Last January Rob wrote about the LAN flight from Santiago, Chile to Frankfurt via Madrid when it was on special offer, with the option of only flying the bit between Frankfurt and Madrid. As a 2 hours 40 minutes flight is a good way of finding out whether a plane is suitable for a 13 hours flight we decided that I should review the LATAM flight from Madrid to Frankfurt instead of flying straight back to London.
(If you are interested in other routes around Europe operated by long-haul aircraft with ‘proper’ business class seating, take a look at this article we wrote last year.)
Do check cash prices on the LATAM site as well as occasional special offers mean that the route can be exceptionally cheap (under £150 one way).
After visiting the Sala Velazquez Iberia VIP lounge at Madrid Bajajas I made my way to the gate which took just a few minutes.
This LATAM flight is operated by a brand new Boeing 787-9. The business cabin has 30 seats in 5 rows with a distinctly old-style configuration of 2-2-2.
My seat was a window seat in the last row of the business cabin (5A).
There was a good amount of storage by the seat, although the crew insisted that even items tucked under the footrest had to go in the overhead locker during take off and landing.
As you can see in this picture there is not a lot of room in between the seats and there wouldn’t be much privacy on a busy flight.
As we were waiting for the last passengers to board the plane drinks and nuts were served. The service standards had not been reduced even though this was technically now a short-haul European flight.
The entertainment prorgram was great. I think I counted around 100 movies and there were various TV shows as well as music albums. You don’t get that if you fly Iberia or Lufthansa between Frankfurt and Madrid.
I watched Snowden – great movie!
After take off I tested the bed. It was indeed fully flat and rather comfortable. I think I could have slept comfortably if I had been on it for the full 13 hours between Madrid and Santiago.
Meal-wise, the flight was at a bit of an awkward time with a 3.05pm departure. LATAM chose to serve a light meal which was a salad with chicken, some cheese and bread with a chocolate cake for desert.
After 2 hours and 40 minutes we landed in Frankfurt just before 6pm:
To give you a better impression of what you can expect, here is a short YouTube video of the LAN flatbed flight from Madrid to Frankfurt. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel via this page – this is the same link to visit if the video does not automatically appear below.
There are two ways of looking at this flight – as a 160 minute hop between Madrid and Frankfurt and a potential 13 hour flight between Madrid and Santiago, Chile.
The LAN flight is, clearly, an outstanding alternative to a European short-haul airline when flying from Madrid to Frankfurt. You get a comfortable seat that can fully be reclined, the selection of movies was great (versus non-existent on other airlines on this route!) and the food was good. If the flight times work for you, you’d be crazy not to choose this option.
However as a business class product on a 13 hours flight the LAN flight is probably not ideal. This is primarily due to the 2 x 2 x 2 seating arrangement. If you are travelling alone you will be very close to your seatmate, without any separation between the seats, and I wouldn’t feel too comfortable. Even when travelling with your partner or a close business colleague, you are still sharing an armrest and drinks table throughout the flight and you might prefer additional privacy.
The LATAM website is here if you want to find out more about their services.
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