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2015: 290,939
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,212,540


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Flying LAN’s New LATAM Premium Business Product on a 787-9 Dreamliner

A LAN 787-9 Dreamliner landing at JFK - Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

A LAN 787-9 Dreamliner landing at JFK – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

I think the most common question people have about flying premium cabins on overnight flights is “can I sleep?” When recently flying from New York’s JFK to Santiago, Chile (SCL), in LAN’s business class on the 787-9 Dreamliner, I was hoping to check out the amenities, but I was also looking to sleep. This was to be my first 787-9 flight and it was CC-BGC, which was delivered to LAN on June 25, 2015, just 25 days before my flight.

Maybe it’s just me, but I generally find that for a true overnight flight, under twelve hours, I am concerned about exactly one thing: is the seat flat? Do I care about the service? Sure, but I rarely get a chance to partake, as I am typically asleep until 90 minutes before landing to get ready for the new day and eat breakfast.

This makes reviewing hard. I want to say so many amazing things about LAN because they are fantastic, but short overnight flights always make me feel like I missed out on something.

LATAM's harmonized business class product was designed by Priestmangoode and features a 2-2-2 layout - Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

LATAM’s harmonized business class product was designed by Priestmangoode and features a 2-2-2 layout – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

LAN is a tenant of Terminal 8 at JFK (American Airlines’ home) – because of this, the only premium lounges in Terminal 8 (save the Flagship First room) are regular Admiral’s Clubs. While LAN Premium Business customers are entitled to a free alcoholic beverage, that says nothing of the food.

In LAN’s beautiful Santiago lounge, this would not be a problem. In the Terminal 8 Admiral’s Club, the only food on offer are tiny cups of soup, some oddly rubbery cookies, and suspicious looking cheese. Could a LAN flyer purchase something more substantial? Yes, but the thing is, I have had too many of the $11 Admiral’s Club paninis. They are, to put it gently, not what you would expect from food in a seemingly premium environment.

But, when I was able to board my 787-9, things were completely different. Continue reading Flying LAN’s New LATAM Premium Business Product on a 787-9 Dreamliner

North America & Frontier Says Goodbye to the Babybus – Airbus A318

An Air France Airbus A318. Photo: Thomas Becker.

An Air France Airbus A318. The airline is the world’s largest operator of the A318. Photo: Thomas Becker

The last Airbus A318 operated by a North American airline has exited service. The A318, sometimes affectionately referred to as the “Babybus,” is the smallest member of the Airbus A320 family. Weighing nearly the same as its larger brother, the A319, and operating with the same crew requirements, the economics of operating the A318 in North America just didn’t make sense. The similarly-sized Boeing 737-600 has largely suffered the same fate (although WestJet still operates a fleet in Canada).

Continue reading North America & Frontier Says Goodbye to the Babybus – Airbus A318

Photo Tour of LAN Airline’s Maintenance and Training Facilities in Santiago

LAN's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their Maintenance facility at Santiago.

LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their maintenance facility at Santiago.

Back in the day when the Boeing 787 was allowed to fly, I took LAN’s first 787 delivery flight from Everett, WA to Santiago Chile. During my short stay, I was able to tour their maintenance and training facility and I wanted to share what I was able to explore.

Boeing 767s get winglets installed.

Boeing 767s get winglets installed.

LAN has been going through a huge undertaking of upgrading their older Boeing 767s to each have winglets to increase their fuel efficiency. When LAN started the process, it would take them about 49 days to install the winglets. More recently,it only takes them two weeks.

Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.

Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.

One of the most interesting aspects was using old-school white boards and papers to keep track of where each aircraft is at in the maintenance process. At first, I couldn’t imagine why they wouldn’t upgrade to computers, but their process absolutely works for them and why fix something that is not broken?

The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.

The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.

Typically, it takes about 12 hours to replace a Boeing 767 engine and only nine hours to replace one on an Airbus A318.

Engine

P&W4000 engine being worked on.

LAN is able to re-work up to ten engines at a time and the shop runs 24 hours per day, six days per week.

This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.

This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.

I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).

I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).

CAE training facility in Santiago.

CAE training facility in Santiago.

LAN does not operate their own flight simulators or crew training, but outsource to CAE, which is located directly next to the airport.

You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.

You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.

These may look like fun (I wasn't allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.

These may look like fun (I wasn’t allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.

Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.

Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.

A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.

A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.

Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.

Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.

Was able to sit in on two current pilots who were doing additional training on the Boeing 767. They just had one engine go out during landing and had to react appropriately — we all made it.

CHECK ALL 41 PHOTOS OF THE MAINTENANCE / TRAINING FACILITY

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

Taking LAN’s Boeing 787 Delivery Flight to Santiago PART 3

Before landing at SCL, we did a fly-over the airport. Photo by Lucas Frenk De Matos.

Before landing at SCL, we did a fly-over the airport. Photo by Lucas Frenk De Matos.

This is the third and final installment on LAN taking delivery of their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In PART 1, I shared what happened before the delivery, in PART 2, I talked about our flight and this part will wrap things up. In the near future, I will be sharing my thoughts on Santiago, giving a photo tour of LAN’s training facility and giving a review on my 767 flight back to LAX. 

I should have been groggy with only four hours of sleep after twelve hours aloft, but the excitement of landing in a Dreamliner had me wired. I was told that we were going to fly over the airport before landing. I tried to predict what side of the airplane would face the airport and chose the left side: Darn it, the airport was on the right side. Oh well; win some, lose some.

As the plane landed, I could see hundreds of people surrounding the airport to catch a glimpse of Chile’s first Dreamliner landing. It was exciting to see so many people excited about seeing a 787 for the first time.

When taxiing to our gate, AvGeeks were not the only ones to welcome; there were also a few hundred airport employees who came out to the tarmac. I felt like a super star.

You can't have a celebration without a water cannon salue. Photo by Lucas Frenk De Matos.

You can’t have a celebration without a water cannon salute. Photo by Lucas Frenk De Matos.

A proper welcome would not be complete without a classic water cannon salute. The picture above shows two nicely working water spouts, but unfortunately by the time the plane got to the fire trucks, something went wrong with the left one and there was no water shooting out. That is alright; I still felt plenty welcomed.

BONUS: VIDEO OF LAN’S BOEING 787 LANDING IN SANTIAGO

I arrived at the gate and a bunch more folks surrounded the aircraft on the ground. There was no ceremony at the airport, which was fine with me. Mostly because I wanted to get the hotel and take a much-needed shower. The Dreamliner is a great aircraft, but 12.5 hours flying economy on any plane can be tiring.

Chilean mountains and a curved wing tip -- what more does one need?

Chilean mountains and a curved wing tip — what more does one need?

Now for the big question: is the 787 that much better? To be honest it was hard to tell at the time. Boeing promotes the 787 as having lower pressure and higher humidity to lessen the effects of jetlag. Sure my nose wasn’t that dry and I actually felt okay for a 12.5 flight, but it wasn’t super obvious. It took flying home on a Boeing 767-300ER a few days later to fully realize how the 787 Dreamliner is actually different.

Even though I flew Business Class home and kept myself better hydrated, my nose was dry and I got a headache. Boeing might be on to something here.

The overhead bins on the 787 were another feature that I didn’t fully appreciate until flying home on the 767. My carry-on (which is border-line too large to be a carry-on) easily fit in the 787 bin in economy. But I had to remove some items from my bag to squeeze it into the 767 business class bin.

LAN's 787 at the gate after we landed. People from around the airport came to check her out.

LAN’s 787 at the gate after we landed. People from around the airport came to check her out.

Previously, I have made fun of the LED lights. Mostly because Boeing, airlines, and media tout it as some revolutionary concept when really LED lights could be retrofitted into any other aircraft. But I do see there are some real benefits. Not only do they provide a great party atmosphere, but they also have the ability to slowly change the color settings. With the crew having full control over the windows and the lights programmed to slowly transition, it really allows passengers to feel the different stages of service. Again, not a huge thing, but these little things add up.

Another surprise was how spacious the cabin. The interior of the 787 seemed more like a Boeing 777 than a 767. Yes, the 3-3-3 layout in economy is a bit tight and if I had seatmates in my row, it would have been a pretty painful experience. I was told that LAN made this decision since they felt their service and product would make up for the skinnier seats.

And that wing; that amazing wing. No joke, airlines should put a notice under each window saying, “yes, the wing is supposed to do that.” At the beginning of the flight the wing was filled with fuel, so the arch wasn’t as obvious. As the fuel burned and the wing became lighter, it was quite obvious. Add turbulence to the equation and you really get a show. Sure, it might be a bit scary for those who are not used to it, but for those in the know it is truly beautiful.

Is it worth going out of your way and maybe spending a bit more to fly on a 787? I say absolutely. LAN should feel very proud to offer this new product and I cannot wait for my next flight.

ALL 120 PHOTOS OF THE LAN 787 DELIVERY:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/airlinereporter/sets/72157631357966990/

A special thanks to Lucas Frenk De Matos for letting me use his arrival photos and to Sebastian Gomez for reaching out to me about the photos.