Browsing Tag: LAN

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.

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).

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.

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