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Thursday 22 September 2011

Flying with Lan Airlines LA721 Paris to Madrid

Welcome to my trip report on my very first South American carrier, LAN Airlines! 

How did this airline come about? 

I planned a trip to Europe with Raymond and both of us wanted to take advantage of some of the 5th freedom flights available in Europe. LAN Airlines came into our mind and my duty was to find the cheapest airfare. One evening, I was browsing through the airline's websites when I came across an eye-catching airfare on LAN's website. For just S$80, a one-way ticket from Paris to Madrid could be purchased. 

I told Raymond about it and not long after, our tickets were confirmed.

Another purpose of our visit to Paris was to visit the air show. It was a memorable one and I find it to be better than Singapore's, especially the varieties of aircraft. 

Paris Air Show 2011 photos

Flight details
Carrier: Lan Airlines
Flight number: 721
Date: 22nd June 2011
Routing: CDG-MAD
Seat number: 37L (Economy)
Aircraft type: Airbus A340-313X
My 6th ride on this aircraft type and 4th airline to be flying the A340-300.
1st time on CC-CQG
Engines: CFMI CFM56-5C4
Date delivered: 7th June 2007 (Ex-Air Canada aircraft)
Configuration: F5C36Y228
Line number: 167
Registration: CC-CQG
Flight Duration: 2 hrs
Scheduled departure time: 2030
Actual departure time: 2030
Scheduled arrival time: 2230
Actual arrival time: 2235
FL: 400
Load factor for Y class: 90%
Departure gate: C83
Arrival gate: U62
Departure runway used: 26R
Arrival runway used: 18R

Credit goes to the respective photographers from airliners.net.

My photos of CC-CQG, our ride 


My friend Raymond and I added this airline to our "must-fly" when we were planning our European trip. We met up a couple of times before deciding on our final routing. This would be my routing, SIN-AUH-LHR-CDG-MAD-BCN-MAD-LCY-LHR-AUH-SIN. Looks long right? It turns to be a very fast trip for us and to add a lot of nice airlines and aircraft to our flight logbook, was a great bonus. I was glad to be able to do this with Raymond.

Booking online

Booking online on this website was quite troublesome because if you made a mistake keying in your personal data, instead of allowing you to change it online, you have to email to them instead. Other than that, it was not difficult to navigate and booking was done without further issues. Rating: 3/10

                                  Some photos of CDG terminal

My impression of this airport wasn't good. I found it to be complicated especially for foreigners going there for the first time. Not only that, the staff were unfriendly and unwelcoming towards us, seeing us from Asia. Terminal 2 is the most complex, you have terminals ranging from A to G, so make sure you check which terminal your flight is departing from and go there early just in case. Always good to know your way around first.


The feeling of boarding my very first South American airline was exciting. We were greeted by not-so-friendly staff who stood there looking at us like we were aliens or something. Not a good impression! Making our way to the matching Red and Blue seats, we settled down at our window seats. It was quite comfortable and the IFE system was not too bad. 

Y Class

Some of my photos taken during and after the flight. The crew were accommodating to our photoshoots.

A 'selfie photo' of me onboard my first South American airliner.

View of the cabin from my seat. 

I find the seat colour combination to very nice and warm. It is definitely comfortable for the short hop. 

J class 

Legroom space is adequate. 

IFE System is non-AVOD (Audio Video on Demand) and not touch screen.

What was served on board? 

We were given a box and a choice of drink. I chose Coke for this flight.

Sandwich for this 2 hours flight was kind of disappointing. The sandwich is normal, nothing special about it.

Window shot photos - Take off from Paris and landing at Madrid Airport


They are not flying on this route any more. However, you can catch them on the Madrid to Frankfurt which is now operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This airline has retired the Airbus A340-300 which is now becoming rare. 

Don't you just love 5th freedom flights? Sometimes, you can't go to their homeland for several reasons, so this was great for both of us. We don't have any South American carriers in Singapore or most parts of Asia. These carriers are definitely worth a try but don't expect much from the service side, as this set of the cabin crew had shown us. 

The girl who was sitting beside me wondered why I picked this airline instead of others. After explaining to her, she was pretty much surprised. She hasn't heard of 'airliners.net' or aviation enthusiasts until our conversation. 


On ground crew at CDG: 5/10
CDG Airport experience: 5/10
In-flight service: 6/10
In-flight food: 5/10
IFE System: 6/10
Aircraft condition:  10/10
Cleanliness: 9/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Seat Comfort: 8/10

Overall rating: 64/90

Thanks for reading my trip report.


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