Chilean LAN Airlines is currently flying Boeing 787 between Madrid and Frankfurt. Although it was a short flight of just under three hours, it provided a comprehensive insight into the corresponding product, which is offered by LAN Airlines as “Premium” Business Class.
Check-in was smooth and uneventful. A separate security check for Business and First Class guests was also available. With mixed feelings, I made my way to the Iberia Lounge, knowing full well that the Spanish operator, which grants LAN Airlines lounge access to its guests, is not known for its high-quality lounges. However, this turned out to be the most pleasant surprise of the trip. The Iberia Lounge in Madrid is absolutely recommended! In addition to a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks, three warm dishes are also offered at the buffet three times a day, divided into breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Upon arrival at the gate, everything was already organized for a punctual boarding. The separation between Economy Class and Business Class passengers worked excellently. The flight was almost fully booked. I caught a glimpse of the beautiful Boeing 787 from the outside again. Anyway, from my personal point of view, LAN Airlines has one of the most impressive liveries of all airlines.
The crew greeted me in Spanish at the entrance door. My seat was in the last row of the Business Class by the window. I noticed the ample storage options for items. There are plenty of easily accessible compartments and shelves. However, this is nothing unusual in the corresponding class on a long-haul jet. Shortly after taking my seat, I was offered the obligatory welcome drink and a few nuts. Unlike with Middle-East carriers, they were served cold, though.
Time to take a closer look at the cabin and the seat. I noticed that the cabin seemed new and in impeccable condition, but not the seats. They looked significantly worn out, and if I didn’t know better, I could believe that they were taken one-to-one from the previous model, the Airbus A340, and installed here. Research has shown, however, that these are indeed original LAN Airlines 787 seats. In general, the “seat” product is not a visual treat. The screen is located at the end of the footrest, but the screen size is so small that I have no chance of reading the small menu text while sitting upright. The quality of the screen display is also below average.
The product is probably still competitive against direct competitors. LAN Airlines mainly competes against South American carriers and airlines in the US. However, the product cannot compete with an airline from the Middle East.
The cabin crew made a good impression. The service was attentive, but also with some drawbacks. Even after the third round, the cabin crew spoke to me in Spanish, even though I had always responded in English before. This did not change for the subsequent rounds either. I almost got the feeling that they didn’t want to speak English on purpose. A truly welcoming atmosphere definitely feels different.
On the three-hour flight, a cold catering was served via tray service. There was smoked salmon with a mixed salad, as well as bread and cheesecake for dessert. There was no warm meal or a food and drink menu. The quality and presentation of the catering were certainly adequate. Again, airlines from the Middle East score better than LAN Airlines in this regard. On three-hour flights (e.g. on Emirates A380), warm food was served in Business Class. However, I found the catering to be appropriate for this late afternoon flight.