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Topic: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: comeflywithme
Posted 2010-10-11 07:22:57 and read 18621 times.

I had last flown TAM three years ago soon after they started the GRU-LHR service on the A330. I had read some mixed reviews since and wondered if the product had, like most other major airlines J product been affected by cost cutting….it would be interesting to find out.
The ever reliable Ricardo arrived bang on time for the usual 2 hour road trip to Ezeiza. It was a glorious winter’s day as we sped along Ruta cinco.



A couple of hours later we safely arrived at a quiet Ezeiza and headed for the TAM check-in area.
The pre-check before entering the proper check-in queue was manned by two TAM female agents one of whom asked to see our tickets and passports. My wife was travelling with her Argentine passport and there wasn’t a problem. However, my UK passport attracted more attention. Despite me having lived in Argentina for three years without a problem my Argentine permanent resident visa stamp wasn't good enough for her. She asked for my DNI (Argentina ID card). I explained that after months and months of waiting it was still in line to be processed…….she wasn’t happy and said that she couldn’t let me through until I produced some evidence of this.

I couldn’t believe it…I was a legal Argentine resident flying to my country of citizenship albeit via GRU and she wasn’t going to allow me to fly. My wife always carries real documents and photocopies of just about every piece of paperwork we could possibly need but on this occasion she didn’t have the necessary receipt showing my DNI application. She panicked, I started to panic then I noticed the slip of paper inside the front cover of my passport showing a number. I asked my wife what it was and she recognised it as my DNI application reference number.
We showed it to the girl who was having none of it as it didn’t mean a thing to her. She advised we go round to arrivals where there is a immigration office situated and ask them if there was anything they could do. What a flippin’ palaver this was turning out to be. I remembered I had gone through the same carry-on at immigration two years previously but I didn't expect it from the airline.

We found the immigration desk and informed the officer of the problem. He didn’t know what all the fuss was about and after typing away on his keyboard printed off a sheet of A4 showing details of my DNI application. We went back to the TAM girl showed her it and she finally allowed us through to check-in…..not a great start to the trip at all. We were checked-in no problem by a efficient agent who issued us with both sets of boarding passes with the seats I had pre-selected months before.

Security was the quietest I had ever seen it at Ezeiza with no queues at all. Immigration next which was also quiet and we were quickly through that as well. After the shenanigans at the TAM check-in I was in need of a drink so after a quick stop at Duty Free we headed for the Amex lounge.



It had been redesigned since my last visit and what a horrible job they have made of it. Gone is the view of the apron, that part of the lounge seems to be reserved for top Amex card holders only. The food and drinks on offer were a joke so we hastily made for the exit and went to the RCC lounge instead.



This is a decent lounge with a nice atmosphere and enough food and drink to keep one happy. The staff are all very nice as well. We spent over a hour in there relaxing nibbling and having a couple of drinks.
Soon it was time to board which happened not long after we arrived at the gate where our A330 was waiting.



Upon entering the A330 I was pleased to see it was the latest TAM seat and not the older one which I thought it would be. We were in the small cabin with only two rows of 2-2-2 seats just behind First Class section.

http://public.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pUPYeoSx80emQKwZDnXqghuoIWfIGCU-FJICKqiUF6UbdIXYsZLaPtJXfOCeFKUdwIUASeff9tWagPIAqZ_LXMw/Cabin.jpg?psid=1

We were offered a choice of water or orange juice as a pre-take off drink.



One thing that has changed on this route is the small amenity kit that you used to get has disappeared….hardly surprising given the length of the flight to Sao Paulo. Menus, newspapers and hot towels were given and not long after the on time departure meal orders were taken.



My wife didn’t fancy either choice of the main meals and asked if she could have two of the appetizers instead. They were very accommodating to this request and assured her that if they had enough that would not be a problem. I opted for the salmon in saffron sauce. I have to say the meal was tasty along with the wine. The crew were attentive and like most TAM crew were young and enthusiastic.



Sao Paulo

We had more than enough connection time to visit the shops and the TAM lounge which I remembered well from my last visit through GRU. The lounge hasn’t changed apart from the piano being moved along a bit. When quiet, the lounge is adequate but tonight it was very busy and claustrophobic. Seats were hard to come by but we did mange to squeeze ourselves into two after helping ourselves to some filled rolls and drinks.
After a flight to N America was called it did make for more space but they really need to improve the lounge facilities. For a home hub lounge it just isn’t suitable any longer especially with the increase on late departure European routes they now serve.

We decided to leave the lounge before the flight was called and headed for the gate. Boarding was somewhat civilised with a designated line for premium passengers but it was by no means ideal……as the flight was full.

GRU-LHR 777-300

We settled ourselves down into our seats in the smaller of the two business cabins. I would strongly recommend choosing this cabin as it does give a more exclusive feel than the larger biz cabin with only three rows of 2-3-2 seating situated just behind the very small F cabin.



Pre-departure Champagne was offered along with a quite substantial amenity kit. The usual menus, newspapers followed. As I said the flight was choc a block full but the small cabin allowed the ambience of biz class to be maintained. The seats were identical to the ones we had on the A330 although the large IFE screens were located on the seat backs this time.



We departed on time which was pleasing. With the departure so close to midnight it was good to see that the meal service was started quickly. Food choice was decent enough. Although the carrot and cream soup could have done with being hotter it was delicious as was the fish which was of a variety I had never heard of before......''weakfish''. I went for the cheeses to finish the meal rather than take a dessert.



As we were heading into the sunrise it was only a couple of hours till it was daylight as I found when lifting the window blind to have a peek out. I watched some IFE of which there was a decent choice but soon nodded off to sleep. I had a decent enough sleep by my standards as I always have problems sleeping on aircraft no matter how comfortable the seat is.
Breakfast was served….the usual cold meat, cheese, croissant, yoghurt, coffee affair and was decent enough as breakfasts go. I call it breakfast but we were now into the afternoon UK time.



I saw on the flight map that instead of us taking a direct approach over the north of Spain over the Bay of Biscay and into northern France we were staying well away from French airspace. I knew that there was industrial action going on with the French ATC (nothing new there) so assumed that this was the reason for straying off the most direct routing. It didn’t hold us up much and we landed a few minutes late into LHR.



TAM have maintained a decent Biz class product without any noticeable cost cutting compared to the other major airlines who serve the TATL routes. I will almost certainly fly with them again.
The young crew are delightful as well as being very professional. As always they seem eager to please. Despite reading a review that their command of the English language was poor I have never found this on any of my flights both on these two flights as well as previous ones. There was no gathering in the galley for a chat either I noticed during my night visit to the toilet. Two of them were positioned quietly at each side of the galley seated on their jump seats ready to serve if you requested anything……that is refreshing to see nowadays.
Only slight disappointment was the long wait for our baggage at LHR. Priority it certainly wasn’t. In fact I was just about to go to the desk and report it lost when my wife shouted out that it had appeared. So glad were we to see it that it wasn’t really an issue in the end.

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: Rogerbcn
Posted 2010-10-11 07:50:26 and read 18476 times.

Hola Comeflywithme!

Thanks for this non-usual TR on TAM on this route.

It seems to offer a pretty decent hard product, although I do not like the 2-3-2 seating, I think 3 seats in J is never a good idea, the idea of bothering passengers to get out of the seat does not sound very good to me.

I like the way TAM serves their meals, those metal and crystal containers are quite different from what you see around.

Did breakfast come with any hot offerings? Taking into account it lands in LHR at noon I think you should get a more filling meal.

The paperwork episode at EZE, well, I have nothing to say you live in Argentina and you know about it, don't you?  

Salut!

Roger

[Edited 2010-10-11 08:15:41]

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: AI151
Posted 2010-10-11 08:46:04 and read 18262 times.

Hey comeflywithme,

A nice TR on a route and an airline that has always interested me. TAM's Business Class offerings look of very good standards. How were the seats in general?

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
I couldn’t believe it…I was a legal Argentine resident flying to my country of citizenship albeit via GRU and she wasn’t going to allow me to fly. My wife always carries real documents and photocopies of just about every piece of paperwork we could possibly need but on this occasion she didn’t have the necessary receipt showing my DNI application. She panicked, I started to panic then I noticed the slip of paper inside the front cover of my passport showing a number. I asked my wife what it was and she recognised it as my DNI application reference number.
We showed it to the girl who was having none of it as it didn’t mean a thing to her. She advised we go round to arrivals where there is a immigration office situated and ask them if there was anything they could do. What a flippin’ palaver this was turning out to be. I remembered I had gone through the same carry-on at immigration two years previously but I didn't expect it from the airline.

That sounds very odd, I'm surprised she didn't say anything about how you entered the country? Surely you didn't have any problems there so its weird that you did when leaving.

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
I opted for the salmon in saffron sauce. I have to say the meal was tasty along with the wine.

Food looked very nice and tasty. My favourite being the chocolate cake you had for dessert.

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
There was no gathering in the galley for a chat either I noticed during my night visit to the toilet. Two of them were positioned quietly at each side of the galley seated on their jump seats ready to serve if you requested anything……that is refreshing to see nowadays.

Always a good sight to see which probably doesn't happen on many airlines.

Sandeep (AI151)

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2010-10-11 08:59:45 and read 18213 times.

Hi Comeflywithme,

Good to see you travelling again, it's been a while since your last one!

I've a segment on TAM next year from EZE to GRU so this was of interest, suspect it's the same flight you took.

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
We found the immigration desk and informed the officer of the problem. He didn’t know what all the fuss was about and after typing away on his keyboard printed off a sheet of A4 showing details of my DNI application

- Good job this chap was there, would have been a real problem otherwise.

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
It had been redesigned since my last visit and what a horrible job they have made of it. Gone is the view of the apron, that part of the lounge seems to be reserved for top Amex card holders only. The food and drinks on offer were a joke

- Is this the standard TAM appointed lounge @ EZE? - Not keen on lounges with limited apron views.

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
With the departure so close to midnight it was good to see that the meal service was started quickly. Food choice was decent enough

- Foold looks fine, not normally keen on it all served pretty much together but given the late departure time makes sense.

Quoting comeflywithme (Thread starter):
Breakfast was served….the usual cold meat, cheese, croissant, yoghurt, coffee affair and was decent enough as breakfasts go. I call it breakfast but we were now into the afternoon UK time.

- I find breakfast always seems to be the weakest link these days, that said, looks like a reasonable spread given the time of day.

Best Wishes

Mark

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2010-10-11 09:29:35 and read 18094 times.

The universality of how temporary residents are treated everywhere in the world continue to (sadly) amuse me. Having said that, I am surprised at how weird this TAM agent was. I have gone through a zillion times EZE and have found people to be just awesome. But then again, I tend to usually find Argentinians to be greatly warm people ... and can usually "handle" the "mean" ones with smiles, jokes, and words  .

I am glad the rest of the flight went well. Good to see TAM continue to be consistent in the delivert in their J cabin. These are the lie-flat seats right?

Saludos,
A.

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: comeflywithme
Posted 2010-10-11 14:14:29 and read 17533 times.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 1):

Did breakfast come with any hot offerings? Taking into account it lands in LHR at noon I think you should get a more filling meal

Hi....No hot offerings just cold. To be honest both my wife and I weren't all that hungry so what we got was adequate.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 2):
How were the seats in general?

I found the seats very comfortable.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 2):
That sounds very odd, I'm surprised she didn't say anything about how you entered the country? Surely you didn't have any problems there so its weird that you did when leaving.

Hi...yes my feelings as well. It was all very strange. I just wonder if she was getting mixed up with the rules....she did sound a bit naive to be honest but I just had to comply.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):
I've a segment on TAM next year from EZE to GRU so this was of interest, suspect it's the same flight you took.

Hi Mark yes I've been quiet of late. I need to read up on some of your reports that I've missed. TAM have several flights a day on the GRU-EZE route mostly operated on A320 equipment. If you can try and get yourself on a A330 as they are much more comfortable.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):

- Is this the standard TAM appointed lounge @ EZE? - Not keen on lounges with limited apron views.

Indeed it is and pretty awful it is too. Given the choice between the AMEX lounge and the airport facilities I would prefer finding a cafe in departures and having a view of the airfield.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 4):
I am glad the rest of the flight went well. Good to see TAM continue to be consistent in the delivert in their J cabin. These are the lie-flat seats right?

The seats are flat but angled although to be honest I never fully retracted mine.

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2010-10-11 14:35:22 and read 17462 times.

Quoting comeflywithme (Reply 5):
TAM have several flights a day on the GRU-EZE route mostly operated on A320 equipment. If you can try and get yourself on a A330 as they are much more comfortable.

- I'm booked on the A330 flight, arriving from SCL on a LA 763 then connecting to the TAM flight, gives me about 3 hours spottingtime in EZE.

Quoting comeflywithme (Reply 5):
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):

- Is this the standard TAM appointed lounge @ EZE? - Not keen on lounges with limited apron views.

Indeed it is and pretty awful it is too. Given the choice between the AMEX lounge and the airport facilities I would prefer finding a cafe in departures and having a view of the airfield.

- Thanks, I'll sit in the cafe and spot from there.

Cheers

Mark

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: 767747
Posted 2010-10-11 16:06:54 and read 17277 times.

Good report! Nice to read about TAM; you don't hear too much about this airline! The food and service looks to be quite good in J ..

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: Marambio
Posted 2010-10-17 00:10:43 and read 15306 times.

Thanks for the report. It is nice to see flights ex-EZE covered on A.net  

The immigration episode sounds very odd to me too. Even though I'm an Argentine national myself, I know quite a few permanent residents who never had any trouble when leaving the country. This said, I have my own set of stories regarding check-in agents and personal IDs at EZE. A couple of years ago, an agent wouldn't allow me to check-in for a flight to MVD because I hadn't brought my passport, even though it is well-known that Argentines can enter Uruguay by just showing their DNI.

I'm also (positively) surprised by our immigration authority, which amazingly has a software that allows you to print your immigration status on the spot. Usually I'd have bet that they would send you back to the main office in downtown Buenos Aires, thus making you miss your flight!

Glad you had a good flight. I've tried TAM's J class a couple of times, albeit on the A320, and found it to be nice, especially the food!

Saludos,
Marambio

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: MSS658
Posted 2010-10-17 00:24:12 and read 15291 times.

Nice report!! It seems like TAM haves a very good product.

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: comeflywithme
Posted 2010-10-17 14:28:37 and read 14893 times.

Thanks for the comments guys....

Quoting Marambio (Reply 8):
The immigration episode sounds very odd to me too. Even though I'm an Argentine national myself, I know quite a few permanent residents who never had any trouble when leaving the country. This said, I have my own set of stories regarding check-in agents and personal IDs at EZE. A couple of years ago, an agent wouldn't allow me to check-in for a flight to MVD because I hadn't brought my passport, even though it is well-known that Argentines can enter Uruguay by just showing their DNI.

I'm 100% sure she hadn't the foggiest what she was doing to be honest. I have had this problem before when leaving Argentina only that time it was immigration who weren't satisfied with me only having a permanent resident visa stamp in my passport rather than a DNI. All very comical as I never have a problem entering the country.  

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: Avianca
Posted 2010-10-17 16:02:45 and read 14787 times.

very nice report! Have to say that the food on J Class did not convince me, specially the breakfast!

thank you
Avianca

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: comeflywithme
Posted 2010-10-17 17:54:54 and read 14705 times.

Quoting Avianca (Reply 11):
very nice report! Have to say that the food on J Class did not convince me, specially the breakfast!

thank you
Avianca

Hi Avianca.....I can see why as it doesn't look too great in the pictures. However unlike some "fancy" Biz Class food of certain airlines I could mention this "simple" food tasted great and was at least hot and not lukewarm.  

Breakfast was fine not much different from many transatlantic flights of the same duration.

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: C010T3
Posted 2010-10-30 09:46:29 and read 13251 times.

Quoting comeflywithme (Reply 5):
TAM have several flights a day on the GRU-EZE route mostly operated on A320 equipment.

Actually, they are now split half-and-half. Three daily flights are operated by the 332 and another three by the 320.

Topic: RE: TAM Biz Class EZE-GRU-LHR
Username: fidelidade
Posted 2012-12-28 16:38:55 and read 5426 times.

Very nice to see TAM being its normal self. I wish service was more like Asia, and the seats still are OK. Not bad like those ones on Air France where I have to then go to my chiropractter, but still not like one on Singapore where I can dream away.


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