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Review: LATAM 787-9 Business Class, Santiago to Buenos Aires

Review: LATAM 787-9 Business Class, Santiago to Buenos Aires
TRIP Report: Honeymoon - South America



This flight report covers the second leg: Santiago to Buenos Aires.

Flight: LA 445
Route: Santiago (SCL) – Buenos Aires (EZE)
Date: Tuesday, February 19
Depart: 3:10 PM
Arrive: 5:05 PM
Duration: 12 hr 20 min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 3 J & L (Business Class)
Cost: AU$4,899 + AU$205 taxes + AU$112 credit card charges ( and no additional cost to Santiago to Buenos Aires fare).

Introduction

This was our first stop in South America as part of our Honeymoon trip. We were transiting Santiago on our way to Buenos Aires to start our South American adventure.

We spent our time in the LATAM Lounge in Santiago in a kind of travel – time shift haze – given that we had just done a 14-hour time shift, backwards!

To us it was midnight, but in Santiago, it was just before midday, the day before, when we arrived.

LATAM VIP Lounge

That might explain our difficulty in finding the lounge. There was signage, but it had an ambiguity to it (who knew it was trying to direct you through a shop instead of around it?). I think we wasted around 20 minutes trying to find the lounge. The signage didn’t help – but I suspect it was our befuddlement, and my determination to get there quickly to nab a shower that sent us astray.

The LATAM VIP Lounge is located on the 4th floor after security between gates 16 and 17. The easiest access is by lift.

The LATAM lounge, Santiago, Chile (from our return trip)

I managed not to take a single photo in the double floored lounge, but I can tell you it was busy and fullish.

Showers were available instantly, for use as a time-honoured way to try to time-shift our bodies, and refresh our minds. The showers were good and did the best they could to refresh us.

The food offering was sparse, but the lounge had good WiFi and access to power, so our stay was spent productively catching up on emails.

We spent a little over three hours in the lounge.

I’m not a great fan of the airport though. It seemed a bit all over the place – perhaps contributed to by the current construction to expand facilities. However, its probably not fair to base my judgement on one visit in a severely jet-lagged state.

On the airbridge, about to board our flight to Buenos Aires

The Cabin

Boarding was called at 14:40, so we proceeded to the gate. Our seats were in the single Business cabin.

Boarding happened efficiently, with the cabin feeling roomy. It ended up being about three-quarters full.

The 787-9 is so wide and spacious in its business class layout, that for this less than 2-hour flight, you foregive the lack of direct aisle access from every seat.

I loved the colour scheme of this cabin, with its grey fabric with bright red trim. A blanket and pillow were already at each seat when we boarded.

All but one of the flight attendants we encountered were female and devastatingly attractively tall, attired in tight uniforms and most sporting luxuriant long ponytails. There was a determination in their manner that was quite engaging. The blue-suited male attendant was also equally easy on the eye.

The entire plane felt clean and bright, with the 787 windows being reassuringly modern with their dimmable glass.

Our Aircraft as specified on the safety card.

The Seat

There are 30 seats in business in a 2-2-2 configuration in a single cabin. We were in row three, on the right side of the plane.

Seat controls were simple for our Business Class lie-flat seats.

Simple seat controls

All seats had overhead lights and air vents.

I was still in my time transfer haze, definitely feeling it was about the middle of the night – as you will see from the remainder of this trip report.

A view from our window

Power was located to the left of my seat – under the middle armrest, as this (sorry) fuzzy image shows.

Also under the middle armrest was the entertainment controller.

This video screen (note coat hanger to the right) was very welcome compared to the fuzzy, tiny screen on our preceding Qantas 747 flight.

The Flight

The Captain announced that the flight was on time, and the expected flying time was 1 hour and 30 minutes, and that we were on a Dreamliner.

It was 3 pm in Santiago, but back in Sydney, it is 5 in the morning – tomorrow. I’m a little sleep-deprived and can’t wait to be in Buenos Aires at my hotel, unpacked and heading to sleep. Instead, we have a flight, a landing, greeting a ground agent and then a pre-arranged car to the hotel. I suppose there are worse things to endure, but at that point in this trip – my entire body was screaming for arrival and sleep.

The Safety video was played at 3:14 pm.

Latam safety video

It’s fun without being out there. Most notable was me hearing the video say that ‘mobiles are available to use throughout the flight’ Actually what they say, is you can only use mobiles throughout the flight ‘in flight mode‘ but by this point in our journey, I obviously cannot translate English.

We reached the runway at 15:29 and started our takeoff at 3:30 pm.

God, the cabin is quiet after that Qantas Jumbo.

The Service

Once we were seated, the head flight attendant introduced herself – checking what our language preference was. (I have a German surname – if I had a penny for every time a flight attendant spoke to me in German…)

We were offered water or Spumante by the engaging Luz – I chose water – time to have a break from alcohol, and the thought of Spumante, was, well, you know.

Luz advised us that she spoke Spanish and Portuguese but not English, which she then went on to speak perfectly while beaming approval every time we attempted Spanish.

This was a short flight, so no menus and all meals delivered on a tray.

This meal really fitted into the ‘light lunch/snack category, with some smoked chicken, salad with olives and semi-dried tomatoes – and a sauce of slightly indeterminate nature – mayonnaise? A sort of Saverin with some chocolate sauce completed the meal. Perfectly adequate, but nothing to warrant the suggestion of a Michelin star.

Having not had an adult beverage pre-takeoff – I decided to remedy that situation with a glass of red wine – because – honeymoon.

Clear skies, and cotton wool clouds, as I dozed for the rest of the flight. Can’t report anything else, until we hit the ground. In fact, I think I actually woke up as the wheels hit the tarmac.

Clouds – pretty
Our plane with its outdated livery in Buenos Aires

This was a short flight expertly handled, and a delight compared to the jalopy of a Qantas 747, which we had flown on for the major leg from Australia.

In my bleary state, we departed the plane, and I took a couple of plane-porn pictures at Ezeiza International Airport as we left:

Avianca A321
Lufthansa Jumbo

We headed off into the airport to greet our on-ground guide, and our driver, and head to our hotel, Oh, and start our South American adventure with a first look at Buenos Aires. Next stop the Palo Santo Hotel.

2PAXfly Takeout

You don’t realise how old fashioned those Jumbo’s are until you get onto a new generation plane like the B787. It makes even a short flight joyful, compared to what I used to regard as the ‘private’ cabin upstairs on a Jumbo. That upstairs cabin now feels cramped and claustrophobic compared to the openness and space of a 787.

Also, taking notes for trip reports, and remembering to take photos is really hard to do after you have already been travelling for 14 hours, are jetlagged, have just organised a wedding at which you are married, and are coming down with a cold. Just saying.

Other Posts in the Series
<< Review: Qantas Business Class 747-400 Sydney to SantiagoReview: Hotel Palo Santo, Buenos Aires, Argentina >>

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