LAN A340-300 Premium Business class

Check-in There is a dedicated check-in area for business class passengers at Santiago airport. On this Friday evening it was really busy and the process took around 25 minutes to complete. I arrived at the airport at 1600 for my 1845 flight to Madrid (LA 704), which then goes on to Frankfurt. I was allocated the same seat as on my outward journey – 7A, a window seat. After check-in, security and immigration were fast, and I headed to the new business class LAN lounge after browsing in a few shops.

The lounge The facility opened in July and is situated by Gate 17, down some stairs. There are windows but they are high up, so although there was natural light, there was no view. The lounge was very busy and felt small, and I only managed to find a seat after searching for a while. There’s a large smoking room at one end, a computer centre with about ten PCs, an area with tables and chairs for those wanting to work, and a more relaxed section of seats with ottoman footrests. There’s a small kitchen with snacks such as cookies, brownies, cold meat and bread, apple-flavoured crisps, and the drinks. Flight details were on a small TV screen. Boarding was supposed to be at 1800 but it was 1815 when it was called. Gate 12 was just up the stairs and to the right of the lounge.

Boarding As I was a bit late to arrive the gate, I had to join the economy class queue, as priority passengers had already embarked. Once in my seat, I then had to wait for the passengers boarding behind me to sit down before I could get a drink, and even when I got it, I didn’t have time to consume it as it was whisked away when we started taxiing. We took-off on time and the pilot made an announcement that we were to remain seated for 25 minutes, as we were flying over the Andes and turbulence was common.

The seat The seats recline to a fully-flat bed and are upholstered in blue fabric with dark brown backs. There are privacy screens and four set seat positions controlled by a panel on the armrest, as well as a massage function and the ability to move the footrest in and out. The armrests lower when converting to the bed, giving five inches of extra width. And cozy, down duvets and soft white pillows are provided. The seat has a hardback shell with the one in front displaying a 15.4-inch screen. In-flight entertainment is AVOD (audio-visual on-demand) and there are 44 films, 95 channels of TV series and documentaries, 14 video games and 550 CDs. The remote is slotted under one armrest and the table is inside the other.

There’s a plug, which fitted my three-prong European laptop charger, noise-cancelling headphones, a small cubbyhole with a door at the bottom of the seat in front to store belongings, and an adjustable reading lamp. The amenity kits were inside a fold-out bag with three different sections, containing a toothbrush and paste, a plastic comb, a shoe horn, L’Occitane hand cream, moisturiser and lip balm, and a pocket mirror, eye mask and earplugs.For a seat plan of the A340-300 aircraft, click here.

Which seat to choose? The front
cabin is quieter than the one behind. Business class seats are
configured 2-2-2, with rows one to five occupying the front cabin, and
six and seven in the middle, next to economy. Rows one and six do not
have seats in front of them so have the in-flight entertainment on the
wall and less storage for belongings, so might be best avoided. Seats
in rows two, three and four are the best as they are quieter and don’t
suffer from disturbance from a galley or washroom.

The flight The flight started with some turbulence over the mountains, as predicted, and there were about five announcements in Spanish and then English, which was a bit annoying if you were using the in-flight entertainment (IFE). Generally, the cabin was peaceful and the pull-down divider between the seats really gives you privacy. The IFE worked fine on this return journey, although the synopses of the films were a little lost in translation on a few occasions.

We were given landing cards for Madrid, although I did not need one, and meal orders were taken. The starters were Patagonian ham with artichokes and balsamic reduction or Pacific shrimp bisque. Main courses were: grilled filet of beef with native potatoes from Chiloe, sautéed shitake and roasted squash; ricotta and spinach ravioli with walnut sauce; or a light option of smoked trout salad and cottage cheese. Desserts were ice cream, molten chocolate with a passion fruit centre or fresh seasonal fruit. There was also the option of an express dinner with one less course.

Hot towels were given out and I plugged in my laptop – there’s a UK three-pronged plug so you don’t need an adaptor. My prawn bisque was very good, and I had the beef for main, paired with a 2007 Malbec from the Uco valley in Mendoza. It went perfectly, and although I found the meat a little dry, the meal was very tasty overall.  As with the outbound journey, dinner was served with cheese – Edam and sheep’s milk on this occasion.

After dinner I filled in the breakfast card, ordering an omelette, and was informed that only passengers flying to Madrid could buy alcohol from the on board duty-free service. I started watching a film but then fell asleep with the bed fully reclined. It was very comfortable and I slept well, waking two hours before landing.

My omelette was served with asparagus, although I had been expecting a sausage, so I asked for some ham. Instead, was given jam, so I asked again and somewhat reluctantly, was given some ham and cheese. After breakfast I had a cup of tea and tried to get on with some work, but found the process of clearing up quite slow, with serviettes and glasses left for some time.

Arrival We arrived on time at Madrid and disembarked quickly. For a review of the Madrid-London leg, click here.

Verdict The new business class product is very good and the bed comfortable – I slept soundly on both the inbound and outbound flights. The service is good but on this return flight it was a little haphazard and quite slow, possibly because it was a full aircraft. The flight was punctual, and LAN is a good option for Oneworld members who miss the BA Santiago service.

Contact lan.com

Felicity Cousins


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LAN A340-300 Premium Business class

Background LAN celebrates its 80th birthday this year. The Chilean airline uses Frankfurt and Madrid as its hubs for international flights from Europe and the A340-300 I was taking from Madrid was coming from the German city. LAN has just finished rolling out its new products in business and economy class, after scrapping the five first class seats on its B767s and A340s, increasing the number of business class seats. Business class has a fully-flat bed (the same as South African Airways), and economy class benefits from AVOD (audio-visual on-demand) in-flight entertainment. The roll-out for the 25 Boeing 767-300 aircraft was completed last October, while the five A340s were completed in May this year.

Check-in LAN flies from Madrid Terminal 4. The check-in area is on the second floor and I was directed to section 904 for my 2355 flight to Santiago (LA 705). It was 2130 and the business class desk was not busy. I checked in and was asked if I wanted an aisle or a window seat. I chose a window seat and was allocated 7A.

The lounge LAN’s international flights and some of its European flights depart from the satellite arm of Madrid’s Terminal 4, so I had to get the shuttle train to the RSU gates. This takes about ten minutes. Once off the train, you have to go through passport control. I had a bit of time so I went to Iberia’s business class lounge, which as a Oneworld member, LAN customers can use. The lounge was large and long with views over the runway, and there were plenty of seats and food stations at either end. (I noticed there were salmon filets, packaged sandwiches and salads available.) There was a business centre with free internet access and about a dozen computers, plus a smoking room.

Boarding I left the lounge at about 2325 and walked the short distance to the gate. My seat was in the second cabin of business class, so I turned right when I got on the plane. I settled into my window seat, which was the row in front of economy class. The flight was busy and my cabin (two rows of 2-2-2) only had two empty seats.

The seat The seats recline to a fully-flat bed and are upholstered in blue fabric with dark brown backs. There are privacy screens and four set seat positions controlled by a panel on the armrest, as well as a massage function and the ability to move the footrest in and out. The armrests lower when converting to the bed, giving five inches of extra width. And cozy, down duvets and soft white pillows are provided. The seat has a hardback shell with the one in front displaying a 15.4-inch screen. In-flight entertainment is AVOD (audio-visual on-demand) and there are 44 films, 95 channels of TV series and documentaries, 14 video games and 550 CDs. The remote is slotted under one armrest and the table is inside the other.

There’s a plug, which fitted my three-prong European laptop charger, noise-cancelling headphones, a small cubbyhole with a door at the bottom of the seat in front to store belongings, and an adjustable reading lamp. The amenity kits were inside a fold-out bag with three different sections, containing a toothbrush and paste, a plastic comb, a shoe horn, L’Occitane hand cream, moisturiser and lip balm, and a pocket mirror, eye mask and earplugs. For a seat plan of the A340-300 aircraft, click here.

Which seat to choose? The front cabin is quieter than the one behind. Business class seats are configured 2-2-2, with rows one to five occupying the front cabin, and six and seven in the middle, next to economy. Rows one and six do not have seats in front of them so have the in-flight entertainment on the wall and less storage for belongings, so might be best avoided. Seats in rows two, three and four are the best as they are quieter and don’t suffer from disturbance from a galley or washroom.

The flight The pilot said the flight would take 11 hours and 55 minutes, arriving in Santiago at about 7am local time. We were offered drinks while boarding was finishing and I had a glass of champagne served with peanuts.

We pushed back from the gate and took off on time. I had a look at the menu, which was in a large cork folder, and orders were taken about half an hour after take off. Appetisers were of duck ham with vegetable salad or mushroom soup. Mains were: grilled filet of beef with thyme sauce, roast potatoes and sautéed cherry tomatoes; poached cod with piquillo pepper sauce, steamed potatoes and snowy peas; and a light option of mixed salad leaves with marinated chicken, sliced cucumber and red and yellow cherry tomatoes.

All food came with wine recommended by the sommelier and was served with mixed salad, vegetables, and goat and Murcia cheese, followed by an option of ice cream, tiramisu or fruit. There is also an express menu with one less course for those who want to get to sleep.

I could not get the in-flight entertainment to function as the remote did not respond, so I asked a flight attendant and she immediately reset my screen. After that it worked fine, apart from being a little slow to register what was pressed. I had seen quite a few of the films on offer but soon found one I hadn’t, and put my seat in a more relaxed position.

When dinner was served I moved my seat upright a little and folded out the table on to which a cloth and tray were set down. I found I was a little far away to eat my soup comfortably, but once the tray is down the seat will not adjust, so make sure you are in a good position first. I chose the fish for the main, which was good. After dinner, and a cup of peppermint tea, I settled down in the thick white duvet and put the bed into the sleep position. It was very comfortable and despite a crying baby in economy class, I put in my earplugs and slept well, only waking up at about 1000 after seven hours’ sleep.

I had filled out my breakfast card before I slept, choosing a full breakfast with scrambled eggs, croissants and coffee, and it was served about ten minutes after I had woken. An express breakfast is served 40 minutes before landing. I filled out an arrival card and import declaration form, and worked until landing an hour or so later.

Arrival Because of the possibility of turbulence, the pilot requested everyone keep their seatbelts for the last 30 minutes of the flight. We touched down on time in Santiago, just as the sun was rising over the Andes. My priority bag came out fairly quickly. Santiago airport is about 40 minutes (traffic permitting) from the centre of town.

Verdict A well thought out and comfortable business class product. Service was attentive and friendly.

Contact lan.com

Felicity Cousins


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