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  • Konrad Tillman

Review: LATAM Airlines A321 Economy Sao Paulo-Rio De Janeiro

Intro


After a very very long day, with flights from La Paz-Santiago, and from Santiago to Sao Paulo, it was time to take the very last flight of the day from Sao Paulo to Rio De Janeiro onboard LATAM.


For those wondering why I didn't fly from Santiago to Rio directly, the last (non-red-eye) flight left just before my arrival from La Paz😒.


I had already spent 9 hours onboard the LATAM A320 family in economy and was pleasantly surprised. However, while this flight was just as good hard product-wise, the soft product left a little bit to be desired.


Let's get into it!


Route- Sao Paulo (GRU)- Rio De Janeiro

Plane- A321

Seat- 24A

Flight Number- LA3338

Date- March 22nd 2024

Flight Time: 44 Minutes

Price Paid- Around 700$ (4 legs)(It's complicated)


How I Booked


Number one rule of flying: If your plans aren't flexible do not book book through a third-party agency such as Expedia. Well, guess what I had to do was book through Expedia. As you will read about in the upcoming week, LATAM is a fantastic airline but they also don't accept payments for one-way bookings, other people have had this issue as well😒.


My original ticket was booked on the exact route on the 24th of March. The total came out to 326$ for a one-way fare in economy. However, due to changing my ticket, I had to pay a cancellation fee of 175$ before I could use my trip credit to switch onto the flight to GIG. The differential came out to 338$ additional dollars. To add to that, I paid an extra 15$ to select a seat, which, of course, never got refunded😒. My fault though, not LATAM's.


Transiting Domestic- International Sao Paulo


After deplaning from Santiago, I had around two hours to kill before boarding. Transit was relatively simple as I cleared immigration, headed down to the exit of the terminal and headed straight back in.



Something warms your body when you are in Brazil, not like Bolivia but it's an enhanced energy. Even in the airport, I felt it.


Security is efficient, with plenty of lines open in the evening.


Gru Security

It looks bust but with at least 7 lines open I was through in 15 minutes maximum.


Is there a brazilian version of TSA precheck?


After spending some time outside the terminal and clearing security, I had about an hour to kill. I was more than happy sitting around enjoying a Patagonia lager and a hot dog.


It was a reality shock to be back in places that were expensive after Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru😳.


Comfort food needed; comfort food acquired

We had a last-minute gate change, which took me over to the gate range of 250 & up.


Ahh Brazil

A Starbucks was open at this hour, but I needed to sleep tonight. No choice but to skip this.


If in doubt you can mostly count on a Starbucks

Boarding


Boarding began around 10:00 pm and consisted of premium economy and group 1 passengers.


However, I already had pictures of the A321 cabin, so I boarded at about 10:15 pm.


Good evening from GRU

No congestion!

Boarding was completed by 10:34, and the cabin doors shut by 10:36. It was Slightly delayed but not the end of the world😜.



I settled in nicely to my window seat, I had just been on the A321 3 hours ago😅.


LATAM A321 seat

It was when I settled down in my seat that I found my aircraft had swapped from Sao Paulo to Santiago on Sunday from the old business class in a 2-2-2 configuration to the newer 1-2-1 seat! Amazing news!


I later switched to 7A

Departure


We pushed back at 10:45 pm, 15 minutes behind schedule, and made our way out to the runway.



By 10:54 pm, we had started our taxi ride from the domestic terminal.




It was a very short taxi (8 minutes tonight) and we were second in line for takeoff behind an American Airlines 777.


Do you think they pick up hitchikers for Business Class?

By 11:02 we were airborne out of Sao Paulo.



Once again, a very low cloud cover surrounded the areas of Rio/Sao Paulo that day.


I don't remember this about Brazil

Snack Service


The crew snapped into action about 10 minutes after takeoff to deliver a drink of choice and a snack. The chips were okay and the water was water😅.


Considering it's a 40 minute flight, I am happy

If you are interested in reading about the seat layout and IFE, feel free to check out my review from the last flight!


Arrival


21 minutes after takeoff, we began our initial descent into Rio. While Sao Paulo seems to be quite busy at night, the same doesn't lie with GIG.


We had some serious chop yet again on approach, I don't know what has been going on with my flights in the past week.


Final descent into Rio LATAM A321

The approach was stunning, and we were on the ground at 11:40 pm local time.


A murky murky day in Rio, please don't be like this tomorrow😅

We had an 8-minute taxi and arrived at the gate by 11:48, about 18 minutes behind schedule.


Azul is an airline that impresses me, I would like to try their 330's out

Just like that, for the first time in my life, I was in Rio De Janeiro!!!!!


Yayy World wonder here I go

It was about a 25-minute drive to Copacabana and I was sound asleep by 2 am but not before some Brazilian Steak!


Final Thoughts


Yeah, this flight was alright. It reminded me of a shuttle flight from NYC-BOS/IAD. Instead of driving 5 hours, this flight gets you there in 45 minutes. LATAM ticked all of the boxes, but nothing was on top. The seats were fine, the snack service was fine and it got me from point A to point B. However, GOL is a huge step up and I cannot wait to share that review!


JETTOAJET SCALE


Snack Service

7/10

Seat (24A)

7.5/10

IFE

7.5/10

Ground Experience

7/10

Overall Service

7/10

Total

36/50




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