Flight test: LAN economy class

Aircraft LAN A340-300.

Route Sydney to Santiago, via Auckland.

Class Economy 34H.

Seat pitch and width 32 inches between rows of seats; 18 inches between armrests.

Seat configuration 2-4-2.

Luggage allowance Two 23-kilogram bags of checked baggage, plus one carry-on item up to eight kilograms.

Scheduled flight time 16 hours and 15 minutes, or 17 hours including downtime in Auckland.

Aircraft condition Clean and neat. My tray table has a coffee stain from a previous flight.

On-time performance 15 minutes ahead of schedule into Auckland, but 25 minutes late into Santiago.


Entertainment Individual 8.9-inch touchscreens on the seatbacks. There's plenty to keep us entertained: eight blockbusters, eight comedies, seven action, 13 dramas (mainly South American productions), two classic and nine family titles, plus TV and games. I also like the ability to build our own playlist of songs and albums from an extensive collection of rock, pop, classical, regional, jazz, Latin and new-age titles. It was disappointing to see the entertainment system turned off 30 minutes before landing. The earphones are ineffective in blocking out the cabin noise.

Comfort I find the seats are comfortable and feel wide; headrests are adjustable on the sides. And I like the plush blanket.

Service Adequate despite minimal staffing in each cabin: there is only one attendant for each section of the plane during safety announcements and only one attendant per meal trolley.

Amenities Only eye shades and ear plugs are distributed, not even a toothbrush.

Food and beverage The food quality is inconsistent: a light snack of cold ham, cheese croissant and fruit salad is OK; the dinner of chicken and rice tastes plain; the breakfast of omelette and mushrooms, however, is delicious. The coffee is very good. Alcohol and soft drinks are complimentary and available throughout the night, with chocolate, from galley kitchen.

Flight frequency Daily flights departing at 9.25am and arriving the same day at 11.40am. The fare is $2225 low-season return, including tax.

Online See lan.com.

Tested by Lia Timson