Review of LATAM flight Asunción Sao Paulo in Premium Eco

Airline LATAM
Flight LA1301
Class Premium Eco
Seat 2A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:10
Take-off 25 Feb 21, 18:35
Arrival at 25 Feb 21, 20:45
LA   #57 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 158 reviews
DiegoSS02
By 744
Published on 28th February 2021

INTRODUCTION


Hello! I am very pleased to introduce another flight series to this site, even more being in the COVID-19 era. After years of planning, I decided to move to Rio to pursue my college degree. With scarce options due to the pandemic, I had no other choice but to fly LATAM, which currently has a monopoly on travel between ASU and Brazil. It's worth noting that this was my first flight ever in short-haul Premium Economy; as a result, I was really looking forward to it to see how it compared to long-haul W. The routing is the following:


Routing


BOOKING


I booked the flights using LA's site. At the beginning, I had the intention of booking Economy, which offered four different fares: Basic, Light, Plus and Top. Only the two latter options included 1 and 2 pieces of baggage, respectively. As I planned to carry a considerable amount of baggage, Top was the best option, but an expensive one. After browsing for options, I was surprised to see that Premium Economy, introduced by LA years ago as a replacement for regional Business, was slightly cheaper than the Y Top fare, and included 3 pieces of bagagge. I didn't think twice and booked both segments in W.


AT THE AIRPORT


My dad was kind enough to drive me to the airport, where we arrived around 14:25, as LA recommended to get to the airport 4 hours before the estimated time of departure.


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As usual during these pandemic times, sinks where located right at the entrance.


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After entering the check-in hall, I could see it was refurbished last year; elevators were added and the check-in counters were entirely new. Despite advising being there 4 hours before the flight, the LA counters were not open yet. It took around 15 minutes for the agents to start admitting passengers. As I had priority when travelling in W and already had done online check-in, I only needed to dispatch my baggage. Currently, Brazil asks for a PCR test done at least 72 hours before entering the country, and an online health declaration. Both these documents were required at the check-in counter.



After dispatching my baggage, I cleared customs in less than ten minutes, as there wasn't any line. As I kept walking to the airside, I was astonished to see that I was practically the only person there. Also, most stores and shops were closed. Because of the pandemic, ASU now recieves a average of only 3-4 flights per day. For example, LA's ASU-GRU route went from 2 daily to 3 weekly flights because of the coronavirus. 


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Logically, the apron was deserted.


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Departures board. Only two flights remaining for the day!


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My machine-generated boarding pass.


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I spent the next two hours at the only open café at the airside. Normally, I would have been granted access to a lounge, but all of them are currently closed. At around 17:15, my plane arrived from Santiago de Chile. It was PR-MAK, an A320-200 introduced to TAM in 2002.


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BOARDING


- Airline: LATAM (LA)
- Aircraft:
Airbus A320-200
- Registration:
PR-MAK
- Age:
19 years (2002)
- Scheduled time of departure:
18:35 (ATD 18:44)
- Scheduled time of arrival:
20:45 (ATA 20:28)
- Flight duration:
02:10 (Actual duration: 01:44)  
- Take-off from runway:
20
- Landing on runway:
09R


The boarding process started at 18:00 at gate 2, with priority and W passengers boarding first. At the front door, I was received by two warm flight attendants.



I made the way to my seat, 2A. Despite being 19 years old, the plane's cabin looked brand new because of a recent refurbishment. The seats were RECARO slimlines. In the W cabin, the middle seat was blocked, just like in European J. The W and Y cabins were separated by a mobile partition. There were 3 rows and 12 seats in the Premium Economy cabin. In this flight, the W cabin was full, with a 100% load factor. Overall, I estimate the flight was 80-90% full, an extraordinary occupation rate by pandemic standards.


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View from my window.


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The only content available in the seat pocket was the safety card. I guess the Vamos magazine was discontinued during the pandemic to avoid COVID-19 spread by touching surfaces.


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There were power outlets located below the front seats.


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The pitch was 34 inches, enough to fully extend and even cross my legs. 


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After boarding was completed, the jetway was retracted.


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FLIGHT


After 30 minutes, we started pushback. Despite the A320 having overhead screens, the safety demonstration was done manually by the FAs.



Afterwards, we started taxiing towards runway 20.



Inmediatly after getting on position, the throttles were pushed back and in seconds we were airborne, 14 minutes behind schedule.



During the initial climb, we could see Asuncion's suburbia and the nearby Ypacaraí lake.



Climbing to FL330 while overflying the Paraguayan countryside.


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30 minutes after take-off, we crossed the Parana river, thus entering Brazilian airspace.


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As sun began to set, the sky got cloudy.



The meal service began 45 minutes into the flight. It consisted of a burger with a bag of dried vegetables, a brownie and dulce de leche dessert, and a beverage of your choice. I went with a glass of Pepsi. For a two-hour flight, it was more than enough.


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After finishing the meal, the flight attendants asked if we wanted anything else, so I went with another Pepsi. On this flight, the FAs were warm and attentive, and always smiled when interacting with passengers.


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Outside, the night kept setting in. As the sky got darker, I found it difficult to take aerial pictures because the cabin lights produced a reflection on the window.


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View of the cabin mid-flight.


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This plane was equipped with Wi-Fi to support the LATAM Play app, which provided entertainment with movies, TV shows, music, and, most importantly for an AvGeek, a flight map.

As we got closer to Sao Paulo, we found considerable (but moderate) turbulence. Otherwise, the  flight was smooth and calm. After 01:30 of flight, we started descending towards GRU. We overflew the city before turning and lining up with the runway, with beautiful night views.


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Final approach.


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We landed in runway 09R at 20:28, 17 minutes ahead of schedule and after 01:44 of flight. Shortly after, we vacated the runway and taxied to Terminal 3.


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We stopped next to a TAP A330-900.


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DEPLANING & ARRIVAL


We only deplaned 20 minutes after coming to a full stop, because of a delay from ground services on bringing the jetway to the plane. To get to customs, we had to follow a long hallway thorugh the whole length of the terminal.



As there was again no line, I went through customs quickly and went to retrieve my baggage.


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I needed to get to the aiport's bus station, located  to catch a van to an hotel nearby, as my flight to SDU departed at 08:20 in the morning.

Hallway connecting terminals 2 and 3.


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Terminal 2 check-in hall.


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Getting to the bus station.


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After 40 minutes of waiting, the hotel van picked me up, and got a little sleep before returning to the airport to catch my early morning flight to SDU, which will be covered in my next report coming up. See you there!

See more

Verdict

LATAM

9.0/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering8.0

Asunción - ASU

6.4/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness7.5

Sao Paulo - GRU

7.9/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Overall, it was a pleasant flight on a recently refurbished A320. LATAM's Premium Economy is basically a more appropiate name for service resembling European business class, with preferential service, seats blocked in the middle and more pitch, and a complete meal without being Business class polished. The LATAM Play app compensates well for the absence of a flight magazine in this short South American flight. ASU looks better after undergoing renovations on the check-in hall, but is basically empty with no shops open. Guarulhos' Terminal 3, altough with long walking distances, is way better than Terminal 2, and has plenty of shops and services.

Information on the route Asunción (ASU) Sao Paulo (GRU)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Asunción (ASU) → Sao Paulo (GRU).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is LATAM with 7.1/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 3 minutes.

  More information

7 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 571648 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5587 Comments

    Hi Diego, thanks so much for sharing this very interesting, detailed, and well-written review! It's so interesting to see what flying in Covid times is like in different parts of the world, and this report is unique in that reviews on LATAM short-haul Premium Economy are rare and reports to/from Asuncion are even more rare!

    I agree that Premium Economy branding, but better fits the product that we all know as Euro-business or Eurobiz. LATAM did a really good job of updating cabins on the narrowbody fleet so quickly. They also impressed me with how fast they updated the 777 cabins and the speed of the 767 cabin upgrades. All during a pandemic! I guess they're taking advantage of the slowdown in demand to get everything done despite the financial strain. For some reason painting is going much slower, though.

    Catering is pretty decent for a 2h flight in Covid times. Overall, a very nice short-haul premium product by LATAM.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 571683 by
    Pilpintu SILVER 766 Comments

    Asuncióooonn!! Diego, este informe me viene como anillo al dedo!! Sabes? Estoy planificando un viaje más o menos largo para 2022. Si todavía queda mundo para entonces voy a pasar por Asunción en julio. Solamente necesito que se muera luego mi tía que tiene plata. Jajajaja Pero ya se vacunó. :(

    As usual during these pandemic times, sinks where located right at the entrance.

    Either I'm having reading comprehension problems, or I'm just not paying attention, but I can't remember reading about this in other reports... Menos mal que los WC siguen adentro!!! XD

    and an online health declaration. Both these documents were required at the check-in counter.

    Y si hiciste la "health declaration" online, cómo la presentas?? Tienes que imprimirla o la muestras en PDF o algo así??

    After entering the check-in hall, I could see it was refurbished last year;

    No se ve muy grande, pero se nota que han puesto mucho empeño en modernizarlo!! Me encantó la sala de espera con piso flotante. Muy acogedor. Esos relojes con la hora de distintas ciudades nunca pueden faltar para dar el toque internacional!! JJajajja. Al menos en este caso son útiles porque tienen la hora de Sao Paulo, que es el lugar a donde ibas, pero he estado en aeropuertos que apenas reciben un par de vuelos domésticos al día, y tienen relojes con la hora de Beijing, Singapur, Dubai.... jajaja Arribistas. Me da la impresión de que ASU es más o menos del tamaño de Carrasco, en Uruguay.

    Only two flights remaining for the day!

    Me equivoco al decir que Paranair es la antigua Amaszonas Paraguay? O son dos aerolíneas diferentes? Espero que para julio de 2022 haya vuelos entre ASU y VVI. De eso dependen mis planes!!

    At around 17:15, my plane arrived from Santiago de Chile

    Ajáaa!! Osea que ese es el que tengo que tomar!! Perfecto.

    I estimate the flight was 80-90% full

    Me alegro. Eso mejora las posibilidades de que el vuelo todavía exista el próximo año!! jejej En todo caso, me asombra que haya tanto interés por viajar entre SCL y ASU. Creo que hay más gente que vuela entre SCL y MVD, pero esa ruta apenas se abre durante las vacaciones!!

    During the initial climb, we could see Asuncion's suburbia and the nearby Ypacaraí lake.

    Qué hermoso! Qué arbolado! Qué barrios son esos? Qué barrios me recomiendas para alojar? Habitualmente uso airbnb así que puedo escoger.

    we crossed the Parana river, thus entering Brazilian airspace.

    Muy bellas vistas!

    a bag of dried vegetables

    Jajajajaj Esas papas Tika son súper conocidas por acá. "Papas exóticas" les pusieron en el envase. jajajajaj Lo más probable es que incluya papas de Chiloé, que es una isla cerca de donde vivo. Allí hay una gran variedad de papas. Incluso moradas. Bueno, pero son de las más caras. Al menos latam está ofreciendo lo mejorcito.

    dulce de leche dessert

    Oh Dios! Eso es un vaso de vidrio???!!! Tendré que dejar el espacio suficiente en mi mochila. XD

    • Comment 571684 by
      Pilpintu SILVER 766 Comments

      I went through customs quickly and went to retrieve my baggage

      Ese baggage claim infinito de GRU... no es como para ir atrasado a una conexión!!

      Terminal 2 check-in hall.

      Qué recuerdos de mi viaje a Florianópolis con mis alumnos!!! Justamente ahí me perdí. Ja

      my early morning flight to SDU, which will be covered in my next report coming up

      Will be looking forward to it!!

      Thanks a lot for sharing!!! Cuídate!!

    • Comment 571699 by
      DiegoSS02 AUTHOR 73 Comments

      Muchas gracias por leer y por tus buenos comentarios y observaciones Pilpintu!

      Y si hiciste la "health declaration" online, cómo la presentas?? Tienes que imprimirla o la muestras en PDF o algo así??

      Al completarla te envían un email de confirmación, eso es lo que debés mostrar en el check-in.

      Me equivoco al decir que Paranair es la antigua Amaszonas Paraguay?

      Es exactamente así. Amaszonas Paraguay se transformó en Paranair en octubre del 2018.

      Qué barrios son esos? Qué barrios me recomiendas para alojar?

      En Asunción, definitivamente recomiendo alojarte en la zona de Villa Morra, o Carmelitas.

      Jajajajaj Esas papas Tika son súper conocidas por acá. "Papas exóticas" les pusieron en el envase

      Gracias a las papas supe que el catering se carga en SCL jajajajaj

      Pasala muy bien, y gracias por leer!

  • Comment 571688 by
    Leadership TEAM GOLD 5184 Comments

    Thank you for this nice, well written and comprehensive report.
    See you for the next part.

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