I have been very lucky to go and travel in South America with my other half for 4 months from Argentina to Colombia.
We flew Latam again because they were the cheapest reasonable option (without going to hard Low Cost) and we could claim Avios - perfect for our BA account!
Miles earned with this flight: 221 Avios
Status earned: 10 Tier points
Latam has an App that is well designed, user friendly and fast i must say: you can see your itinary, know your seats and luggage allowance at a glance, and of course download your boarding pass.
We arrived at Simon Bolivar airport (the libertador died in Santa Marta) by taxi and what a nice surprise we had when we saw the small and new airport is basically facing the beach!
There was barely anyone at the checkin counter so we headed directly there. The gentleman was efficient and professional, the whole process lasted about 5 min. We chose the basic tarif but paid online for checkin luggage.
We then went upstairs to the food court to get some food and again outside to eat on the beach! Awesome isn't it?
Going through security was extremly fast.
The airport seemed very new, well furnished, very clean and with a good amount of shops however there was no plugs to charge your phone or tablets.
We took a seat facing our gate, number 3, the plane was still on her way from Medellin.
All the announces for boarding were strangely just made in spanish and the boarding happened in groups (from 1 to 6). Like I said before, I am not sure this makes the boarding itself much more efficient, I guess it is probably an attempt to make the group 6 passengers bad enough that they'll hopefully spend a bit more money next time?
Our bird today was an Airbus A320-214.
The AvGEEK bit
Some of Latam A320s are equipped with either CFM or IAE engnes (Rolls Royce). Today our bird is with the most sold of these two the CFM 56. YOu can easily know it as specified by Airbus (A320-214), where the 1 stands for CFM56 engines equipped aircraft. CFM international is an engine designer and manufacturer, equally owned by American GeneralElectric and French Safran and headquartered in Paris. The name probably originates from the CF6 engine from GE and the M56 engine from Safran. The company produces the most ever sold engine in the world with 26,500 engines sold, more than 400,000,000 hours of service and currently in service on a bit more than 12,000 aircrafts. The CFM56-5B developed for the A320 family (from the small A318 to the stretched A321) has now more than 65% of market share, the engine is able of 98 to 142kN of thrust (the very similar CFM 56-7B is offered on the B737Ngs).
Aircraft: Airbus A320-214
Engines: 2x CFM56
Age: 7 Years
Layout: W45 Y174
Observation: with the new Latam livery
We quickly walked through the jetway to reach the plane, and after usual welcome from the crew, our seats. You can notice the captain didn't retract the flaps after landing from the previous destination…
The seats were clean and confortable, equiped with thick armrest and adjustable pillows however the picth is lower than average.
The crew seemed nice as they were smiling at multiple occasions. After push back we had the regular announce by the captain the safety procedures explained in the old fashion way by the crew.
We were taxiing for a short time up until the end of the runway, made a U turn there and took off directly after.
After take off and the seat belt switched off passed 10,000 feet, the crew quickly started their on board service.
I chose again the combo at 8,000 Pesos for a coffee and that very good muffin.
There was no IFE but Latams offers tv, films and programs to be streamed on your phone, it is called Latam play - the app you have to download prior boarding and once on board you need to connect to their wifi network (although this is not a wifi service per say, just to stream movies on your own device). The amount of movies/series/documentaries availble in 3 languages was quite impressive, especially if we compare with Joon or Air Canada rouge that have the same offer.The app also shows the instant location, altitude (37,000feet) and speed of the plane.
Latam magasine was offering a fair amount of travel ideas and surprisingly not too many add, like this article about Madrid.
The flight seemed fairly short and we started our short descent to Bogota (short as the airport is quite high in altitude)…
Approaching Bogota we fly over some very green landfields… Feels like somewhere in Switzerland or France for you too?
The airport was smooth and taxiing short however we waited in front of our gate for 15 min.
Bogota El Dorado airport has been voted the best airport in latin america for three consecutive years and rightly so. Everything was extremly clean, modern and in good condition, even the luggage reclaim hall that usually are the poor parents of an airport: very similar looking to Heathrow.
In conclusion a nice flight with Latam, good value for money. The airline seems to be the British Airways of Latin America however there is clearly a desire to improve the customer's experience as opposed to the former.