Hello again, this time I write to you from my third country of the day, In Frankfurt Germany, on the previous report we had just left our BA 767 after arriving from London, the very same afternoon I flew to Frankfurt on one of Europes hidden treasures, formerly LAN, Know branded as LATAM, you may recall I’ve previously covered this route, however there were differences to the service this second time so I thought I’d do a report anyway, plus you could argue it’s a new airline.
In what unfortunately is a theme to this series of reports I began with a poor start, having arrived on an early flight and been on the go since 3am UK time I head straight to the lounge after clearing security, despite having arrived from the UK? Upon entering the T4S satellite terminals main concourse I head for the lounge, only to be turned away! Let’s remember I’m flying in a premier cabin on a oneworld carrier with lounge access included as part of the fare, however I’m told that due to renovation works I cannot come in as only Iberia passengers may enter before 1pm, and I’m not in the same boat, in the short time I witnessed a total of three people told the same thing, all sent on our way to slum it in the terminal with a refreshments voucher and a voucher for the already free wifi, so I find myself a quiet spot on some not so comfortable chairs and write my report for the earlier BA flight before heading back to the lounge where this time I was permitted to enter. The Iberia T4S lounge in Madrid remains one of my favourites, although half was closed for refurbishment. I grab some snacks and cool drinks before relaxing with a window view for the next couple of hours.
Time in the lounge passes a lot quicker than it did in the concourse and before long I sort myself out and head to the gate, where boarding is just about to begin, after a short wait I’m invited to board along with the other business and status passengers, as I make myself comfortable onboard in the lightly loaded business cabin I’m offered a welcome drink and some nuts, this is where I notice the first service tweak, gone are the options of welcome drink from last time, which included a rather nice pisco sour, today just champagne and water are offered, I go for the champagne which is served with some nuts, which this time aren’t warm as they were the last time. I also notice that the senior member of the cabin crew who is working in the cabin today is making a point of telling people she doesn’t speak English, overall the crew are good but not the exceptional level as last time out.
Departure time comes and goes and we eventually depart fifteen minutes late, although no reason or apology is given. Once boarding is completed I notice I have no neighbour, in fact there are only two of us in the entire row, so with this I fire up the map on the seat next to me. it’s a short taxi out towards 36R today before we make a powerful takeoff before turning right and onto a course for Germany, avoiding some of the thunderstorms around the airport as we climb.
Despite the storms the climb to cruise at 40000 feet is smooth, and as the seat belt signs go off I recline the seat and leg rest (the seat itself will go fully flat as I tested on my previous flight aboard the 787-8 which has the same interior. With my second screen displaying the map I opt for a film, 21 Jump Stree provides an amusing and well timed distraction on this flight of around 2 hours 15 minutes this afternoon. It’s also worth noting LATAMs IFE system provides a good amount of content, and certainly enough to keep you entertained on a flight to South America, in fact it features several very recent full box sets of popular TV shows such as House of Cards along with plenty of films, although the music selection was a bit different from my previous flight, no artists, only playlists by genre.
As I enjoyed my film in the spacious comfort of my seat the meal was served, it would have however been nice to know what I was eating rather than just having it set down in front of me, I gathered it to me some kind of stuffed chicken salad plus a custard based desert, with the later being better than the main, I was recommended a wine, which oddly was red which I thought to be bizarre to complement the chicken, but it was nice enough anyway, after the tables had been cleared a second drinks round was offered and I took a coke.
By now we would be well into the flight and overhead Paris, which gave some excellent views of the city and CDG.
Sightseeing over I went back to my film, and descent started a short while later, however the seat belt signs came on incredibly early, in fact we had 188 miles to run and still above 20000 feet, which seeing as I needed to use the toilet meant a quite uncomfortable end to the flight. Descending over German airspace towards Frankfurt the skies remained clear and the Captain made a short PA in very broken English about our ETA and weather etc.
Landing this evening would be on 25R, which annoyingly results In a rather long taxi to the gate, and had I been on the right off the aircraft I’d have seen the skyline of Frankfurt, but on the left I was treated to some just as good views of FRA as we made an dint in the Tarmac almost with a very heavy landing before rolling out and making the length journey to our gate which was at the furthest end of Terminal 1.
After arrival I was able to make my way off quickly via L2 and had time to contemplate and compare the service today against my previous expirience just over a year ago, and my conclusion is this, despite small yet noticeable service cuts LAN/LATAM still provides a great service on this route, and for excellent cost, I’m more than happy to enough to share the fact I paid less for this Business flight than I did for the Lufthansa flight I’ll be taking back to Madrid in economy, both booked on the same day, I’m also,told even in economy on LATAM the service is still comparable to the likes of LH, yet for me the thing that makes the biggest difference is the aircraft, in fact I saw a couple of guys from the BA flight on this flight and though only someone who enjoys this kind of thing would go so out of the way to expirience this flight, so in the unlikely event you folks are watching I hope you enjoyed your flight.
I’ll round off this trip report from Frankfurt city centre, after a 15 minute train ride to the city I arrived in the swealtering heat of a German summers day and headed off to the Hilton Frankfurt City, which will be my overnight halt.