Review: LATAM Business Class B787-9, Easter Island – Santiago
Our departing flight from Easter Island was on LATAM Business Class on their continuing international service from Papeete, French Polynesia onwards to Santiago, Chile. It’s always a sad experience to have to leave a great travel destination and it’s fair to say that was our experience. Despite leaving the wonderful island of Rapa Nui, we were able to do so in style in LATAM’s Business Class Preferente Cabin.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Mexico City, Mexico and Easter Island, Chile. This trip was enhanced through Alaska Mileage Plan and through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Easter Island, Chile via LATAM Business Class and Alaska Airlines First Class
- Alaska Airlines Premium Class: Seattle – San Francisco
- The Westin San Francisco Airport, San Francisco, USA
- Alaska Airlines First Class: San Francisco – Mexico City
- The W Mexico City, Mexico
- Pujol Restaurant, Mexico City
- Quintonil Restaurant, Mexico City
- Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing in Mexico City
- Iberia One World Business Lounge, Mexico City
- LATAM Business Class: Mexico City – Santiago
- LATAM Business Class: Santiago – Easter Island
- The Taura’a Hotel, Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile
- The Coastline of Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile
- Driving to Ahu Tonjariki, Anakena, Easter Island, Chile
- The Megaliths of the South Coast of Easter Island, Chile
- Under the Giants at the Rano Raraku Quarry, Easter Island, Chile
- A Journey of Legends at Orongo Crater, Anakena and Puna Pau, Easter Island, Chile
- LATAM Business Class: Easter Island – Santiago
- LATAM VIP One World Business Class Lounge: Santiago International
- LATAM Business Class: Santiago – Mexico City
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Mexico City – San Francisco
- Virgin America: San Francisco – Seattle
Review: LATAM Preferente Business Class B787-9, Isla de Pasqua “Rapa Nui” Mataveri International Airport – Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez Airport, Easter Island
This post is of our departing flight on LATAM Business Class Easter Island – Santiago. For our arriving flight on LATAM Business Class Santiago – Easter Island, please see our earlier review.
When it came time to leave, the staff at The Taura’a Hotel gave us a lift to the airport. This appears to be a common feature of staying on Easter Island; a courtesy drop off and pick up. The accommodation at The Hotel Taura’a was as good as expected and we’d easily return. Although we had booked a prepaid rate via Expedia, we were hit up for our credit card and made payment on our way out. They never even took a deposit when we arrived (or even checked our identification). It was all okay in the end and we were not double charged.
The weather was much better when we arrived to the airport and made for much better photo taking opportunities as compared to when we had arrived.
On our arrival to the airport at 1:21 PM, the flight had already landed. Today’s flight LA836 was the continuing service inbound from Papeete, French Polynesia. It had departed Papeete, French Polynesia at 3:25 AM (the horrors) and was continuing onward domestic service to Santiago, Chile.
Checking into LATAM Business Class:
The check in area at Mataveri International Airport was tiny. All our checked bags had to pass through a Chile SAG agricultural inspection; presumably also looking for removal of volcanic rocks and other artifacts. After the bags were screened, we headed over to the empty but manned LATAM Preferente Business check in line.
Our bags were tagged through to Mexico City and we received our boarding cards right through. For some reason, the boarding paper stock was exceptionally cheap and thin, by the the thinnest that I had ever received flying to date.
The Mataveri International Airport didn’t unlock the security doors to get into the secure side until about 2:15 PM. Having nothing to do, we went to find the airport restaurant. We found it tucked down an alley immediately behind the check in area. It was a dual counter restaurant that served both the secure side and the public side. The secure side contained about 80 passengers waiting in transit from French Polynesia. I am assuming that all these passengers cleared Chilean immigration in Rapa Nui / Easter Island as they were appearing as a slow trickle into the secure area.
After passing through a quick security, we ended up in the sole holding lounge along with the transit passengers. The transit passengers looked physically exhausted as I would have been if I had gotten on a flight departing at 3 AM.
The transit space is an indoor / outdoor affair here. The outdoor space has a small moai and great plane side views. We were able to get a photo of “The Last Moai”.
Surprisingly, I didn’t think to ask about a Business Class lounge at the check in, but there was a lounge facility here. It seems to be used for VIP visits as looking at it from the plane, you could board direct to the apron from the lounge gates. It was pretty boarded up during our departure.
We had a very leisurely boarding process. We boarded at about 2:40 PM down the tunnel in the Preferente line. We had a nice walk out to the apron with our last photographs of the Boeing 787-900 on Easter Island.
Business Class (Z)
IPC – SCL (Rapa Nui Mataveri International – Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport)
Oct 17, 2017
Booked: Boeing 787-800
Flown: Boeing 787-900
Departure: 3:25 PM
Arrival: 9:55 PM
On Board LATAM Business Class:
We climbed the jet stairs to L1 and settled into business class in 2A/2C. As on our way out, the LATAM Business Class cabin configuration is based on a 2 – 2 – 2 seating. This is great if you are travelling with a partner. It’s not so ideal if you are travelling on your own as you have to step over someone (or have someone step over you) to access the aisle
The entertainment is controlled through a wired remote located in the side of the seat. There is also Empower AC 110 V plug in’s at each seat.
A pre-departure beverage was offered of Pisco Sours, water or wine. This was served along with mixed nuts. Little did we know this would also be “The Last Pisco Sour” as they were strangely absent from our LATAM international flight departing Santiago.
It was slow to get everyone to board and we happened to be able to see from our seats the outdoor hold lounge, which had people trickling through towards the plane. During this time, it seemed that two pilot wives were traveling. One was seated in 2 D next to us, and another exited the cockpit prior to take off, eventually heading back to a seat in economy.
Eventually, it was frantic for the flight attendents to get all the cups and nut trays back as we backed up for departure.
Departing Easter Island:
We had a taxi way towards runway 10, where we were able to get an appreciation for the never ending length of the NASA built runway. The runway was designed as a possible landing spot for the NASA space shuttles. The runway itself is 3,318 m or 10,885 ft. long. The airport was once designated as an abort site for the U.S. Space Shuttle when polar orbital flights from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California were planned, with this space launch activity then subsequently being cancelled. The project undertaken by NASA to lengthen the runway was completed in 1987 and enabled wide-bodied jets to use the airport, which further boosted tourism to the island.
We took off eastward and as we climbed to altitude, we were able to see some of the great volanic coastline that we had the opportunity to see on foot during our stay. It was my last look at Easter Island and I was sad to see it go. It was a strikingly beautiful place to visit made all that more special by how difficult it is to get here. Still to this day, it’s a trip that I’ve re-lived and remembered thanks to its unique and special nature unlike some others which can be quite forgettable.
Once we arrived to altitude, the cabin service began. The service was slightly different than our inbound flight. I suspect that it was because our flight was the continuation of the Papeete – Easter Island flight. There were no amenity kits offered on this flight unlike the on outbound. Instead, we were initially offered bottled water, which was missing on the outbound flight.
The Meal: A Full Lunch
Eventually, meal service got underway. The menus were offered with a lunch feature being provided.
I had the Grilled Tenderloin in Carménère Sauce, , Creamed Corn and Cherry Tomato Confit, served with water and a glass of white wine. Wine was always offered with the bottle and label presented with an offer to try in advance of a glass.
The beef was unfortunately quite forgettable for a country known for its agriculture.
I watched the flight map for most of the trip and read some Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance.
The seat is okay for relaxing but turns into a bit a slide since when you bring the feet up, you have to move the feet forward in order to recline. I didn’t find it to be the most comfortable seat for today’s particular journey.
During the trip, the sun set to black as we entered the night time zone. We had some sunset views on the north side of the aircraft as the day slipped away.
We had an easy landing at Santiago. Our approach was straight in with no holds and a quick taxi over to Gate 19 at the Santiago International Airport.
On arrival, it took a while to connect the door to 2L. Economy was held back to allow business to disembark.
The domestic flight emptied out into the international arrivals hall; after immigration but before customs inspection. There didn’t seem to be a way to connect to international flights from the sterile side of the airport, so we ended up following the signs to clear security to the public side. We then re-entered the airport to get back to the secure side. When the customs agent at the exit asked for my declaration, I just told him we were on the domestic flight and he waved us through without the baggage arrival x-ray. I can’t say what would happen to the traveler who departed from Papeete. Either way, customs did not appear to be too concerned perhaps because the travellers may have cleared Chilean customs in Easter Island.
We headed onwards towards the LATAM Business Lounge Santiago and our onward connecting LATAM Business Class Santiago – Mexico City flight.
My Thoughts on LATAM’s Easter Island Business Class Service:
Our LATAM Easter Island – Santiago flight was among the most quirky and unique that I’ve been on. It’s incredibly unusual to be flying through the middle of nowhere in one of the most deserted flight tracks in the whole world. The LATAM Boeing 787-9 equipment was pretty comfortable for a pair of travellers and we had no concerns with cabin comfort or entertainment. The food was reasonable, although not outstanding or memorable. The strongest memory of this flight was the sadness of leaving such as special and remote island.