Flight-Report

Review of LATAM flight Lima Cusco in Economy

Airline LATAM
Flight LA2021
Class Economy
Seat 2A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:35
Take-off 23 Nov 16, 09:55
Arrival at 23 Nov 16, 11:30
L2   #68 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 90 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 2904
Published on 22nd January 2017
Hello and welcome to the next leg in this series of Flight-Reports.

I had found some decent oneworld Business class fares to Peru over the Thanksgiving Holiday, which presented a perfect opportunity to go to Machu Picchu and check off one of those long-time bucket-list trips. Although LATAM had recently started non-stop flights between Washington-Dulles and Lima, the flights were not daily and the schedule did not fit my travel plans. I would therefore need to fly to Lima either via Miami or Dallas. The shortest travel time was via MIA, but the overnight MIA-LIM flight time is less than 5 hours, which does not give much time for sleep. So I decided to go through DFW–the 7 hour DFW-LIM flight would allow for more sleeping time so we could hit the ground running upon arrival.

Routing:

Washington IAD ✈ Dallas DFW | American Airlines, B737-800, Domestic First Class
Dallas DFW ✈ Lima LIM | American Airlines, B757-200, Business Class
Lima LIM ✈ Cusco CUZ | LATAM, A320-200, Economy
Cusco CUZ ✈ Lima LIM | LATAM, A320-200, Economy
Lima LIM ✈ Dallas DFW | American Airlines, B757-200, Business Class
Dallas DFW ✈ Washington IAD | American Airlines, MD-80, Domestic First Class

Upon arriving at LIM from the Dallas flight, we went through immigration, which was surprisingly quick. Literally right after the immigration desks, there is a duty free store with some pretty good prices from what i saw. Passengers are then directed towards two different paths–one leading to international-to-international connections on the right (i.e. international transit), and one leading to baggage carousels, customs, the arrivals hall, and domestic connections.

As my bag was tagged through to Cusco, I had assumed that after collecting my checked bag, I would go through customs and then put it on a belt for connecting baggage. I was thinking it would work similarly to international-to-domestic connections in the U.S., Australia, and many other countries, but it turned out there was no baggage "re-check" belt at all. We had to exit customs and check the bag again at the LATAM counter. I was slightly annoyed because I thought to myself…so what's the point of having checked the bag through to CUZ? But when I saw how small the airport was, I realized there was really no point to having a separate belt for connecting baggage–the LATAM counter was only a few hundred feet from the arrivals hall on the same level.

Check-in was quick using the Priority Preferente queue. The agent printed a new bag tag to CUZ and issued new boarding passes.

photo img_4172

Security was relatively quick, despite crowds. International and domestic passengers are directed to different security checkpoints. Standing in the domestic security queue, the majority of passengers around us were also American. I guess we weren't the only ones to think of coming to Peru over the Thanksgiving Holiday!

The domestic section of the terminal is very small, which made it feel even more crowded.

Location of the domestic flights wing:

photo lima airport

The domestic terminal is not particularly attractive. It looks like it hasn't seen any renovations since the 80's. Definitely could use a refresh.

photo img_6911

Despite Lima being a LATAM hub, there is no lounge accessible to LATAM passengers or oneworld Elites in the domestic wing. However, there is one very small lounge accessible to Priority Pass card holders.

The entrance to the Caral VIP lounge is much grander than the reality inside.

photo img_6910

And here it is. This is it…the whole lounge in one picture. Many living rooms are larger than this place!

photo img_4171

The snacks were very basic, with just cookies and chips, nothing terribly appealing. I just had some orange juice and did some work as we waited for our flight's boarding time.

As the tiny windowless lounge wasn't particularly interesting, we headed to the gate about an hour before departure to stretch our legs and do a bit of planespotting.

So crowded!

photo img_6912

Our flight was showing Llamada (call) at the gate when we walked past about an hour before departure. Don't really see the need to be at the gate an hour before in such a small terminal. Boarding is scheduled for a half hour before departure.

photo img_6914

Checking out the local birds as we wait. Unsurprisingly, the tarmac is dominated by LATAM (i.e. LAN Peru) and Avianca–two nice looking liveries. Too bad the LAN livery is being replaced by the boring new LATAM livery.



Boarding began on time at 10:30 AM. Passengers with a oneworld status of Sapphire and Emerald may board through the Preferente lane.

There is no Business class on LATAM domestic flights within Peru; however, Sapphire and Emerald passengers have access to "Preferential" seating in the first three rows and Exit rows free of charge.

photo seatmap lim-cuz la a320

Having boarded through the Preferente lane, we were among the first on board this relatively new A320.

photo img_6919

The cabin is modern and bright, though the dingy looking paper antimacassars with the new LATAM logo ruin the aesthetic IMO.

photo img_6920

The seat pitch is tight at just 30". The "Preferential" seats in the front do not have any more legroom than in other rows.

photo img_6921

The seatback contents are above the knee on these seats–surely allowing for more seats to be squeezed onto an aircraft.

photo img_6923

The presence of sharklets indicates that this is indeed a newer A320.

photo img_6924

We pushed back a few minutes early.

photo img_6926

The tail of an Airbus in the new LATAM livery can be seen poking above this Peruvian 737-400 as we push back.

photo img_6927

Lining up for takeoff.

photo img_6928

As we took off, I could see the city was covered in smog hanging in the air.

photo img_6929photo img_6930

Lima is a large city, stretching out as far as the eye can see. Too bad the smog makes it difficult to fully see the city.



The upscale Miraflores district of Lima.

photo img_6934photo img_6935

Look at all that smog!

photo img_6936photo img_6937

We turned back inland, heading towards Cusco and the Andes mountains.

photo img_6938photo img_6939

There are overhead IFE screens on this aircraft, but the best in-flight entertainment is the scenery from the window.



About 20 minutes into the flight, the very friendly crew began the in-flight service. The flight attendants all spoke English quite well, which is good since at least half of the passengers on our plane were American college students, most of whom made no effort to speak Spanish.

There was a choice of a sweet or salty snack. I went for the salty option, which was veggie chips, and tried an Inka Cola.
If you've never had Inka Cola, I don't really know how to describe it except that it tastes like very sweet bubble gum or cotton candy.

photo img_6943

Very similar mountains to those around Machu Picchu.

photo img_6944photo img_6945

During the flight, the usual "Just For Laughs" type of program was shown on the overhead monitors.

As we began out descent into Cusco, the screens switched to display the moving map.

photo img_6947photo img_6949

Beautiful scenery around Cusco



We got some great views of Cusco as we circled the city and overflew the airport to come back around towards the airport for landing.

photo img_6954

I knew Cusco was a decent sized city, but I was surprised that it was as large as it was as seen from the air.

photo img_6955photo img_6956

Maneuvering around a mountain on final approach to CUZ runway 28.



As we landed we sped past the terminal building where all gates appeared to be occupied.

photo img_6962

Right after we landed, the wind picked up and it began pouring rain as a storm passed through the valley.

As I had suspected, all gates were occupied so we just sat on the tarmac for about 10 minutes.

photo img_6964

Once a gate became available, we taxied to the Terminal where we parked and then….nothing. We just sat there. Even after the door was open, we continued to just sit there.

Eventually, the crew announced that the only gate available did not have a jet bridge and that we would not be allowed to deplane via air-stairs until the rain calmed down.

Meanwhile other planes were departing and arriving at the jet bridge-equipped gate next door :-/

photo img_6965photo img_6966

Finally, after about a 15 minute wait, the rain let up and we were allowed to deplane. I'm all for safety, but I think the ground crew were being a bit overly cautious. They must have known there were tons of Americans on board….they know we love to sue ^^

photo img_4173photo img_4174

Thanks for reading!

I'll leave you with a tourist bonus of beautiful and historic Cusco. Machu Picchu will be featured in the next report.

Cusco photos



Spanish colonial buildings built right on top of Inca ruins



Our Hotel, the Novotel Cusco, was in a beautiful Spanish colonial building

See more

Verdict

LATAM

7.1/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering7.0

Caral VIP Lounge (Closed)

4.8/10
Comfort4.5
Meal/catering4.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Services4.5

Lima - LIM

6.4/10
Efficiency7.5
Access6.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.0

Cusco - CUZ

6.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services5.5
Cleanliness5.5

Conclusion

An enjoyable short domestic flight with LATAM. Mostly thanks to the beautiful scenery throughout the flight and friendly crew. The seats are fine, but the 30" pitch is knee-crushing. Luckily, I'm not that tall at 5'10" (1m78), but I still felt cramped.

Information on the route Lima (LIM) Cusco (CUZ)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 5 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Lima (LIM) → Cusco (CUZ).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is LAN Peru with 7.2/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 23 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 382821 by
    757Fan 501 Comments

    Nice report, Kevin. I'd love to visit Peru sometime and I've had many friends that have been to Cusco and loved it! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your photos.

    Looks like you had a decent flight with LATAM. It's nice they serve a snack and a beverage on such a short flight!

    Best,

    Matthew

    • Comment 382884 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      HI Matthew, thanks for your comments!

      "I've had many friends that have been to Cusco and loved it!"
      - And all of your friends are right. You should definitely go. Prices from the U.S. to Northern South America tend to be reasonable in both classes these days.

      The service on a short flight like this is better than U.S. domestic service in Y, and the 30" pitch is also sadly the standard in Y in the U.S. So all things being equal, LATAM is a smidge better than U.S. domestic service.

  • Comment 382870 by
    Shisdu SILVER 648 Comments

    Thanks for this terrific report, Kevin!

    The domestic section of the terminal is very small, which made it feel even more crowded. 

    As far as I know, LIM handles a lot more passengers than SCL every year. If SCL is collapsing, I guess LIM is going to have serious problems very soon!

    Lima is a large city, stretching out as far as the eye can see. Too bad the smog makes it difficult to fully see the city.

    I’m not really fond of large cities, but my students at school are planning a trip for the end of this year and one of the possible destinations is Lima. I’m gonna show them your pictures.
    Am I right when I say I can see a mine near the city in one of the photographs? No wonder they have pollution problems!

    Beautiful scenery, indeed. And those wonderful colonial buildings... wow! Not much of that can be found in Chile. You know, Peru was an important Spanish colonial administrative center, and Chile was only a province. And then you have the earthquakes, that didn’t leave much.

    Definitely, a destination I will add to my travel wishlist. In fact, I should be ashamed that I haven’t visited Peru despite living so close to it!

    • Comment 382888 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      ¡Hola Nelson, thanks for all your comments!

      "As far as I know, LIM handles a lot more passengers than SCL every year."
      - Wow, I am surprised to hear that. Maybe for all airlines combined? But for LATAM, SCL has much bigger operations than LIM. Also, I believe the SCL terminal itself is much larger than LIM--not sure how they handle so much traffic at tiny LIM!

      "No wonder they have pollution problems!"
      - The smog was even worse on the return flight. Plus I cleaned up the photos so that you could see the city better, otherwise in their original format, it looks even more polluted! Yes, that is a big mine right on the outskirts of the city. I'm also pretty sure that Peru does not have the same stringent vehicle emissions regulations that we have in the U.S.--cars and trucks were creating a lot of that smoke/haze, from what I saw. I also think the fact that Lima is surrounded by mountains on 3 sides and has the ocean on one side traps the pollution over the city.

      " And those wonderful colonial buildings... wow!"
      - Cusco is like taking a trip back in time. So much Spanish colonial history and Inca history. I am a big history and architecture nerd (almost as much as I am an aviation nerd ^^) so I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture!

      "And then you have the earthquakes, that didn’t leave much."
      - That is unfortunate. But all those earthquakes and volcanoes are what make Chile so naturally beautiful I suppose. I am trying to plan a trip to Patagonia towards the end of this year!

      "I should be ashamed that I haven’t visited Peru despite living so close to it!"
      - I'm really surprised you haven't been! Especially since your national airline dominates Peru. No excuse not to go ^^

      • Comment 382912 by
        Shisdu SILVER 648 Comments

        I am trying to plan a trip to Patagonia towards the end of this year!

        That's amazing! Let me know if I can help.
        November is the best month. The weather in October can still be a little rough.
        Some ideas:
        http://www.australis.com/site/en/
        http://www.skorpios.cl/en/english/

  • Comment 382976 by
    NGO85 1624 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR Kevin!

    Interesting that they only let you pick the preferred seats, they don't let you pick anything outside of the first 3 rows or exit row? What if you really wanted Row 4? :P

    I think lounges are still something quite foreign to South America, can't recall ever seeing a good lounge any reports from airports there.

    Pretty standard domestic service offering. CM probably offers the best bang-for-buck in Y in South America, but the LA offering is on par with what we'd get back in the US. Paper antimacassars are still better than no antimacassars! Imagine what's on a headrest on a plane registered in the US?

    Fantastic aerials throughout the report, lucky to have such clear skies enroute! The approach into CUZ reminds me a lot of the one into UIO. Was the plane really shaky as the pilots handled the thin air?

    • Comment 382980 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      Thanks for your comments sir!

      "Interesting that they only let you pick the preferred seats"
      - No, you can pick any seat, it's just kind of hard to see it from the seat map. The blue seats are preferred, the white seats are available normal seats and the occupied seats have a faint red one of these ⊘

      "can't recall ever seeing a good lounge any reports from airports there."
      - Yep! I can confirm the lounge that LATAM uses in the international terminal is pretty crappy, though much bigger than this lounge. It's crazy that LATAM uses a third party lounge at a hub. I think the true LATAM lounges (SCL, GRU, MIA, etc) look pretty decent, though I've never been to one myself.

      "Paper antimacassars are still better than no antimacassars! Imagine what's on a headrest on a plane registered in the US?"
      - Hah! Yep...true! And eew, no, I'd prefer not to think about it :-P

      "Fantastic aerials throughout the report, lucky to have such clear skies enroute!"
      - Thanks! Well, except for the smog in the immediate Lima area.

      The plane was shaky yes, but I didn't know if it was because of the thin air or the storm moving in. Maybe a combination of both.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 383944 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR!

    Nice to hear immigration was quick.

    Stunning spotting shots!

    Pitch looks pretty tight but this is becoming the norm in A32X aircraft nowadays (LH is even worse at 29,1").

    Wow, absolutely fantastic aerial pictures! Truly breathtaking, I am speechless.

    Wonderful bonus, thanks for sharing.

    Have a good one, see you.

  • Comment 384012 by
    767 traveller 46 Comments

    Hi Kevin and thanks for such a nice report!

    LIM is indeed operating way beyond what it is supposed to handle. There are plans to build a second runaway and a new terminal however they were delayed due to typical Peruvian bureaucratic problems, but I think they are now under way, although they keep delaying the finishing date. LATAM doesn't have a lounge because there is literally no space. Nice you got a good crew... and those pictures are just amazing!

Login to post a comment.