LATAM experiences

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by nonscenic, Mar 7, 2019.

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  1. nonscenic

    nonscenic Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    156
    13
    Melbourne
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    I travelled in Jan 2019 to Buenos Aires (AEP) and then later returned from SCL to MEL with my wife, flying LATAM. The service on the long haul MEL - SCL and return SCL-AKL flights in Y was abysmal. Dinner consisted of a hot dish and a chocolate biscuit for desert, plus drinks, very similar to what one would expect on a dinner QF flight from SYD-MEL. If you were lucky you had a choice of two meals but they soon ran out and most had no choice. Near the end of the 13 hour flight they came around with breakfast (even though the plane landed at 7pm SCL time) which for most consisted of a soggy cheese toastie, which by the time they served us was cold, plus three pieces of apple plus one grape as a "fruit salad". In flight snacks were non existent. I would suggest choosing a window seat as there were interesting views at times. Travelling at about 58S in early Jan one could see twilight all night towards the pole and the approach to SCL along the Chilean coast was spectacular.
    After spending the night at the airport hotel we flew LATAM again SCL - AEP the next morning with great views of the Andes as we crossed them on climb from SCL. On this 3.5 hour flight they served only light refreshments. At AEP we had a four hour wait for our LATAM Argentina flight to Puerto Iguazu (IGR). Unfortunately some thunderstorms arrived during this time closing the airport and causing delays. The Arrivals and departures screens had frozen some hours earlier and all was total chaos and there was no information about which flights were going from which gate. We met a family who had been booked on an earlier flight to IGR and had missed it because they had not known which gate it left from. We only found our flight (which was delayed by about an hour) by walking up to any gate that was staffed and asking if they were preparing for our flight. They had no idea of where other flights were departing from either. We were perhaps fortunate that our bags , that had been checked through from MEL, were on the carousel when we arrived at IGR.
    IGR airport was an ancient building with only two gates. On our return flight (with AR) to AEP a thunderstorm occurred after check in. Water seeped around the leaky windows and airport staff spent time mopping up the floors. When we got to our hotel in Buenos Aires it was apparent from the wet clothing inside that the baggage had been left on the tarmac during the thunderstorm.
    Our return flight LA801 SCL-AKL- SYD had the same terrible food on the flight to AKL, however they must have loaded some better food in AKL for the final leg to SYD.
    I can see now why the QF SYD-SCL flights have higher seat loadings!
     
    • Informative Informative x 1

  2. Denali

    Denali Established Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    3,944
    7,857
    Sydney suburbs
    I was underwhelmed by Latam so your post isnt surprising. One of the few flights (in J) that I was left feeling a bit peckish. I wouldnt compare their FAs with SQ FAs but they did their job and didnt overreach in performance.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Mattg

    Mattg Senior Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    7,551
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    The catering is probably the one thing I've not liked about LATAM (the Chilean arm, anyway - don't get me started on LATAM Brasil) from my otherwise good experiences with them. I have also found the meals small and only ever recall there being one meal choice in economy.
     
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  4. Berlin

    Berlin Established Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    1,230
    342
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I quite like their J product though the food is hit and miss. Many great new aircraft though, even on some short hauls. The crew is usually lovely and when you chat a bit of Spanish with them, they often make an effort to help you polish your language skills which I really enjoy. Wines are generally awesome Argentinian or Chilean ones and you can't beat that Pisco Sour on the long haul.

    My biggest gripe is with their ground staff, especially in smaller airports they can be really useless (as in not really knowing what they're doing, messing up your luggage tags on connecting flights and so on). And I've also been bumped from J to Premium Eco a few times now due to flight cancellations and the likes which seem to the rule rather than exception on LATAM. That really sucks, admittedly.

    I don't have much experience in Y apart from the short 1 hour hops in Y only aircraft, mostly on LATAM Colombia on the Colombian triangle Medellin-Bogota-Cali. Coffee or water only but always super friendly crew and newish Airbus planes.
     
  5. tgh

    tgh Established Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    1,154
    756
    Brisbane
    I have flown a bit with Latam internally and also long haul J
    I would use them again domestically as it's a reliable plain vanilla airline a bit like a lcc
    I would avoid using them long haul as I dislike the J product.

    My spin is that it's an airline that is just ok if everything goes well, and a minefield if it doesn't.
    They have a well earned reputation for refusing refunds and seem to have inscrutable admin procedures
    Unless you have strong local Spanish , it's too easy for them to brush Gringo's aside.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Berlin

    Berlin Established Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    1,230
    342
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Great description of their domestic short hauls, I fully agree with this observation.

    And the latter, they share this with Iberia. they're actually stunningly similar those two airlines from experience (well, maybe not quite that stunning given their both Spanish-speaking and part of OneWorld). So so food, great wines and you get much better service if you speak a bit of Spanish. And if everything goes well it can be quite a decent airline but beware if it all goes downhill and then suddenly you only get anywhere with absolute impeccable language skills.
     
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  7. p--and--t

    p--and--t Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    127
    83
    Melbourne
    We flew LAN various flavours more than a dozen times in 2012 when cross crossing the SA continent on holiday; only in domestic.

    I recall our early morning flight from Lima to Cusco where they announced breakfast would be served. Each person received a tiny tray with a chocolate wafer, a chocolate biscuit, and a single square of chocolate like hotels sometimes put on your pillow. We were then offered a choice of warm flat coke or warm flat lemonade or water from 2l bottles served in tiny paper cups.

    We didn't fly with them internationally thankfully (we had been warned off by friends who had flown J with them a few months before).
     
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  8. jastel

    jastel Member

    Jul 19, 2012
    382
    100
    Good info.
    Doing South America soon...the domestic legs are LATAM.
    But flying SYD - SCL on Qantas PE on DSC promo.
     
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  9. juddles

    juddles Established Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    3,988
    4,806
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    Latam now runs their domestic (and pretty much their short haul international) as an LCC - do not expect anything from them apart from getting from A to B.

    On long haul they are OK, but not great. As many have observed over the years, the staff seem to have a difficulty catering to non-spanish speaking pax. Before you think this is outrageous, try to look at staff on other airlines and how they manage those that do not speak their language. Latam is south american - the language there is spanish!

    Also, as a side issue, I know from very extensive experience (40 years now consistently plying the Chile - Australia route) that airfares these days are extremely cheap. What can you really expect when paying so little?
     
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  10. RooFlyer

    RooFlyer Enthusiast

    Nov 12, 2012
    12,695
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    I've flown LATAM quite a few times now, longhaul in J and domestic Chile and Peru and within Sth America in Y.

    I'm fine with the longhaul J and agree with @juddles re the language bit. Crew definitely more comfortable with Spanish speaking pax.

    Shorthaul I've never had a bad flight - never had high expectations which probably helped.
     
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  11. nonscenic

    nonscenic Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    156
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    Melbourne
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    I had no real problems on their domestic and short haul flights once on the plane. The problems were on the long haul so better that you are doing it on QF
     
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  12. Silvia

    Silvia Member

    Jun 7, 2018
    462
    38
    Melbourne
    I've done SCL-LIM several times on LATAM both in Y and J and to be fair, the service was good. In saying that, we went for a 787. Food has never been outstanding, but just adequate. Juan Valdez coffee available in both Y and J which is great.

    I have family in Peru, so also travel LATAM on peruvian domestic hops and they are OK. On an hour flight you usually get a snack box which is consistently good. No seatback IFE but for the hour hop, it's fine. I'd rank them in between VA and QF. Their snacks are bigger than what VA would offer on SYD-MEL/BNE hops.

    In saying that, even with LATAM the 787, it's a clear no brainer to still go for QF. Hard product in J is similar due to 2-2 configuration (QF provides this on the upper deck in J). Service, food and IFE is better on QF.
     
  13. nickfromeastryde

    nickfromeastryde Active Member

    Sep 25, 2010
    587
    207
    I've done MIA/DFW-BOG a dozen times in the last few years with either AA or LATAM mainly in J but a few times in Y. If possible I would pick LATAM everytime, generally newer aircraft (sometimes flat bed), better food and wine and service at least on par and I don't even speak Spanish!!! (I really need to try and learn).

    Quite a few domestic flights, nothing special but nothing particularly bad either. Agree more LCC like a Jetstar rather than a Qantas, I've had 3 long delays in the America's and they have all been AA.

    Have never done the SYD-SCL flight, always arrived via USA or Europe but sure to do so in the next couple of years and price will probably be the determining factor when I do make the booking though definitely in J
     
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