TRAVEL | LATAM is the largest airline in Latin America, and was formed in 2011 when Chile’s LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM Airlines merged. On a recent trip throughout South America, I made the decision to travel LATAM exclusively due to my research indicating that since the merger it has become one of the most reliable airlines in Latin America, and also because of my ability to acquire OneWorld Frequent Flyer points using my Qantas Frequent Flyer number. My first internal flight was from Santiago to Lima, a direct connection after flying in to Santiago from Melbourne. I flew economy class on a Boeing 767-300 (“767”).
Because I had booked my flight from Melbourne to Santiago using the Qantas website, there was no ability to link my connecting flight to Lima, despite flying LATAM the whole way. This meant that I had to collect my luggage, clear customs, then check in and re-clear customs back into the airport. While staff were very friendly and everything went smoothly, it was an unnecessarily lengthy process. Further research indicated that since the merger of LAN and TAM, there are still several issues being ironed out, especially when it comes to the linking of systems and IT.
Checked luggage is included with all LATAM Economy tickets when flying international. For flights within South America you can check-in one bag up to 23kg, and on carry-on bag up to 8kg.
I was happy with the service on this flight, and all LATAM cabin crew on this flight that I dealt with spoke fluent Spanish and English. It was a late flight, so most people were happy to simply get a bit of sleep and the staff weren’t required to do much beyond the essentials which they did smoothly and efficiently.
The LATAM Economy cabin on the 767 that flies from Santiago to Lima features 228 seats, in a 2-3-2 layout. There are enough flight attendants around so getting the attention of someone should you need assistance isn’t an issue. Colour wise it’s white and blue with a few flourishes of red, keeping in line with LATAM’s branding. When it comes to cleanliness, everything nice and clean.
The fabric seat has dimensions of about 81cm x 46cm – about standard for an international economy cabin when flying this distance. Like any economy seat, it doesn’t recline that far back, but it’s no better or worse than the competition. The headrest is adjustable.
There are small armrests, and a fabric pocket sleeve at the back of the seat in front to place a few things. There’s not much space to get work done with the tray down if you’ve got a laptop, but for a tablet sized device it’s possible to get some productive stuff done.
There’s a USB port for charging devices, and each seat has a regular 110v AC power port.
There’s a 22.9cm screen on the back of each LATAM Economy 767 seat which is your gateway to LATAM’s in-flight entertainment system. If features over 150 movies, 28 of which are new release, along with television programmes, music, games and apps, all of which rotate regularly to ensure that the content remains fresh and current. The content is a mixture of English language entertainment and content from across Latin America. Provided headphones are acceptable, but if you’re anything like me you’ll bring your own noise cancelling headphones and an adapter for the headphone socket.
Unfortunately for those who can only read English, VAMOS, the in-flight magazine, is almost entirely in Spanish and Portuguese.
For an international flight of this length (under 4 hours), a full meal service isn’t offered. What you get is Juan Valdez or Suplicy premium coffee along with a muffin, a sandwich selection, and various snack and beverage options. Given the hour of day we opted to skip eating and instead tried to get as much sleep as we could.
Beyond the usual blanket, eye mask and pillow that’s on your seat when you first board, there aren’t any additional amenities provided in Economy class.
The flight was perfectly acceptable for a sub 4 hour international flight, with the quality of the cabin and level of service meeting expectations.