In 2018, South American mega-airline LATAM announced it would spend $400 million updating the interiors of its fleet. To me the most exciting aspect of this was the introduction of a new business class product, given that the carrier’s offering has historically been pretty lackluster.
It has now been roughly four years since LATAM announced its cabin retrofit project, so I wanted to take an updated look at how the airline is doing with this, especially since a lot has changed since then — LATAM has gone through bankruptcy, LATAM has retired all of its Airbus A350s, etc.
LATAM’s new business class seats
LATAM’s new business class product consists of Vantage XL seats, similar to what you’ll find on RwandAir, Qantas, and SAS, among other airlines. These are fully flat staggered seats with direct aisle access and 18″ personal televisions, so it represents a huge improvement to the passenger experience.
Below is a video giving a tour of the cabin of these new jets.
When the project was first announced, LATAM did and amazing job with the pace at which it reconfigured planes. How’s that project looking at this point, given the impact of coronavirus? Let’s look at where things stand by aircraft type.
Which LATAM planes have new business class seats?
LATAM’s long haul fleet consists of Boeing 767s, Boeing 777s, and Boeing 787s. Since LATAM is an airline with several bases, these fleets are split up between airlines, with the two biggest bases being in Brazil and Chile. Let’s take a look at progress with the new business class installation, ranked by the percent of planes that have the new business class seats.
All LATAM Boeing 777s have new business class seats
LATAM has 10 Boeing 777-300ERs, all of which are based in Brazil. Fortunately all 10 of these planes feature the new business class product. That’s fantastic news, since these were also the planes most in need of a refresh — they previously had angled seats in business class.
LATAM’s reconfigured Boeing 777-300ERs feature 38 business class seats, spread across 10 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. The only bad news is that LATAM has seen a huge reduction in premium seats when reconfiguring these planes — they used to have 56 business class seats, but now have 38 business class seats.
Most LATAM Boeing 767s have new business class seats
LATAM has 13 Boeing 767-300ERs:
- Four Boeing 767s are based in Brazil, and none of them have the new business class seats; rather these planes have fully flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration
- Nine Boeing 767s are based in Peru, and all nine of them have the new business class seats
For reference here are the registration codes of the nine Boeing 767s based in Peru, all of which have the new product:
If you fly with LATAM Peru, you’re guaranteed to get the new business class seats on the Boeing 767. LATAM’s reconfigured Boeing 767s have a total of 20 business class seats, spread across five rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Some LATAM Boeing 787s have new business class seats
LATAM has a total of 26 Boeing 787s, including the following:
- There are 10 Boeing 787-8s, flying for LATAM Chile
- There are 16 Boeing 787-9s, flying for LATAM Brazil and LATAM Chile
The bad news is that LATAM Boeing 787s delivered before late 2019 don’t feature the new business class product, and there are no plans to retrofit the new business class on these jets. Since all Boeing 787-8s were delivered before 2019, none of those planes feature the new business class.
Meanwhile the Boeing 787-9s with the following registration codes feature the new business class:
As you can see, you have a chance of getting the new business class on the 787-9, while you don’t have a chance of getting the new business class on the 787-8. Still, the odds aren’t good. LATAM’s reconfigured Boeing 787-9s have a total of 30 business class seats, spread across eight rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.
LATAM announced its new business class product back in 2018. The airline initially made great progress with rolling out this product, though not surprisingly the pandemic slowed things down a bit.
So to recap the current state of LATAM’s new business class:
- All LATAM Brazil Boeing 777s and all LATAM Peru Boeing 767s feature the new business class seats
- Some LATAM Brazil and LATAM Chile Boeing 787s feature the new business class seats
- None of the LATAM Brazil Boeing 767s feature the new business class seats, and there are no plans to retrofit the new business class seats on existing Boeing 787s
Hopefully this is a useful update for anyone who has long haul travel planned on LATAM.
If you’ve flown LATAM’s new business class, what was your experience like?