Review: LAN Business Class 787 Madrid To Frankfurt

Filed Under: LATAM

Update: LATAM’s Madrid to Frankfurt route is being ended in June 2020, as the airline will fly nonstop from Santiago to Frankfurt.

I arrived at Madrid Airport Terminal 4 shortly after 1PM, plenty early for my 3:15PM flight to Frankfurt. I already had my boarding pass in hand (as it was printed when I started my journey), so I headed straight to security.

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Madrid Airport Terminal 4

Like many airports, Madrid Airport has a dedicated fast track security area, though it’s one of the best executed ones I’ve ever seen. It’s completely separate from the other security checkpoints, and almost felt like you were using a private checkpoint. There was no wait, and I was through in a couple of minutes.

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Madrid Airport Terminal 4 fast track security

Once through security I followed the signage towards the R Concourse, which the signs indicated was a 22 minute walk away. While Madrid Airport is beautiful, everything is so spread out. I can’t think of any other airport where it takes 22 minutes to get from the security checkpoint to a concourse in the same terminal (I’m sure there are some, but I can’t think of them).

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Madrid Airport signage

After walking a while I took the escalator down a couple of levels to the train.

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Madrid Airport train system

After a short ride I was in a further concourse, and then it was another 10-15 minute walk to get to the R Concourse. I briefly used the Iberia Lounge located in this concourse. I’ve reviewed the main Iberia Lounge before, and this one was significantly nicer. That being said, I was only there briefly, so won’t be reviewing it this time around.

Boarding was scheduled for 2:30PM, so I left the lounge at around 2:15PM, since I wanted to be among the first aboard so I could snap some pictures.

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Madrid Airport Terminal 4 airside

The LAN 787 had arrived a bit late from Santiago, so was still being catered.

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LAN 787 Madrid Airport

I saw the crew sitting in the gate area at R18, as the inbound crew was just deplaning.

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LAN departure gate Madrid Airport

I walked a bit further down the concourse, where I saw an Avianca 787 — another plane I really want to fly.

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Avianca 787 Madrid Airport

By around 2:30PM the gate area was packed and they began lining people up for boarding. They had a pretty good system, because business class boarded from one end of the gate, while economy boarded from the other end of the gate. What was smart about the system was that the queues went in opposition directions, rather than being next to one another.

When we hadn’t yet boarded at 2:40PM, the older German couple behind me was starting to lose it. All my family is from Germany so I certainly know how important punctuality is to them. And they were ranting about the situation. They were saying (in German, so I’m translating) how poorly organized boarding was, that the gate agents didn’t do any sort of preparation, etc.

My favorite was when the captain strolled up to the gate shortly before 2:50PM, and the husband said “he should be embarrassed by how disrespectful he’s being, this would never happen at Lufthansa.” Right, at Lufthansa they’d just go on strike a dozen times a year. Pick your poison. 😉

Finally boarding began at 2:50PM, starting with business class.

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LAN 787 Madrid Airport

LAN Chile 704
Madrid (MAD) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Sunday, February 14
Depart: 3:15PM
Arrive: 5:50PM
Duration: 2hr35min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 5L (Business Class)

The flight was being boarded through the mid-cabin door. LAN’s 787 business class consists of a total of 30 fully flat seats, spread across five rows, in a 2-2-2 configuration.

There were three rows of business class between doors one and two.

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LAN business class cabin 787

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LAN business class cabin 787

However, I was seated in the rear business class cabin, which features a total of 12 seats, spread across two rows.

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LAN 787 business class cabin

What’s sort of funny is that the cabin is extremely exposed, as there’s not a curtain between the two cabins. Instead there’s just a closet near the entrance and then some privacy partitions in front of row four. It sort of reminds me of the business class cabin mockups Boeing first used when they announced the 787.

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LAN 787 business class cabin

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LAN 787 business class cabin

The partitions were there to house the ottomans and entertainment screens.

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LAN 787 business class cabin

I assigned myself seat 5L. I saw that the flight was almost completely full, so I figured my best shot at an empty seat next to me was to choose a seat in the last row. And it worked.

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LAN business class, seats 5J & 5L

My seat featured an ottoman, with room to store shoes below it. Then there was an entertainment screen, as well as a coat hanger and a compartment for amenity kits or headphones.

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LAN business class, seats 5J & 5L

In the center area was more storage, as well as a magazine rack.

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LAN business class ottoman

The seat itself was a cloth material.

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LAN business class, seat 5L

The seat controls were located on the center armrest, and were easy to use.

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LAN business class seat controls

Then to the left of my seat were 110V and USB outlets, as well as an entertainment controller, headphone jack, and cup holder.

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LAN business class entertainment controls and cup holder

Waiting in that area were a pair of LAN branded headphones, which were reasonably comfortable.

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LAN business class headphones

The boarding process could best be described as both chaotic and efficient. The flight was full and everyone seemed to be confused about where they were seated.

Despite that, the excellent cabin crew came through during boarding to offer pre-departure beverages. The flight attendant serving me was a young Chilean guy, and he introduced himself as Cristian. He offered me water, champagne, or a Chilean cocktail (as he referred to it). I chose the cocktail, and it was delicious. I was also offered some mixed nuts with it.

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LAN business class pre-departure drink and nuts

By 3:10PM boarding was completed and the door was closed, and at 3:14PM we began our pushback. I got some odd satisfaction out of departing one minute early, after hearing the whiny passengers complaining about our “delay.” Too bad I wasn’t seated next to them. I also wondered how they were enjoying their flat beds, something else which would never happen on Lufthansa between Madrid and Frankfurt. 😉

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LAN business class mood lighting

The business class cabin was 80% full, with 24 of 30 seats taken.

We pushed back away from a Qatar Airways 787 a couple of gates down from us. Madrid Airport sure does seem to get a lot of 787s!

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Pushing back Madrid Airport

At this point the weather was rather nasty, with strong winds and dark clouds. As we taxied the flight service manager came on the PA to introduce herself. Interestingly she seemed to be the only female crewmember.

They were having some issues with screening the safety video, and on top of that it’s quite long. So we seemed to be taxiing especially slowly, as our departure runway was nearby and the safety video was holding us back.

My eyes were glued out the window at the other planes, including the Iberia A340-300 and A340-600.

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Iberia A340-600 Madrid Airport

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Iberia A340-300 Madrid Airport

As we turned away from the terminal, the sky suddenly looked beautiful rather than nasty, even if it was still full of thick clouds.

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Iberia A340-600 Madrid Airport

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Taxiing Madrid Airport

We made it to runway 36R at 3:25PM, and were immediately cleared for takeoff. Our takeoff roll was smooth, and we hit quite a bit of chop on the climb out, due to the thick clouds.

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Taking off Madrid Airport

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View after takeoff from Madrid Airport

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View after takeoff from Madrid Airport

Once above the clouds it was a much nicer day, and about 20 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. The friendly captain also came on the PA to add his welcome aboard, informing us of our flight time of 2hr15min, and anticipating the rest of the flight would be smooth.

I turned on the airshow to track the progress of our flight, and noticed we were at 40,000 feet.

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Airshow enroute to Frankfurt

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Airshow enroute to Frankfurt

I also browsed the entertainment selection, which was rather underwhelming. It featured a limited number of movies and sitcoms, and on top of that only seemed to have a couple of episodes of each show. Of course that’s hardly a problem for a short flight.

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LAN entertainment system

I ended up watching an episode of “Just Kidding,” which was fairly amusing. It was like the show “Just For Laughs,” except it had kids playing pranks on adults. The intro video was creepy, though:

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LAN entertainment system

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LAN business class entertainment selection

About 40 minutes after takeoff hot towels were distributed.

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LAN business class hot towel

Then about 10 minutes later the crew passed through the cabin with the cart to begin their meal service.

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LAN business class view as service starts

As is the norm on intra-Europe flights, there was no choice of snacks. Fortunately this one was right up my alley — it was a plate with salad and salmon, and was delicious.

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LAN Chile business class snack — salad, salmon, and cheesecake

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LAN Chile business class snack — salad with salmon

It was also served with some cheesecake, which was equally good.

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LAN Chile business class snack — cheesecake

I was offered a selection from the breadbasket, and could choose between white bread, wheat bread, or grissini.

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LAN Chile business class snack — bread and grissini

As Cristian offered me a drink he said “our sommelier recommends a chardonnay to go along with this meal. Would you like to try it?” I loved the recommendation, and followed his advice — it was excellent. I also had a sparkling water.

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LAN Chile business class water & wine

The crew came through the cabin two more times with the cart, both to clear plates and also to offer refills. Cristian was fantastic, and whenever I said “thank you” he’d say “it’s a pleasure.”

Once my snack was cleared I ordered some coffee with milk, which was served in a massive mug. I wish more airlines had mugs like LAN’s.

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LAN Chile business class coffee

After the meal I checked out the lavatories, which are located at the very front of the cabin (one on the right and then one by the cockpit). They’re quite small, though were in good condition. For that matter, the 787 lavs in general tend to be quite nice, at least compared to other planes.

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LAN Chile business class lavatory

While blankets aren’t generally proactively offered on intra-Europe flights, I asked for a blanket, which they were happy to provide. It was thick and duvet-like, and would have been lovely on a longer flight.

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LAN Chile business class blanket

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LAN Chile business class blanket

After finishing the shows I was watching I switched back to the airshow, where I noticed we were slowly approaching Frankfurt.

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Airshow enroute to Frankfurt

About 20 minutes before landing the captain came on the PA to give us updated arrival information, informing us we’d be landing at 5:25PM.

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Airshow enroute to Frankfurt

Our descent was quite smooth, despite the thick clouds.

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View on descent into Frankfurt

We passed Frankfurt and then turned back East to commence our descent.

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Airshow on approach into Frankfurt

We had some great views of downtown Frankfurt on our descent.

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View on descent into Frankfurt

We touched down on runway 18 at 5:25PM.

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View on final approach into Frankfurt

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Touchdown Frankfurt Runway 18

This is the furthest runway from the terminal (at least when you’re landing), so it was quite a taxi from there. After the flight service manager made her landing announcement they played some wonderfully relaxing piano music.

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Taxiing to gate Frankfurt Airport

Our taxi to our arrival gate took 20 minutes.

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Taxiing to gate Frankfurt Airport

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Taxiing to gate Frankfurt Airport

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TAM 777 Frankfurt Airport

We eventually pulled in next to a Turkish 737, for an arrival at 5:45PM, about five minutes ahead of schedule.

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Arrival gate Frankfurt Airport

Upon deplaning I had a great view of the LAN 787, thanks to the elevated arrivals hall at Frankfurt Airport.

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LAN Chile 787 upon arrival in Frankfurt

And from there I was off to the real highlight of my journey, as I’d finally be flying Oman Air!

LAN 787 business class bottom line

I should judge this flight based on two criteria — the actual flight I took (which was an intra-Europe flight), and the potential to take this flight on a longhaul flight, given that the plane usually flies longer routes.

For an intra-Europe flight this was unbeatable. Usually intra-Europe business class is just economy with a blocked middle seat, so this flight delighted in just about every year.

But what about as a longhaul flight? I’d say LAN’s soft product is fantastic. The flight attendants were great and the snack was delicious. As far as the seat itself goes, a forward facing fully flat seat is nice if you’re traveling with someone, but is less ideal if you’re traveling alone, since you could sit next to a stranger.

Ultimately LAN doesn’t have my favorite business class hard product, but if traveling with someone I think it would be very nice.

Overall I was very impressed by LAN Chile, and in particular by the service and food.

If you’ve flown the LAN 787, what was your experience like?

  1. You should fly Air Serbia (Etihad Partner). They have real Business Class Seats in their A 319 and A 320 Fleet

  2. Was able to get fly the 787 four times last year on a trip to chile. Sadly the 13 hour flight to Santiago from Madrid was in Economy, and even with a free middle seat it wasn’t the most comfy flight. But service & food was fab and all flights were on time.

    LAN is also flying the 787 to the easter island, and the Economy fare was more exensive then the C fare. Service for the 5 hour flight wasn’t that great, and the catering lacked a bit but being ill on both flights I was just happy to sleep with the thick duvet all time.

  3. I flew them on the 767 about five years ago, and this seat looks pretty much the same. The seat was totally fine, but it’s kind of disappointing that they haven’t made much effort to innovate or improve with the 787. Regarding the soft product, I remember the service being pretty blah (I flew Easter Island to Santiago, Santiago to Lima, Lima to Los Angeles). I guess it all comes down to the specific crew you get.

  4. “I wish more airlines had mugs line LAN’s.”

    I wish more airlines had mugs LIKE LAN’s.?

    Agree with what Alex said the non-schengen lounge is the main one.

  5. Lucky,

    Since it lookes like the LAN flight departed and arrived in the international concourses in both Madrid and Frankfurt, did you have to clear passport control at both airports? Since this is a fifth freedom flight, is it not considered a route in the EU and theirfore and international flight? I am scheduled to be on this flight in the next few months and want to know if I should allow more time at the airport to clear passport control, or is it not nessary? Thank you

  6. Great report! In my experience AMS is similar to MAD in taking 20+ minutes to walk to the gate, they even have walk times on the departure board to let you know how long the walk it.

  7. That seat looks great for an intra Europe but for a long haul flight, it looks pretty old and worn out. I’m not sure id like to sit on it for 6+ hours on a long haul flight.

  8. My husband and I flew business in the Lan 787-8 last year from Santiago to Madrid. As you mentioned in the review, the hard product was fine, traveling as a couple. However, it was the soft product that really shone. The food was excellent, and the wine was even better, with a quality mix of Chilean and Spanish reds (I’m sure the Chardonnay would have been good, as well). Like on your flight, the service was impeccable.

    We also flew the 787-8 in business on the shorter Santiago to IPC route. The food was similarly pleasant to what you got. The wine and service was also great.

    We’re looking forward to trying the Lan 787-9.

  9. The cocktail is a pisco sour from Peru but they always say it’s a “Chilean Cocktail”.
    I take this flight all the time, and I’m glad you liked it. The crew is always very good, I’ve never flown an airline (one that I use on a regular basis) that has so much regularity in their crews. Food is always good even if the cheese disappeared from the tray last august, and wines excellent.
    In summer they sometimes fly the 789 on this route. Imagine the same but with a much better hard product.

  10. Your flight definitely did not touch down on runway 18, which is a takeoff- only runway heading directly south (as the number suggests, directed at approx. 180 degrees) This runway can’t even be used for takeoffs in the opposite direction. As you came in from the east and noticed the distance to the terminal, your flight probably touched down on runway 25R (which is a landing-only runway, also to be used in opposite direction as runway 07L).

  11. “Usually intra-Europe business class is just economy with a blocked middle seat, so this flight delighted in just about every year.”
    every year?

  12. Would be interesting to hear the answer to Ted’s question above – I believe the R section in MAD is all behind the non-schengen passport control, so did you have passport checks upon arrival to FRA as well?

  13. Lucky actually you were landing on the “new” runway 25R which is around there since 2011. Runway 18 in Frankfurt is departure only while 25R is landings only except for B747 and A380.

  14. I’m pretty sure that this flight is classed as a non schengen flight as you can travel all the way from SCL-FRA without leaving the plane and they can’t distinguish between those who boarded in Madrid. Would be nice to know if this is the case.

  15. @Moritz
    “The cocktail is a pisco sour from Peru”

    No, it’s not. There is a Chilean version and a Peruvian version of Pisco sour which taste quite differently. On board LAN of course they serve the Chilean version.

  16. It feels very constrained with the center bins. Compare to Qatar’s airy and open feeling. Wrong decision, LAN!

  17. Dali may have been the most influential artist of his generation if not century. But he didn’t paint Las Meninas. Velazquez is the main lounge.

  18. Did those silly germans settle lucky?
    Omg the nerve of some foreigners seriously its starting to sound like bogota all over again.
    Im glad you got to frankenfurter ok

  19. Just flew SCL to AKL. The seats are exposed. If traveling with someone, not a big deal. If not, there is no real partition between seats. That said, the seats are HUGE for business class. As noted, the comforter is very nice; as is the pillow. If traveling with someone this is an excellent option.

  20. I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while now and cannot help but to make my first comment as I certainly know my way around Frankfurt Airport:

    “We passed Frankfurt and then turned back East to commence our descent.”

    Judging from the pic you were arriving from the West, passing the airport on an easterly heading and then turned back West.

    I also have to second my fellow commenters in that there is no way you landed on runway 18 unless there was a severe emergency. Judging from your pics again (as well as the long taxi to the gate) I guess that’s runway 25R.

    Keep up the great work. I really like the blog!

  21. Ben did you just access the fast track facility using your boarding pass or did you show your AAdvantage Exp card? Was just denied access to fast track despite holding business class boarding AND LATAM emerald card.

  22. I just recently took this flight as well, and I thought I’d answer the questions left here. 1) As a LANTAM Premium Business passenger, you do not have access to the Fast Track security as Barajas. If you have One World status though, you will likely be allowed through…but not just based on flying in business class alone. The lady at the security enterance said that LATAM does not pay for the service. 2) Yes, you do clear immigration and customs at Barajas and Frankfurt. The agents at Barajas just waived us through when we told them we were flying to Frankfurt. In Frankfurt, however, you are subject to the normal immigration and customs clearance. It’s not really a big deal, but it ads. I’m kind of surprised the customs procedure is not mentioned in this report, because for a MAD-FRA flight….it is abnormal procedure for sure.

  23. You had no problems to use the Priority Line? They told me that LATAM BUSINESS CLASS guests are not allowed to use it

  24. Dear Lucky,

    again thanks for the great website. Like the style and the compilation of images and text.

    Would have been happy to meet that German couple 🙂

    Let me add a valuable information for all aircraft enthusiasts and/or people flying between Frankfurt and Madrid.

    The website of the airline has (if I recall it correctly for 10+ years) very, very good offers for the Business Class. Especially in view of the seat pitch and 2-2-2 configuration.

    So it is a long time commitment of LAN Chile -> LATAM to make good offers on this leg of their longhaul operation.

    Much lower than Lufty’s Business Class savers on the route.

    Only downside is that you “loose” one day in Madrid due to the schedule.

    But I am convinced that this is worth. Also and especially for younger travellers to have more than a glimpse to a Business Class product and enjoy the flight to/from a weekend trip.

    Best regards


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