I was heading to Paraguay in July 2023 for a business coaching meeting, and I was not initially planning to take a LTAM Premium Economy flight. However, I had to completely rebook the entire trip the very same day due to a delayed misconnection that would have happened with a different routing.
I ended up booking the flight for cash the day before departure, which set me back $506. The biggest bonus was a huge 9-hour layover in Santiago SCL airport, allowing me to sample the delights of the stunning LATAM VIP signature lounge, which I had access to as part of my ticket since my inbound was in business class.
Booking a LATAM Premium Economy Ticket
Overall, I found the booking process a breeze. The LATAM site has an excellent user interface simplifying booking and choosing seats. I also found canceling is also incredibly easy, as I had to do this for my previous reservations.
Having gone through the process twice, I found the site easy to navigate. When booking, I found that most of the Premium Economy cabin was pretty empty, with mostly window seats available. Once my booking was complete, I received a check-in link via email. After following the link and completing my check-in, my digital boarding pass was issued automatically, and it is accessible via the web or on your phone.
The Santiago SCL Ground Experience
If you enjoy walking, then Santiago SCL is the airport, and while my experience on the ground was smooth and fluid, it involved lots of walking both when arriving and departing. Arriving off my flight from JFK, I had a very long walk to finally arrive at the transit/transfer Check-In, where I received my boarding pass.
After finally making it to the Santiago SCL Terminal 2 check-in desk, I found the staff was friendly and excellent and acknowledged my Delta Diamond status as they handed me my boarding pass a full 10 hours before my next flight. The process was smooth; I only needed to hand over my passport and reservation code.
Armed with my boarding pass I headed through transit security and made my way through the central concourse towards the LATAM VIP Signature lounge. The main concourse has many shops and amenities, including a Duty-free zone and lounges.
As I later headed to the C concourse to board my flight, I found many concourses with nothing, no shops, amenities, or anything else, just long, long corridors! If you are transiting through Santiago SCL, I would budget 15-20 minutes, either way, to get off your flight and get to the gate for your next one.
The LATAM VIP Signature Lounge and Boarding
I can only repeat what I said in my review of the LATAM VIP Signature Lounge that it is one of the best Lounges I have ever visited. It is easily on par with the Oman Air First Class Lounge in Muscat, The Majan Lounge, and the JAL first class lounge at Tokyo Haneda HND.
The lounge is accessible to LATAM Premium Economy passengers, as well as Delta Diamond Medallion travelers and other LATAM premium passengers.
The boarding was smooth but long. My boarding pass said it commences at 2:00 pm, so I did the smart thing and left the lounge at 2:05 pm. After one of the above-mentioned long walks, I finally showed up at my gate at 2:20 pm.
However, boarding did not start until 2:35 pm, and it took quite a while to get everyone on with boarding finishing and the door closing at 3:15 pm.
The LATAM Premium Economy Cabin and Seats
LATAM Premium economy is very similar to intra-European business class on many European airlines. However, while in Europe, business class means you get a little better service, and the middle seat is never sold, LATAM takes its premium economy a step further.
Premium economy consists of three rows of three seats at the front of the aircraft. Although there is no curtain or separation from the aircraft’s main cabin, these seats have extra legroom. The front overhead bins are reserved for premium economy travelers.
However, like European business class flights, no amenity kit was offered on this flight.
Overall I found the cabin tones and décor elegant and classy, with some nice finishing touches.
LATAM Premium Economy: Seat 2A
LATAM equips its premium economy with Recaro seats, a contender for my least favorite seat. However, these felt slightly better padded than most others but still awfully uncomfortable.
The color palette is a pleasant mix of black, gray, and royal blue leather that blends well and compliments the cabin décor. The seats offered plenty of legroom, and thankfully, there were no boxes or devices under the seat in front of you interfering with your space.
The seat has one power outlet and two USB ports, what they do and how good they are I cannot tell you. Since none of the three were activated during the flight. Seat controls were limited, with one push button allowing you to recline your seat slightly.
The Inflight Entertainment & Wi-Fi
LATAM has an interesting IFE system onboard this aircraft. There is no physical system with a screen in the back of the seats in front of you. Instead, you can connect to the plane Wi-Fi with your device and access movies, readers, kids’ entertainment, and a survey system.
I noticed that the kids’ section was immense, with tons of content to keep the young ones occupied if you are traveling with children. Connecting was relatively easy and straightforward, and I had no issues accessing the IFE.
While the aircraft has a WI-FI network that operates gate-to-gate to access the IFE, it does not provide internet access, so if you need to work on some documents and such, make sure you download them and have them on your local drive before boarding.
Once we were seated, we waited a little for the British Airways flight to London at the gate next to us to leave first. As we headed along the taxiway, I was instructed by a crew member to move my under-seat bag to the overhead. The takeoff was smooth, although it was a super smoggy day in Santiago, resulting in some terrible views.
After take-off, we headed south before heading counter-clockwise. Soon after departure, we crossed high over the first part of the Andes. About 10 minutes later, we crossed the second, even higher part of the Andes. This was the most turbulent part of the flight.
From the moment I boarded, the crew was friendly and professional. I was spoken to in Spanish and thanked for something I didn’t quite get. The flight attendant told me to tell them if I needed anything and always to ask.
I am pretty sure the extra friendly treatment was tied to my Delta Medallion status since Delta Medallion customers were specifically announced as welcome on the flight.
LATAM Premium Economy Meal Service
LATAM Premium Economy travelers have a meal service included with their ticket, although unsurprisingly, there were no pre-departure drinks. Soon after take of the service began, it was First prepared on the cart and then brought individually to each passenger.
First, some Chips were distributed – colored potato chips with salt. It seemed like a reasonably healthy option, advertised as natural, gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free. This was followed by a sandwich made of bread, ham, cheese, and greens, although it mainly tasted like bread, with only one piece.
The meal was accompanied by a sauce that looked mayo-like with some added greens) came in a covered dish to the side. I added this sauce to the sandwich and also used it for dipping my chips.
Dessert was also forthcoming; it seemed like Strawberry and Cheesecake flakes in a glass cup.
Overall, the meal Meals were good, quality, and what I expected from flying today. I would not say great, but not bad either; sadly, the food quality was average.
One thing I noticed that seemed replicated from my earlier long-haul LATAM flight from JFK to Santiago was that the food was very light, and I was expecting more quantity, especially for a $506 USD ticket.
In my humble opinion, and I could be wrong, all of the meals seem somewhat inspired by flying on Delta; they have a similar concept, service, and product quality.
Arrival at Asuncion
The Descent into Asuncion ASU began early, around 5:05 pm, with an expected landing at 5:25 pm. We landed at and disembarked at Gate 2 in Asuncion’s tiny airport – it only has two baggage reclaim belts.
I picked up my bags and was through immigration in no time. In front of the airport, there is a small pick-up and drop-off area. My Uber came in about 5 minutes, and the ride to my hotel START Villa Morra.
Overall, my experience was excellent on LATAM Premium Economy. It was very good for a short flight that left and arrived on time. While the Recaro seats are a little bug bear for me, these were comfortable “enough” for Recaro Premium Economy seats.
My biggest irritant was the lack of WI-FI since I like to catch up on work when flying. However, this was a short enough flight where it didn’t matter. Overall, I would not hesitate to fly LATAM Premium Economy again!
- Relatively easy boarding process.
- Friendly crew.
- Decent seats.
- Clean cabin.
- Not a fan of Recaro seats; this was no exception. Although these might be the best Recaro seats I have used.
- Power outlets and USB ports were not working for the whole flight.
- No WiFi