Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 269,302
2013: 330,818

Visiting the World’s Largest Airline-Owned Museum – the TAM Museum in Brazil

The TAM Museum has quite the impressive collection. You can go into the TAM Fokker 100.

The TAM Museum has quite the impressive collection. You can go into the TAM Fokker 100.

When I was invited to check out the Museu TAM (aka the TAM Museum, Museu Asas de um Sonho, or the Wings of a Dream Museum), of course I was excited. I was expecting to check out a facility that told the history of TAM Airlines and was mostly focused only the airline. I was surprised to find out that there were parts of the museum that focused on TAM, but really there was also a broader look at Brazilian aviation and aviation in general.

You can see the TAM MRO behind the museum

You can see the TAM MRO behind the museum

If you are a fan of airlines, military aircraft, or old war birds, you will find something of interest. Of course, if you like all those different things, then this is the place for you. The best part — it is open to the public to check out!

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Photo Tour of TAM Airlines’ Flight Attendant Training

TAM Airlines' flight training area - with pool

TAM Airlines’ flight training area – with pool

By now, I have been to a few airline flight attendant training facilities and I am always in awe with what is similar and what is different. What I liked most about TAM’s training facility was they let us get really hands-on with the experience. Not just learn about what their different training devices can do, but we got to experience them first-hand.

The outside of TAM's training facility located in Sao Paulo

The outside of TAM’s training facility, located in Sao Paulo

Although visiting an airline’s training facility can be quite fun for a visitor, there is no question that the facility is designed to train flight attendants on how to save lives.

Everytime I go to one of these facilities, I am reminded how flight attendants have complex  jobs. Many see them as glorified waiters and waitresses, but they are anything but.

My only regret for this trip — I didn’t bring my bathing suit for the pool!

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An Inside Look at TAM Airlines’ Uniform Shop

The different uniform choices in the TAM uniform shop

The different uniform choices in the TAM uniform shop

One large task of an airline is to make sure that all their employees are dressed properly. Typically, each position within an airline will have a different dress code. From the fancy outfits that flight attendants often wear to the more mundane look of those who work behind the scenes and away from passengers. They each have their purpose and it is quite the feat to make sure that every employee has a proper uniform.

The uniform shop is a three-story facility with employee lounge on the first floor

The uniform shop is a three-story facility with an employee lounge on the first floor

TAM Airlines has a specialty uniform shop, located in Sao Paulo, where all 22,000 employees can go and pick up their uniforms.  The process is quite the task.

The facility is unique in that not only do employees come in person, but the airline wants the uniform process to be a part of their culture. I was excited to see what it was all about — I had never seen a shop quite like it.

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Touring TAM Airlines’ Maintenance Operations in Brazil

A TAM Airbus A330 and A320 get worked on at the MRO

A TAM Airbus A330 and A320 get worked on at the MRO

The location of TAM Airlines’ Maintenance Operation Center (called “MRO” for Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) is in a unique location. It is not found at a major airport or even within a large city. It is located about three hours (by car) northwest of Sao Paulo (GRU) in the middle of farm land.

The facility used to be a tractor factory, with a runway built next to it to fly in the company’s parts. Turns out building your own airport and flying in parts, rather than shipping them via road, was not the best business decision and the tractor company went out of business.

TAM's maintenance facility is located about 15 miles from Sao Carlos

TAM’s maintenance facility is located about 15 miles from Sao Carlos

TAM saw this as a great opportunity to purchase the land and open their MRO. Large facilities already existed and, more importantly, a runway. So just over a decade ago, TAM opened up their MRO about 15 minutes north of Sao Carlos, a town of around 220,000. I was recently invited to check out the facility, and it was a semi-adventure just getting there.

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Flight Review: Flying Business Class on TAM Airlines

Getting off the TAM 777-300ER in Sao Paulo

Getting off the TAM 777-300ER in Sao Paulo

TAM AIRLINES BUSINESS REVIEW BASICS:
Airline: TAM Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (reg PT-MUI)
Departed: John F Kennedy Airport (JFK)
Arrived: São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Stops: None
Class: Business Class
Seat: 10A, no 10C, no 10H, no really 10C, heck why not 11G?
Length: About 8.5hrs

Cheers: The good customer service really made this flight stand out
Jeers: The product is old, but is in process of being replaced
Bottom Line: I hit some bumps, but still felt this was a good flight experience

The Business Class product currently on TAM's 777-300ERs

The Business Class product currently on TAM’s 777-300ERs

FULL TAM AIRLINES’ BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW:

I was recently invited by TAM Airlines to travel down to Sao Paulo to check out their operations. Of course, with any trip, one of the best parts is the flight – especially when it involves business class.

Previously, I had the chance to check out the interior of a new TAM Boeing 777-300ER, but I was excited to put the product and service to the test. My flight originated in New York at JFK and I ended up with a two-hour layover in JFK (was supposed to be four, but had a flight delay out of Seattle). I was a little bit nervous since I didn’t yet have a boarding pass for my TAM flight.

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