We decided to try Latam’s business class service from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Lima, Peru. Here is a summary of our trip.
The Flight Out
We arrived at the Guayaquil airport around 6:30 AM for our 8:35 flight, having stayed the night before at the Marriott Courtyard, a convenient 15 minutes away. (More information about the airport can be found by clicking here and here.) The airport was fairly empty at this time of the morning and, with no one in front of us, we zipped through check-in seamlessly. Immigration and security checks also went smoothly so we had time to relax in the lounge before the flight.
The lounge was comfortable, but hardly luxurious. A small buffet bar supplied snacks and a few hot items. There was also a bar that can supply beverages, hot tea or coffee. Drinks are also available for a price. A glass of white wine is $5. (For the record, I remember this from previous trips.) There were several TV’s, of course, and in what was a much appreciated feature, some of them have the remote control available. This lets you can change channels if you are tired of CNN nattering at you.
The lounge (VIP Lounge 2) was only steps from our departure gate. We boarded quickly and were soon settled in our seats. The staff was friendly and attentive. An attendant named Johnny was pleasantly chatty and offered us a choice of orange or mango juice. I had been expecting a bloody mary or a mimosa, but no alcohol was offered then or at any time during the flight. Ah, well. Also not offered was an accessory kit, so I’m not able to review that.
The seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration, were comfortable enough and provided plenty of leg room. The leg rest on my seat worked fine, but the back failed to recline. I could have easily changed seats if this had been a bother since the business section was only about half full. It did not seem worth the trouble for a 90 minute flight. We were served a breakfast of sliced ham and cheese with bread and fresh fruit. Nothing spectacular, but tasty and filling. The bread was warm and fresh and the breakfast was especially enjoyable as we had left too early to enjoy breakfast at the hotel. This was the only menu item on offer.
The Flight Home
The Lima, Peru airport at midmorning was busier than the Guayaquil airport is early in the day, no surprise. Even so, there was only one person in front of us at the check-in so we did not have a long wait. The woman behind the counter was courteous and professional and we were soon on our way.
The first step after clearing immigration and security was to find the Claro kiosk to return our rented local cell phone chip. The kiosk was on the mezzanine on the second floor and took a few minutes to find, but eventually we spotted it.
With that obligation discharged, we had nothing to do but wait for our flight so we decided to visit the Duty Free shop. The shop contained a good selection of Peru-related items. The alpaca scarves and jackets made selecting a last minute present and a couple of souvenir items very easy. We also bought a couple of souvenir bottles of pisco to try our hand at making pisco sours back home. (During our time in Lima, we occasionally saw references to “pisco gin” but it is a type of brandy.)
Our plane (a Boeing 767-300) was identical to the one we had flown down in except this time my seat (2C, again) reclined perfectly. Once we had settled in, an attendant offered us a choice of sparkling wine or a pisco sour. As with the flight down, we were not offered an accessory kit. Lunch, served shortly after takeoff, was a cold salad with chicken. I was afraid the chicken would be overcooked and rubbery. It was a pleasant surprise to discover it was well prepared, tender and juicy and was quite enjoyable. The salad was the only menu item on offer. We were not offered wine or cocktails with our lunch.
Travelers accustomed to transoceanic business class flights will likely find Latam’s Guayaquil-Lima service rather spare. This was, in fact, the case. Having said that, I should also point out that both flights were comfortable and the level of service was quite good. The flight attendants were noteworthy in this regard. Every one we interacted with was professional, cheerful and friendly. They seemed to enjoy being there and were not just grinding through a shift. Their attitudes contributed a lot to our enjoyment of the flights.