During my travels in South America, I had the chance to fly business class with South America’s largest airline, LATAM Airlines. Flying on the Boeing 767, I flew from Bogota, Colombia to Sao Paulo, Brazil where I would continue my mini round the world trip with Aeroplan. Here is my review of that experience – my very first business class flight!
Before the Flight
One of the many benefits of flying in business class is priority check-in. For the first time, I was able to skip the long lines of the economy check-in and bag drop and wait in the priority line. Even though I only had a carry-on, I decided to take full advantage of the priority line by checking in my Osprey 46L backpack.
In most cases, flying in business class also gives you access the airline’s business class lounges in the airport. With LATAM, passengers have access to their LATAM Network of VIP Lounges. Unfortunately, I would already have access to it with my Priority Pass membership through my American Express Platinum.
The Sala VIP LATAM lounge in Bogota Airport did not blow me away, but was satisfactory in what an airport lounge should do: it was clean and spacious; there was comfortable seating and fast internet; a lot of selection in terms of snacks (even ice cream!), finger foods, and drinks. However, there was not enough to constitute a full meal.
On the Plane
During boarding time, I did not have to endure standing awkwardly waiting for my zone to get called. As a business passenger, one gets priority boarding. That means you can skip the long lines at the gate and just go right in!
Once aboard the plane, I noticed that the business class cabins were about half full. LATAM is still using the older 2-2-2 configuration in their business class cabin. This means that those on the window seat will have to jump over your fellow neighbour if they are in lie-flat mode. Fortunately, the seat next to me was also empty.
As I settled into my seat, a flight attendant came by and offered champagne along with some nuts. They also gave each guest a bottle of water. I began sipping on my champagne and eating my nuts as I watched people in economy seats pass by while quietly snickering. #elitist
Once in the seat, there were various nooks and crannies to put your small bags, shoes, and other worldly goods. In front, there is a 15.4 high-resolution display. Notice the screen size to leg room ratio; there was a direct correlation. The entertainment system seemed pretty standard, with the same content as what you get with economy. Noise-reducing headphones are also provided but I didn’t find them to be of that great quality, just standard over-the-ear headphones. Each seat also comes with a USB connection and outlet to charge your personal devices.
As this was a red eye flight (overnight), there are also pillows, blankets and padding provided. The padding is to be put over the seat to provide a more bed-like feel.
In terms of privacy, there was a small partition which could be pulled out from the seat shell at the back. I did not have to use it as my seat beside mine was empty.
The Amenity Kit
In my experience, an amenity kit is given out to all business and first class passengers. The goodie bag that I got was very basic as it only contained socks, earplugs, a sleep mask, and a pen.
I decided to check out the bathroom at the front of the cabin; it was clean and a little more spacious compared to the ones in economy. In addition to soap, there was also moisturizer, wet napkins, and mouth wash. Other than these small touches, it was pretty much the same.
When you first settle down in your seat, you are presented with the menu for your meal. As my flight was only 6 hours, I had dinner as my only meal. The menu gave an option of entrees between beef rolls, roasted marinated chicken, and crab ravioli. Drink options include premium wines and liquor, which I did not take advantage of as I just got ginger ale.
Everything (Salad, Entree, Dessert) came all in one tray. The salad tasted fresh and was great with the strong cheese and crunchy pecans. It paired well with the balsamic vinaigrette (small bottle on the tray). I decided to get the ravioli and I was satisfied with my choice. The taste of the salty crab filling with the creamy tomato dill sauce was delicious. It tasted like it was straight from an authentic Italian restaurant. The crew member also came around with a bread basket from which you can pick up what ever you like. This bread was fresh and soft, unlike those stale cold bread rolls that you get in economy. Dessert was passion fruit and lemon verbena panna cotta — this was a great ending to a great meal. The creamy panna cotta was complemented with sweet plum sauce and actual slices of plums on top.
The cherry on top was that I got to eat all of this with actual cutlery rather than plastic flimsy cutlery. Along with my delicious meal, I was watching Keanu on my big screen.
LATAM Airlines advertises that its Business class seats recline to a fully horizontal position. It was really close, but I couldn’t get the seat to all the way flat. Either way, with the padding provided and the comfy blankets and pillows, I was cozy in my “bed”. I was so excited to be able sleeping flat as this was the biggest difference between economy and business class on overnight flights. After another round of drinks from the stewardesses–in which I got chamomile tea to help me sleep– it was bed time. I put on my sleeping mask and called it a night. Surprisingly, I was able to sleep the whole time until the crew members woke us up for landing.
I was so excited for this flight, and even during the flight I was still excited. For the first time ever, I wanted a flight to be longer. I was secretly hoping for a delay of some sorts so that I can spend more time in the air. This has been by far my best experience flying.
I’ve read that the service on business class is supposedly a lot better than on economy, with the staff being more friendly and attentive. I did not find that to be the case on my flight; it’s quite comparable to that in economy. But for me, the food and the flat-ish bed seats were the real game changers. It was by far the best quality of food I have eaten and the best sleep I have ever had on a flight.
The retail value of this flight was around $1,352 CAD, while economy seats ran for $912 CAD. If you have an extra $440 lying around, then I definitely recommend on upgrading to the business class. Luckily, I didn’t have to cough up a lot of money on this flight as I booked this using 37,500 British Airways Avios points and paid only $89.88 CAD in taxes and fees. I have always been a strong advocate for earning and redeeming airline points, and this is one of the many reasons to do so! This has been one of my many redemptions while travelling around the world.
Follow me as I plan my next business (maybe first?) class adventure!