After all this excitement getting the Colombia Exit Tax refunded, we just about made it onto our flight before boarding closed off.
This LAN 767 features flat-beds (that have a tight footprint) that I reviewed for my flight on LAN Business Class to Buenos Aires. For this red-eye flight, though, it would be economy for us. LATAM has 7 seats apart for this 767 (that also flies to Miami in the same configuration) in a staggered layout.
While at check-in the flight seemed empty, it was completely full that Friday night. It was mostly Brazilians coming home from Bogota. Brazilians are an odd bunch and while we waited for take-off many passengers completely reclined their seats – right away. That’s so annoying.
The captain came up and told us about a maintenance issue and that it would be resolved soon. As expected, two hours after we were due to take off, we were still waiting in our seats when the captain announced that this flight could not happen. He did not elaborate why and his English announcement consisted of about two sentences. The Spanish version must have been longer, but my basic Spanish could not decipher much more.
We were told to line at another gate which sparked our hopes that there would actually be a replacement aircraft. We walked back to the lounge first and had another drink and the lounge agent told us that the plane went mechanical because the entertainment system would not boot properly. This isn’t a huge issue but in Brazil it would be ‘against the law’.
Amazingly, boarding was announced just after we got to the lounge and we started boarding through the bus gates; this time it was an aircraft that was parked all the way at the end of the apron. It was being refueled and bags were being loaded. Just after 12.30AM (three hours late) we actually made it into take-off position. Astonishingly we must have been just a few hundred feet from the start of the runway – there was barely any taxiing.
The late departure worked better for our jet lag so weren’t too sad about it. LATAM served a chicken meal just after take-off (and once the plane was over the turbulent mountain air east). I chose not to eat and instead tried out the entertainment system.
It had a number of recent movies and a lot of TV shows. It was pretty cool, though the controls were slow.
Eventually I fell asleep and sleepily noticed another food and drinks service coming through at night that we skipped as well. We all just woke up to the final ‘seats back up’ signal before landing in Sao Paulo. Taxiing was quick here too and although immigration was crowded it moved quickly.
So what to make of this flight? The seat pitch was pretty good, the food looked pretty good and the flight attendants were friendly, too. I find it amazing that an airline has a spare 767 just parked outside at their secondary hub. So while I think they should have communicated a bit more (especially in English and Portuguese) I think the recovery wasn’t so bad for this ‘broken plane’.
Sorry about the lack of pictures, due to sleeping!