Review: LATAM Business Class 787 Santiago To Easter Island

Filed Under: LATAM

Santiago (SCL) – Easter Island (IPC)
Sunday, December 3
Depart: 9:30AM
Arrive: 12:55PM
Duration: 5hr25min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 4L (Business Class)

While our flight from Mexico City to Santiago was operated by a Boeing 787-8, this flight was operated by the slightly larger 787-9. Both planes have 30 business class seats, though the layouts are different, which is due to the location of the second set of doors. While the 787-8 has three rows of business class and then a cabin behind the second set of doors with two more rows, the 787-9 has a single business class cabin with five rows, in a 2-2-2 configuration.

LATAM 787-9 business class cabin

While the seats on the two planes are quite similar, there are some subtle differences, including the cabin finishes. Personally I prefer the red and grey finishes on the 787-9 to the orange finishes of the 787-8.

LATAM 787 business class seats

LATAM 787-9 business class seats

LATAM’s 787-9 business class seats are standard forward facing fully flat seats. However, they don’t have any sort of a privacy partition between seats, while the 787-8 does have a small partition.

LATAM 787-9 business class seats

Each seat had an ottoman, and then a storage compartment between the entertainment monitors, as well as storage underneath the ottomans.

LATAM 787 business class legroom

The seat controls were located between seats.

LATAM 787 business class seat controls

Then underneath the center armrest was a cupholder as well as the entertainment controller and outlets (both USB and 110v).

LATAM 787 business class entertainment controls

Each seat also had an individual air nozzle.

LATAM business class air nozzles

Already waiting at our seats on boarding were headphones, the same ones as on the previous flight.

LATAM business class headphones

About 10 minutes after settling in, the crew came by to offer pre-departure drinks, with the choice between water and orange juice. There were no pisco sours or champagne on offer this time. While the crew was okay, I’d note that they were significantly less charming than the crew on the previous flight.

LATAM business class pre-departure drinks

Once most passengers were settled in, the crew rolled a cart down the aisle with amenity kits, newspapers, and magazines.

While the flight from Mexico City had an awesome amenity kit, this one was simpler. That’s fair enough, given that this was a daytime domestic flight, so I’m surprised they had one at all.

LATAM business class amenity kit

The “kit” was really just a shoe bag, and had socks, eyeshades, earplugs, and a pen.

LATAM business class amenity kit

We passed on reading materials, though the flight attendant said “you should at least take this local magazine from Easter Island.” It’s cute that they have this on the flights, though it ended up being 90% ads.

Easter Island magazine

On the previous flight the crew distributed pillows and blankets after takeoff, though this crew distributed them before takeoff.

LATAM business class pillow & blanket

At 9:30AM the captain announced our flight time of 4hr30min, and informed us that we’d be delayed about 5-10 minutes on departure due to congestion. At 9:40AM the door was closed (all but one business class seat was occupied), at which point the crew turned on the mood lighting.

LATAM business class cabin mood lighting

The LATAM 787-9 at the gate next to us pushed back, and then moments later a Delta 767-300 pulled into the gate.

LATAM 787-9 Santiago Airport

Delta 767 Santiago Airport

At 9:45AM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video was screened.

Santiago Airport apron

Our taxi to runway 17L was quick, as we passed a bunch of LATAM narrowbody aircraft.

LATAM A321 Santiago Airport

By 9:55AM we were holding short of the runway. After a United 767 landed, we were cleared for takeoff.

United 767 landing Santiago Airport

Avianca 787 Santiago Airport

Taking off Santiago Airport

LATAM 787 Santiago Airport

We had a fairly long takeoff roll, and then a smooth climb out.

View after takeoff from Santiago

View after takeoff from Santiago

The scenery on departure was beautiful.

View after takeoff from Santiago

View after takeoff from Santiago

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff, and we dimmed our window shades given that we were flying straight over the ocean and wouldn’t have any more views for the next several hours.

Airshow enroute to Easter Island

Airshow enroute to Easter Island

LATAM 787-9 business class cabin

It seemed like many passengers in business class were connecting from redeye flights, since most people were quite tired. It took a while for service to get started. A full hour after takeoff the crew distributed warm towels.

LATAM business class warm towel

Then about 15 minutes later a cart was rolled down the aisle with breakfast. There were no menus, and the choice was between an omelet and a cheese and ham plate. Ford and I both selected the former.

The breakfast wasn’t especially good — the omelet was bland, the fruit cake (or whatever it was) tasted stale, and the fruit wasn’t especially ripe either. However, it was probably still the better of the two options, as the cheese and ham plate was tiny.

LATAM business class breakfast

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the meal service on this flight, and I’d agree that they should do better. This is a fairly small (and not very tasty) meal for a flight blocked at over five hours, and they don’t even have any sort of snacks for after the meal.

After the meal Ford and I both took a nap, since we were tired and wanted to hit the ground running on Easter Island. So with about three hours remaining in the flight we both went to sleep. I got a solid two hours of sleep, though remember being woken up briefly by an announcement asking if there were any doctors aboard mid-flight. That’s the last I heard of it, and I didn’t see any ambulances waiting on arrival, or anything.

I finally woke up just under an hour from arrival.

Airshow enroute to Easter Island

Airshow enroute to Easter Island

I ordered a coffee (which required pushing the call button twice — this crew wasn’t proactive at all) and watched a sitcom, and then at 12PM local time the captain announced that we would be landing in 25 minutes.

View approaching Easter Island

Before landing I visited the lavatory. The 787-9 also only has two lavatories in front of the cabin, and oddly has none by the second set of doors. As on the 787-8, the two lavatories really aren’t enough, especially since they’re also shared with the crew.

LATAM 787 business class lavatory

15 minutes before landing the seatbelt sign was turned on. Easter Island is tiny, so there’s nothing in the way of views on approach. The first time you see land is maybe 10 seconds before landing.

View approaching Easter Island

The little land we did see on approach looked gorgeous.

View approaching Easter Island

At 12:25PM we touched down on runway 10.

Final approach to Easter Island

Touchdown Easter Island

While Easter Island has a long runway, the airport otherwise is tiny, so we had to back taxi on the runway to get to the apron (though there’s no rush in doing so, given that only one plane can fly to Easter Island at a time).

Taxiing Easter Island

Taxiing Easter Island

Taxiing Easter Island

Taxiing Easter Island

The airport has a small apron that can accommodate at most two big planes, and we were the only one on the ground.

Arrival stand Easter Island

The airport has no gates, so you deplane by stairs, which we did at around 12:35PM.

787-9 engine

While I usually don’t like deplaning by stairs, there’s something that I enjoy about it at “tropical” island airports.

LATAM 787-9 upon arrival in Easter Island

LATAM 787-9 upon arrival in Easter Island

The walk to the terminal was short.

Walking to terminal Easter Island

Walking to terminal Easter Island

And the terminal was oh-so-cute. Easter Island only gets flights to Santiago and Papeete. LATAM’s Santiago to Papeete flight routes via Easter Island, which is such a cool route, and it’s why you see the “transit” signs below.

Easter Island Airport terminal

Easter Island Airport terminal

What a cute airport!

Easter Island Airport terminal

Easter Island Airport terminal

There were no sort of security checks on arrival (while Easter Island is part of Chile, I figured it might be similar to Hawaii where they ask if you’ve brought any fruit, etc.).

The airport has a single baggage claim belt, though since we only had carry-ons, we didn’t need to wait for any bags.

Easter Island Airport baggage claim

Outside the terminal we were met by a staff member from Explora, who transported us to the hotel.

Easter Island Airport exterior

Easter Island Airport exterior

I was so excited for the next few days!

LATAM 787-9 business class bottom line

On one hand, LATAM’s service between Santiago and Easter Island impressed me. They use 787s with fully flat beds, and the amenities are pretty good, including fantastic bedding and even amenity kits. The only part of the flight that didn’t impress was the service and the food. The breakfast they served was pretty low quality and also not especially filling, and the flight attendants didn’t do much to add to the experience. Then again, it seemed like they didn’t have much to work with.

  1. Call me old fashioned, I like the fully flat forward 2/2/2. Less privacy, yes, but it makes the cabin feel very spacious, my visual legroom matches the actual, if that makes any sense…

  2. @ Skaner — I used cash. Details on the cost are in the introduction post (I got a great deal originating in Mexico City).

  3. Should be corrected I believe. If I recall correctly, both seats have a small but useful partition under the armrest that pops up if desired. I just flew this route. And yes, the omlette is laughably bad.

  4. We had Pisco sour on our return trip at lunchtime so you can enjoy again soon. Plus a wonderful and engaging island to explore (but expensive). A great experience

  5. I will never fly LANTAM or Avianca. I’m still waiting for reimbursement for a business class ticket for a flight that was cancelled because of the Avianca pilots strike over 100 days ago. The customer service has been jaw dropping insulting and filled with (I’ll be polite) untruths.

  6. The trips to IPC from SCL are local flights (within the country) the level of service is very different as well as the food. It shouldn’t be because most of the passengers are non chilean tourists.

  7. Interesting I commented on the SCL -Easter Island – Tahiti service in a comment on the MEX-SCL service which was recently reviewed. Poor service and poor food. Assume the Easter Island to Tahiti is similar. A disgrace for international services. As they are the only carrier that operates this route twice a week I’m not surprised. Please correct me if the service between Tahiti and Easter Island is any different. The fares are outrageous unless you originate in MEX or some other Latin American airport.

  8. If you want to see how far the service has fallen on this route, on Flyertalk, look up on tfung’s First Class Oneworld Explorer trip report from 2001. At that time, Lan Chile offered three class service using a 767-300ER.

  9. @FE: Agreed, I also like these seats. In addition to the visual sense of spaciousness, they make for one of the largest and least restricting beds of any business class product.

  10. Lucky @Sam is correct on the 787-9 the armrest comes up to act as a small privacy partition for sorts that helps a lot when sleeping (next to a stranger)

  11. Sometimes I wonder about our expectations. The fare was $1150 for a total of 14 hours of flying in business class on two separate flights one way ( or 28 hours on 4 separate flights round trip) ending up in one of the most remote islands on the planet (in a FULL SIZED PLANE). And the omelet sucked.

  12. Yes, that is more representative of the service and food that I have come to expect as standard from LATAM. Poor by all international standards. My husband decided that poor service is more likely when the stewardess is not comfortable with your language, english. We have often observed them “minimize passenger contact” if that passenger cannot speak spanish.

  13. If this flight continued on to Papeete, and I’m assuming that to be the case based upon your report, I wonder if the meal was so skimpy because that flight is double catered from Santiago all the way through? Just a thought, from a flight attendant. But with no experience on the 787, yet.

  14. @ Mark Keinath — This particular flight didn’t continue to Papeete. This flight operates daily, while the Papeete flight operates at most twice per week, and this wasn’t one of those flights.

  15. We did the same LATAM itinerary (MEX-SCL-IPC) a couple of weeks ago. In the domestic lounge in SCL, I noticed a small sign saying that Chilean law prohibits serving alcohol in the morning (I think it said prior to 10am). My presumption is that’s why pisco sours/champagne weren’t offered pre-departure on the SCL-IPC leg, but they were on the other segments.

  16. Lucky, how did you book your flight between SCL and IPC? You mentioned in one of your other posts that cheap business class fares are available if you book via the LATAM Chile site. I tried to book other connections on LATAM via the Chile site, but it always gets hung on up on the payment page. Is there a secret to booking flights on the Chile site? I’m anxious, because we’re coming from Germany, visiting South America, and definitely don’t want to miss Easter Island wile also benefiting from the cheaper fare. Many thanks.

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