LATAM’s new South American narrow body ‘Premium Economy’ is everyone else’s Business Class, and we love them for it…

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If you’ve ever travelled within Europe (excluding on Turkish Airlines) you’ve probably flown what is dubbed Euro Business. It’s a fairly simple concept of the first few rows of an otherwise fairly normal narrow-body jet becoming the carrier’s Business Class, which comes with all the bells and whistles of a Business Class ticket, including priority boarding, lounge access and a proper meal service to name just a few.

The problem is, the seat isn’t anything to shout about. Legroom is still tight, the seat is the same of someone who has sat just a few rows behind and probably paid a fraction of the cost. It helps airlines who can quickly reconfigure the cabin to mirror the load of Business Class passengers, making for a cost effective business model on these sub-5 hour treks. But it’s irksome to most who have experienced North America’s ‘First Class’ product (which is also so badly named) and the likes of Turkish Airlines in Europe that offer a proper Business Class seat in most of their narrow bodies.

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So imagine our surprise (and delight) to see that LATAM has broken the naming architecture and dubbed its regional premium cabin “Premium Economy” which is exactly what it is. It’s an enhanced economy product that features a blocked middle seat and a full premium dining offering (and on some of their retrofitted aircraft, a larger seat pitch for the several rows at the front).

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While bizarrely the airline hasn’t opted to offer Premium Economy on it’s long haul flights to date, LATAM announced that it will introduce this superior cabin class, Premium Economy, to all national and international flights within Latin America operated by Airbus A320 family (A319, A320, A320neo and A321; “short-/medium-haul”) aircraft, starting March 16, 2020.

Unlike most Premium Economy products however, the airline will offer this cabin class priority check-in, baggage allowance up from one to three pieces (up to 23 kg each), priority boarding, priority baggage at luggage claim and VIP lounge access in airports where available (Santiago, São Paulo/GRU, Lima, Bogotá, Miami and Buenos Aires) on selected international flights

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While on board, the seats in the first three rows of the aircraft will offer a middle seat blocked for greater space and privacy, exclusive overhead bin for hand luggage and complimentary snacks and drinks.

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The fact the airline has a ‘traditional’ Business Class on their short and medium haul flights doesn’t really grab our attention. But the fact that the airline has offered this naming architecture to an existing product is certainly newsworthy, and we think probably the best way to describe this cabin class. What do you think?

3 comments

  1. Esteban

    It’s actualliy quite a smart move. Especially because it involves little investment and it can make a big difference for a pax who flies Economy.

  2. Mike

    This is not really anything new, they were already offering this when they were LAN on some routes within South America. I remembered flying between Lima and Santiago, this product was offered. It is a new offering within domestic routes. However I guess they are expecting demand not to be that big since it looks like they are just limiting this to the first 3 rows. Also hopefully fares are priced accordingly to reflect it is Premium Economy instead of Business.

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