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My review of LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class Madrid to Frankfurt

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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.)

Cost

We booked the flight using Avios.  LAN / LATAM services can only be booked on ba.com or iberia.com, and not avios.com.  My one-way flight was a bargain at 15,000 Avios plus £17.20 of tax.

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).

Boarding

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.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

My seat was a window seat in the last row of the business cabin (5A).

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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!

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

My view:

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

After 2 hours and 40 minutes we landed in Frankfurt just before 6pm:

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

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.

Conclusion

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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Comments (54)

  • Marc says:

    I’ve flown the same sector – however I consider this an average review. It does not point out the excellent service onboard. The cabin is very spacious, and tbh if you don’t like the cabin configuration, then you have a problem. i really like to get to know people and chat when flying – I’ve never had an issue with that (nor does the other passenger!).
    Secondly, the service carried out by the crew is professional, exceeding all expectations. As someone already pointed out, there’s a proper introduction: “hi my name is this and I’m going to be your attendant today. Please let me know whether I can assist you or help you with anything”. Which is just great! Anika did not wrote something unique about the experience flying Latam: you get pisco-sour! Which other airline serves you pisco-sour? Probably a handful of airlines do. Nevertheless the choice of wines on board is excellent – I got a whole review of the wine selection; the crew went an extra mile sharing with me their whole experience while visiting some of the wine cellars! How great is that? And finally, even though I must admit that’s only true if you speak and understand Spanish, but flying with Latam is quite exotic: people from Latin America are very kind, warm an cheerful, and they will do everything to not let you down! The same applies to the crew in this flight! And also, their accent is very pleasant.
    Finally, would I fly it again? Probably yes, but only if necessary and when there’s no other feasible option available. The passport control at both ends are a bit annoying – that’s why their load factors are low and fares a dirt cheap.

    • Jeff says:

      One think I really hate on board is when other passengers are trying to “get to know me”…

    • Afasam says:

      I’m pretty sure there is a privacy screen between the armrests that you can raise up if you want. The 4 or 5 times I’ve flown TAM metal in J the cabin has been half full every time though and every solo traveller had at least 2 seats to themselves.

      Although you may not get a crew that speak much English, I’ve found TAM/LATAM to provide catering, entertainment and service way ahead of BA’s. I find the bed more comfortable too and the S America hub lounges are excellent.

  • Frankie says:

    Is there a reason airlines can’t put up some sort of wee privacy screen you can pull out so you feel less close to your neighbour? It’s even the same on Qatar 777.

  • Bob says:

    I did exactly the same one way trip about a year ago and it was a 170-ish euros well spent. The seats as depicted above look a little different, then maybe I was on a 787-800 (?).
    The Pisco Sour predeparture drink was lovely and although the entire biz-cabin was sold the crew adressed all passengers with their names, which was nice…

  • signol says:

    I did this flight last year, was very impressed, especially with the price tag. Pisco Sour nice too, though no choice of meal. I made a (slightly longer) video, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to link 😉

  • snoptro says:

    I’m a fan of these seats. I would trade privacy for unlimited foot room any day. Most J seats today are suffocating, with dismal space for feet in bed mode. This is a nice change.

  • DanK says:

    I flew FRA to MAD last year, only 98euro in J, which was very good price.
    However, the flight arrive MAD a bit late.

  • Alex says:

    I also watched Snowden on a flight recently (though on different airline and a different route)! Just wondering why they include it so heavily into IFE systems – perhaps because an airport is featured there? Also – how did you manage to squeeze it in into your flight time? The film is over 2 hours!

  • Roger says:

    Over next couple of months, I will have following Bills to Pay

    1. TV Licence
    2. Water Bill
    3. Council Tax

    Also got new Amex card, wondering how can I maximize spending on Amex.