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Thursday 3 August 2023

Enjoying Business Class With LATAM (Part 1: Old J Class SCL-LIM)

 Welcome to my LATAM's Flying Adventure Part 1! 

CC-BBA resting at LIM Airport after flying me from Santiago. This aircraft continued onwards to Los Angeles later that day. 


This has to be one of the most exciting flights in my itinerary. Not only do I get to experience LATAM's wide-body, I would also get to experience both the old and new Premium Business class on the 787 and 767. The first flight I am flying on is not my original flight. I was originally booked on LA650 but the airline switched me over to LA534 just a couple of months before this day. As long as the aircraft type is not changed to the A320, it doesn't matter. In 2011, I flew with LAN Airlines with the A340 on the CDG (Paris) to MAD (Madrid) route and this would be my first time with LATAM Chile after the merger of LAN and TAM. I have previously flown with LATAM Brazil but that I considered it to be managed by another company. As you know LATAM group consists of different subsidiaries, they are LATAM Brazil, LATAM Peru, Latam Colombia, LATAM Ecuador and LATAM Paraguay so LATAM Chile will officially be my 101st airline. Without further ado, let's begin this trip report! 

About Santiago (SCL) Airport 

Auturo Merino Benitez International Airport is also known as Santiago International Airport, is based in the North-west part of Santiago, Chile's biggest and busiest international airport in the country. This airport was opened in February 1967 and play hosts to LATAM Chile, Jetsmart and Sky Airlines. The airport has 2 runways, 17L/35R and 17R/35L and is owned by the government, operated by Nuevo Pudaheul. Currently the airport consists of 2 terminals, terminal 1 and terminal 2. Terminal 1 is used exclusively for domestic flights (Pier A and B)  and terminal 2 is used for international flights. Before new terminal 2 was opened, the current terminal 1 building hosted both international and domestic flights and I can imagine how crowded it was. Fortunately terminal 2 was opened in 1st half of 2022 and it consists of 4 piers: C, D, E and F. Between both terminals, there is a Holiday Inn hotel which has opened since 2008 making it an ideal place to rest for transiting passengers. 

Map of the airport (Photo: Sky Airlines) 

On the day of departure 

After arriving from AEP, Buenos Aires, I made my way to the transit transfer. 

It took about slightly less than 10 minutes for the airport staff to get me check in. Apparently he had some issues with my booking but thanks to his hard work, the issue was solved and after that I informed him about my outward journey and once that was done, my boarding pass was issued. I had to go through security check but that didn't take long and soon after I was at the departure hall. 

Once I was done, I went through the duty free shop. 

This is the departure hall (airside) of the one year old Terminal 2 Santiago Airport (June 2022). My first impression is how spacious and clean it is. The only complaint I have is the airport Wi-Fi not working well, as I kept getting disconnected. 

I made my way to the LATAM lounge. 

You can check out my Lounge Review of LATAM Lounge Santiago over here

Once I exited the lounge, I went to walk around. 

There wasn't many flights departing in the early hours of that day. 

The airport is not fully opened at this point of time. 

Only 2 flights (below) were flying out of South America, can you spot which flight? 

My flight departed at C1 and C3 so walking there from the lounge didn't take long. 

Here it is! As there was still time, I continue to walk around.

This is where my flight was departing. There are 2 gates dedicated to my flight which is great as it speeds up the boarding process. 

Checking which aircraft I would be flying, the honour goes to CC-BBA. 

Time to board! 

My ride: CC-BBA (Photo: Ivan Cabrero)

Boeing 787-8 (Owned) 
Delivered to LAN Airlines before transferring to LATAM in May 2016
Configuration: C30 Y217
Engines: 2 X Roll Royce Trent 1000 
68th Boeing 787 built 
Built in Everette (PAE)
Current age: 11 years old (August 2023) 

CC-BBA in LAN Airlines livery (Before the merger) Photo: Yochai Mossi 

Flight route: SCL-LIM 

Miles: 1,524 

Date of departure: 2nd June 2023
Airline: LATAM Chile 
Flight: LA534 
Route: SCL-LIM
Aircraft type: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Registration: CC-BBA
Seat: 5L 
Gate: C1 and C3 
Load: 90% in J Class
Departure terminal: 2 
Schedule departure: 0720 
Boarding: 0642 
Pushed back: 0718
Take off: 0737 
Flight duration: 3 hours 11 mins 
Actual flight time: 3 hours 14 mins
Schedule arrival time: 1000
Touched down: 0951
Departure runway: 17R
Arrival runway: 16

It feels great to be flying on a different class. This time, I was one of the first to board the aircraft and that means I had enough time to snap some photos of the Economy Class cabin while it was still empty. 

Economy Class 

Latam's Y class cabin is configured in 3-3-3 and has a total of 217 seats. These seats have a legroom space of 31 inches and 17 inches width. 

The colours of the seats matches the airline's identity. 

Bulkhead seat or standard seat, which do you prefer? 

I think the cabin interior is quite nice. 

This Panasonic IFE system is quite popular in the market. 

The curtain is opened only before departure and arrival.  

Legroom space is around 31 inches. 

The mood lighting certainly improves the cabin atmosphere. 

My in-flight experience 

Boarding the aircraft was a fast and easy process especially when you are one of the first to board. I was greeted by a set of experienced crew consisted of 2 male crew in charge of the business class cabin. They were able to communicate in English and were generally nice. Not the best service, that's for sure. The flight purser came and introduced himself before taking my order for breakfast.The best thing about this flight? I had no seat mate, in fact there were a few vacant seats in this cabin. 

As this is the older J Class cabin, these seats are similar to the ones you find on Royal Brunei, Kenya Airways and a few others. This is my 2nd time to experience these seats, I had tried these seats with Royal Brunei and find them to be pretty decent. Only thing I don't like is if you have a stranger sitting beside you, getting in and out can be troublesome. What are the pros about these seats? The spacious ottoman for my leg to rest on and the seats is wide enough for me to be comfortable and perhaps catch a nap on it. The seat is provided with the blanket or bedsheet (depends on how you want to use it) and pillow and I find them to be very comfortable. 

For those wondering why I chose seat 5J instead of the front row is because rows 4 and 5 are located just behind the 2nd door and there is more privacy besides I get a good window view of the engine and wing. 

Anyway, our plane pushed back and we took off very much on time. It was a great day for flying as we were greeted with a spectacular view of the mountains. Once the seat belt sign was turned off, I explore the cabin and lavatory before settling down. 

The cabin crew came and distribute the meals to those who are still awake and serve the others later when they woke up. The breakfast was not bad, it was done just right. As we were flying midway through the flight, the sun was shining brightly on my side and even though the windows was set to the dimmest mode, I can feel the heat from the window which can be annoying. The service so far has been quite normal, nothing spectacular from the male crew. At least they came around to check the cabin from time to time so I have to give them credit for it. The In-Flight Entertainment system was not bad, but it took a while for me to get used to the remote control, however Wi-Fi is not available on this aircraft. From what I know, they plan to install Wi-Fi on all the long haul aircraft in the near future. 

Once we started our descend into Lima Airport. My ears hurt a bit and took a while to unblock it while on the ground. The experience was similar to my Aerolineas Argentina's flight (GRU-AEP) and this is strange as I have flown on the 787 several times and this is the first time I experienced it on one. 

Overall, I enjoyed the flight. The vacant seat beside mine makes it even more comfortable as I value privacy as one of the most important aspects when flying in premium classes. 

Premium Business Class

This cabin consists of 30 J Class angle-flat seats which offer a pitch of up to 75" inches and seat width of 23" inches. The configuration of this old business class product is 2-2-2 and is currently being replaced by a newer Business Class product (Check out my next trip report for the review). 

My seat: 5L (Photo: Aerolopa.com)

Do note: Seat 3A and 3L are windowless. 

Welcome to the Premium Class Cabin! 

Each passenger is provided with a blanket/bed padding and a pillow. 

This is my seat, 5L. I was lucky to have the seat besides mine vacant. I highly recommend this seat as it offers more privacy in this part of the aircraft. 

Each pair of seats has a privacy divider to pull it up during the flight. I forgot to take photos of it! Sorry. 

The view from my seat. 

The mood lighting is what I love about flying on Boeing's new aircraft. 

Safety video is being played. 

3 windows for myself allowed me to enjoy the splendid view. 

This is the front section of the Business Class cabin. 

Most passengers were resting on this flight. 

Do you like the mood lighting? This one is nice. 

This photo was taken after arrival at Lima airport. 

More photos of my seat 

Literature such as safety card and magazines are stored at the compartment (between the ottoman).

Aircon vent and light is available for each passenger in J class. 

Each seat has controls to turn it into bed mode, pity there is no massage mode. 

For a change, I was able to stretch my legs comfortably. 

The remote control and a bottle of water was provided. 

The headphone jack. 

Each passenger receives a head set and a coat hook is available in every seat. 

The Universal socket and USB power outlet are located over here. (Above the remote control) 

I was able to pull out the tray and placed it back into the original position easily. 

Pulling out the remote control to change the programme can be a bit troublesome. 

What's provided for each passenger? 


Blanket/Bed Padding 

Menu for this flight 

Safety Card 

The amenity kit is so pretty! 

What's inside the kit? 

An eye mask 

A pair of socks 

Ear plug 

Toothbrush and toothpaste 

Headphones - the quality was average but I was able to watch the movie without any issues.

I always look forward to the meal service. So what's there to eat? 

Here are the choices! Check out my in-flight food section (somewhere below) for more information. 

I didn't use the pillow as I took it out to snap this photo. 

I enjoyed the comfortable blanket.

I was satisfied with my experience so far. 

The TV screen was too small for my liking. 

A visit to the lavatory 

The lavatory is clean and well maintained. 

In-Flight Entertainment System/WiFi 

Let's check out this system! 

There are are different types of entertainment to choose from. Watching movie is usually my source of entertainment during my flight.

There is no exterior camera installed in LATAM's fleet, only the flight map to check on your flight’s status. 

The selection of movies is limited, definitely a pale compare to let's say, Emirates's ICE system. 

I decided to catch this movie (below) and it was not bad. Sometimes missing out movies at the cinema may not be a bad thing, you can catch them up later on Netflix/Disney Plus or watch them during your flights. 

Some advertisements before the start of the movie.

This flight went past too fast for my liking. 

Unfortunately, no Wi-Fi for the passengers. 

In-Flight meals 

What are the choices? 

- Edam Cheese Omelet, with Rosti Potatoes and Tomato Concasse with Basil 
- Ham and Cheese Selection 
- English Ham Sandwich with Edam and Cream Cheese in a Croissant 

Complements - Coconut Cream with Fresh Fruit and Nuts 
- Yogurt with Granola and Jam 

All options include Fresh Seasonal Fruits, Assorted Breads and Jam and Butter. 

I chose the Edam Cheese Omelet. However, the meal didn't come with Yogurt and Granola and Jam and Coconut cream with nuts. I wasn't informed about the missing selection so minus points for the service. 

Once I finished, the crew came to clear. I am glad they didn’t pressurised me to finish or take their sweet time to clear the plates and glass. 

I had the tomato juice to wash down this decent meal. 

Overall I would give this a rating of 3.5/5. I wasn't full after the meal. Coffee and tea beverages were served but I declined. 

(Take off to landing) window view 

Starting up the Roll Royce Trent 1000 engines. 

Once that's done, we were on our way. 

Taxing past the bigger varient of the 787, the -9 series. Will we see LATAM ordering the 787-10? You never know. 

Iberia's Airbus A350. I am considering flying this airline when I return to South America in the future. 

The sky was getting brighter as each minute past at this point. 

I wonder how long has this Boeing 737-200 been parked here. 

We reached the threshold. 

Off we go! On our way to Lima. 

V1, rotate!! 

This is what I have been waiting for, to enjoy the spectacular view of this city. 

Lots of mountains around this area. 

This is the part where I dimmed the windows as it was getting brighter. 

The window at its dimmest mode. 

It was very cloudy when we started our approach to Lima. So far the flight has been smooth, hardly any turbulence. 

Visibility is quite poor but no issue with aircraft landing and taking off. 

Here we are, welcome to Lima, Peru! 

Reverse thrust is deployed to slow the aircraft down.

Once we reached the normal taxing speed, we taxied to the taxiway which lead us to our assigned gate. 

Here we are. 

My flight summary 

Arrival at LIM Airport

Thanks for the ride, CC-BBA! 

We walked for about 5 minutes before reaching the immigration area. 

I headed for the LATAM's transfer counter to collect my boarding pass for the next flight. More on this in my next trip report. 

My ratings 

Airline's website/mobile app: 2/5 
Airport staff at SCL Airport: 4/5 
In-Flight Service: 3/5 
In-Flight Experience: 4/5 
Cleanliness of the cabin: 5/5
In-Flight Entertainment System: 3/5
In-Flight Meal: 3/5 
Punctuality: 5/5 
Seat comfort: 4/5 
Cabin interior: 4/5 
Overall rating: 37/50
Percentage: 74%


With my first LATAM international flight completed, I have to say that I like what I saw on this aircraft. The nice, warm and cozy cabin of the 787 with the colours of the seats especially in the Economy Class matching very well. The 2-2-2 cabin may be outdated but the good thing about it is I am able to stretch my legs in the reclined mode. The seats were comfortable and I would have no issue flying on this product on long haul routes. Even with a seat partner and if he/she is sleeping, it is still possible to get to the aisle without disturbing him/her just need a bit of effort. Well, I still prefer these seats over the Economy Class. Furthermore, this isn't the worst Business class cabin. The Herringbone seats are the worst and I would rather fly in this cabin or even Economy Class. 

This is the Herringbone seats (Virgin Atlantic) - Photo: Virgin Atlantic's website

Anyway, on my next flight, I will be experience the airline's new J Class product and I will do a comparison between both, each with its pros and cons in the next trip report. 

Hope you enjoy this trip report! 

For my previous report (LATAM's Lounge Santiago Review), click here.

Click here for my Part 2 of this trip report (New J Class LIM-BOG) on the airline's 767-300ER. 

For my Lounge Review at Lima Airport, click here.


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