was deceptively packed full of goodies including vanity mirrors, shoe horns, combs and even tissues above and beyond the usual products found in a kit. LAN may not be so well known in Europe, due to its limited routes, however it certainly packs a punch.
Although we had heard good things, we were surprised by the carrier, which has a hard product that is slightly less impressive than other global carriers, yet delivered beyond our expectations. The Aura seat by Acumen which LAN has adapted for its 787s is incredibly comfortable (if only 1″ too short), and privacy aside, a perfect seat for the 787, with the lower seat design giving wonderful expansive views out of the 787s oversized windows Perfect for looking out onto the Andes as we made our approach into Santiago, Chile.
But it is LAN’s service, and food and drink that really made this carrier stand out. Although the crew struggled to make conversation in English, (this shouldn’t be a pre-requisite and we understand that, this is a route that flies from Spanish speaking country to Spanish speaking country) the efforts were extraordinary to make us feel comfortable and the service felt 100% genuine. The wines on offer were really quite exceptional too, creating the perfect accompaniment to the food on offer.
When we landed, we felt happy and fresh, not suffering the usual grogginess we were used to feeling after such a long flight. Our skin wasn’t dry and our eyes bloodshot. There was a real noticeable difference in how we felt stepping off a Boeing Dreamliner compared to a usual flight, and that is well worth taking into consideration when booking a flight. The 787 and LAN seem to be a match made in heaven, and we can’t wait to experience the 787-9 to see how the new LATAM unified cabin make a real difference,
The Big Picture