Tried & Tested

LAN A340-300 business class

11 Oct 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Check-in I arrived in Santiago on an incoming international flight from Buenos Aires already in possession of my boarding pass.  It was a short walk from the plane to the transit area where there were no queues and I was in the departure lounge within 5 minutes of getting off the plane. Probably the easiest transit I have ever done. 

The Lounge I made my way to the Lan lounge (near gate 20). This was modern with a plenty of seating, computers, free wifi and a good selection of drinks and snacks. There was also a good number of international newspapers so I picked up a UK newspaper for the flight.

Boarding I left the lounge at 1800 for what I thought was my 1845 flight.  It was a short walk to the gate and I then found that the flight was not as my ticket suggested but at 1855. I waited a few minutes and then the boarding started at about 1810. There was a separate queue for business class so I was on the plane quickly. Before I had stowed my bag my jacket was taken from me and I was offered a drink and nuts. This was followed up with a selection of local and Spanish newspapers and a Bulgari amenity kit. The kit included a shoe bag, pen, toothbrush, mirror, shoe horn, socks, mask, earplugs, lip balm, hand and face cream.

The seat The A340-300 is fitted in a 2-2-2 configuration over two cabins. The seat had 4 preset positions and was adjustable and had a massage function. There were comfortable leather arm rests that dropped away when you turned it into a bed, a privacy screen, reading light and a small storage area for papers or small items in the centre console (and if you are not in the front row in the back of the seat in front of you). There was plenty of space around the seat and 74” between each row - more generous than most airlines. When reclined the seat became a 73” bed which was 23” wide. There was a soft cotton covered pillow and duvet and I slept well.

I was seat in 1C.  I was concerned about being close to the front gallery although this was quite quiet as most of the crew worked in the galley between the two sections of business class.

The flight We took off about ten minutes late. I was surprised that there was no post take off drinks service and food was served about 45 minutes later. To start there was salad followed by a choice of soup or smoked salmon. For the main course there was hake, fillet steak or chicken salad. This was followed by cheese and a choice of fresh fruit, panacotta or Haagen Dazs. As it was late I had the steak and ice cream. Both were delicious. There was also a selection of Argentine and Chilean wine and I was tempted by a 2005 Malbec which went with the steak very well.

The IFE is AVOD. Each seat has a 15.4” high definition screen in the seat back in front. There are 47 movies, TV and 20 games. Of the 47 movies only 8 are recent releases, so as a regular traveller, the choice was a little disappointing.

The crew also handed out breakfast cards offering a full breakfast or an express breakfast 40 minutes before landing. I opted to sleep and chose the late breakfast of orange juice and a muffin.

Once my meal had settled I went to sleep and slept well. Unfortunately I was woken frequently by the turbulence and the announcements that were made to instruct passengers to fasten their seatbelts.  This seemed rather unnecessary and annoying on a night flight, so make sure you wear your ear plugs.

After serving breakfast the crew tidied the cabin and twenty minutes before landing the IFE was switched off as we started our descent.

Arrival The flight landed about 10 minutes late at the modern T4 satelite terminal. 

Verdict Great service, good food and a superb seat. The only disappointing thing was the continual announcements about turbulence when trying to sleep. 

Price A mid-week return in November from LAN's Chilean website starts at US$5,602 (£3,469).


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