LATAM Review feature image

LATAM Airlines Review

For some of the most affordable and efficient flights around Latin America, LATAM has you covered. How good is it compared to the competition? I’ll reveal all in my LATAM Airlines review below…

Back in 1929, the airline was founded by the Chilean Air Force Commodore Arturo Merino Benítez. Fast-forward a few decades to 2010, when the original airline finally merged with a Brazilian airline and formed the LATAM Airlines Group, it’s now the largest airline corporation in Latin America.

I had the pleasure of flying from Costa Rica to Peru with LATAM. They’re an efficient airline with tons of destinations in the Americas which makes them one of the best airlines to take while traveling in that part of the world.

My flight departed on time, and the staff was friendly and attentive. All in all, it was a seamless experience that left a good impression and was a great way to begin my journey in South America. 

Snapshot Verdict

LATAM is a wonderful Latin American airline with destinations across North, Central, and South America, in addition to various destinations in Europe and Oceania. My flight from Costa Rica to Peru was enjoyable, quick and easy, and it fit perfectly into my budget. 

There are several LATAM lounge options around the world. They practice sustainability and offer several different fare levels that suit any type of traveler and budget:

Basic (Cheapest Fare):Handbag, change your flight for a fee.

Light:Handbag, carry-on bag 10kg, change your flight for a fee, request for upgrade with segments.

Full:Handbag, carry-on bag 10kg, one checked bag 23kg, change for no fee, seat selection, total refund, request for upgrade with segments. 

Premium Economy:Handbag, carry-on bag 10kg, one checked bag 23kg, change for no fee, seat selection, total refund, middle seat blocked, excellent food menu.

Overall, and alongside their various fare options and destinations in Central and South America, LATAM is a great airline to fly, especially in the Americas.Â

Where You Can Fly LATAM 

Flying across Central and South America is affordable, thanks to LATAM. They serve 133 international destinations across 26 countries, in spots between North, Central, and South America, and Europe.

They also fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.  

LATAM Flight routes list of destinations

LATAM Lounges

If you’re someone who wants to relax in an exclusive lounge before your flight, LATAM has just the place. Currently, LATAM has five lounges of their own and other contracted lounges.

Those five lounges are in Santiago, Chile, Bogota, Colombia, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Guarulhos, Brazil, and Miami, Florida. There are also dozens of third-party VIP lounges. 

To gain access to the LATAM Lounges, you need to hold one of the following: 

Santiago LATAM Lounge
  • LATAM Pass Black Signature membership: With this, you can enter a lounge with your family, plus one companion. When you’re on a partner airline, you can only enter with yourself and one companion.
  • Black and Platinum membership: You can enter with one companion.
  • Santander World Member: You can enter with a companion to the LATAM VIP Lounge in SCL airport (Chile).
  • Premium Business or Premium Economy Ticket: Either of these boarding passes will unlock access to their lounges.

LATAM Pass

If you’re a frequent LATAM flyer, then signing up for the LATAM Pass might be a great idea.

Every time you fly on LATAM and associated airlines (Delta, Aero Mexico, Alaska, British Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar, SWISS, Virgin Atlantic), you’ll earn miles you can put towards future flights. 

Elite Membership

LATAM has an Elite membership with five different categories: Gold, Gold Plus, Platinum, Black, and Black Signature. Depending on your membership, you’ll receive different perks and benefits, including miles, Cabin Upgrade with segments, customer service, and more. 

You’ll earn an extra percentage of miles as a result of your membership for international flights: 

  • Gold: 20%
  • Gold Plus: 40%
  • Platinum: 80%
  • Black: 100% 
  • Black Signature: 120%

My Experience Flying LATAM

The line for immigration and security at SJO airport in Costa Rica was long. I recommend arriving at least three hours before an international flight if you’re departing from that airport.

I don’t know if this is usually an issue at SJO, but I felt much better in having enough time. If I’d have arrived much later, it would’ve been pretty stressful. 

SJO is a nice airport with plenty of coffee, dining, and drinking options. Luckily, I found a delicious restaurant next to my gate called Malinche Restaurant, which served up one last Costa Rican meal before I boarded my flight. 

One of the downsides to flying LATAM was having to pay $57 for my carry-on bag. That wasn’t even for a checked bag! I didn’t want to risk getting charged at the gate, so I figured paying for it beforehand was the safest option. 

This flight had a 3-3 seat layout. It was a full flight, so I felt pretty cramped against the wall – but I was very grateful to have a window seat (anything but the middle!).

A window seat makes me feel as though I have a little more space if I can see outside, and although most of the flight was through the evening, as we departed Coat Rica I caught a beautiful sight of a rainbow. 

The flight was pretty barebones. There weren’t any charging ports, and there wasn’t any in-flight entertainment system. I spent most of the flight listening to my own music!

They did offer a pillow and blanket on every seat. LATAM also strives to be a more sustainable airline. The pillow and blanket were wrapped in a small piece of cardboard, and said “I replaced a plastic bag”. 

Halfway through the flight, they handed out a ham and cheese sandwich, a piece of chocolate, a portion of banana bread, and complimentary drinks.

Now for the big negative that may be a huge thumbs down for some of you. The aircraft offered only one bathroom for the entire economy section of the plane, which meant there was always a line to use the bathroom.

Usually, there are at least two bathrooms on flights to avoid this problem.

Once we arrived, immigration in Lima, Peru was fast – before I knew it, I was in an Uber and on my way to my Airbnb.

Meals on Board 

Because LATAM is a Latin American fleet, their cuisine reflects just that. I believe Latin America has some of the best food in the world.

Unfortunately my flight to Peru was so short, I didn’t get a full meal, only several very welcome snacks. You only get a full meal if you’re flying for 3-and-a-half hours or more. I’ll look forward to flying with them on a longer flight to trial their flight meals, and will be sure to update on here when I do!

LATAM’s sustainability practices are standout. On every flight, they try to use reusable or sustainable materials and reduce the amount of single-use plastic on board. I love this, and many airlines aren’t yet doing it as well as LATAM.

You know what else I love? LATAM values its local culture. So much so, its dishes are produced by female chefs from different places in Latin America.

Entertainment on Board 

Depending on which flight you are taking, LATAM may or may not offer in-flight entertainment. On my flight, there was no in-flight television, but on longer flights there is.

If you’re on a longer flight with onboard entertainment, LATAM have Disney+ movies and different premieres every single month. Some of them also offer free messaging and Wi-Fi plans

Checking a Bag 

I did not check a bag at the airport, nor did I have to check in with anyone at a desk. I checked into my flight the night before, paid $57 for a carry-on bag, and received a mobile boarding pass. 

LATAM charge different fees for checked bags. It depends if you’re flying domestically, within South America, between Central and South America, and so on. 

For example, between Central and South America, if you decide to check a bag 48 hours before a flight, they charge $50. Between 48 hours and 6 hours before the flight, they charge $65. Between 6 hours and 1 hour before the flight, they charge $80. 

Paying for Seats 

If you want to select your seat with an economy ticket, you can expect to pay anywhere from $9 to $20.

They also have the option to sit in a LATAM+ seat, which offers more space. You can comfortably stretch out your legs.

You’ll also get to board and disembark before everyone else on the plane, have 10 extra inches of legroom, and have a seat that reclines 40% more than a regular seat. There’s also an exclusive compartment to store your overhead bags. 

How to Book with LATAM

Booking a flight on the LATAM website is easy. After entering your departure airport, arrival airport, and intended dates of travel, the website will bring you to the next page, where you’ll be offered four different LATAM fares:

  • Handbag
  • Change your flight for a fee
  • Handbag
  • Carry-on bag – 10kg
  • Change your flight for a fee
  • Request for upgrade with segments
  • Handbag
  • Carry-on bag – 10kg
  • One checked bag – 23kg
  • Amend booking for no fee
  • Seat selection
  • Total refund when cancelling
  • Request for upgrade with segments
  • Handbag
  • Carry-on bag – 10kg
  • One checked bag – 23kg
  • Amend booking for no fee
  • Seat selection
  • Total refund if cancelling
  • Middle seat blocked
  • Excellent food menu 

No matter what your budget is, LATAM has something to suit your budget. I usually go for the light fare when I’m traveling with only a carry-on, which is what I did from Costa Rica to Peru.

There’s a difference of $200 and more between the Basic and Premium Economy ticket prices.

Conclusion

LATAM makes traveling around North, Central, and South America easy, affordable, and fun. Their fleets are safe, the flight attendants are friendly, and they cover tons of destinations across several continents making traveling easy.

LATAM work hard on becoming a more sustainable flight with their reusable packaging and limited use of plastic.

Flying from Costa Rica to Peru was smooth, seamless, and worth the budget-friendly fare. We departed on time and arrived on time.

Even though the flight did not have in-flight entertainment or charging ports, it was still an enjoyable journey that got me to my destination comfortably and for a great price.  

Overall, LATAM offers a cost-effective way to travel around the Americas and several destinations around the world. With their delicious on-board Latin American cuisine, friendly staff, and stellar efficiency, they’re a great option whether you’re on a tight budget or looking to travel in style. 

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