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The Withering Ultra-Longhauler: TAM A345/MXP-GRU  
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 18381 times:




Welcome to my 2nd tripreport!

This report covers my recent flight aboard TAM's A340-500 from Milan Malpensa (MXP) to São Paulo-Guarulhos (GRU).




Whereas in my report about my first flight on this itinerary from MUC to MXP,

A Failed Escape From The Drunkards: EN/Y/MUC-MXP (by volvair Oct 13 2011 in Trip Reports)

I did not yet explain my full itinerary. I shall do so now:

It is, that I am off to La Paz, Bolivia for a couple of months. Sadly, flights from Europe to Bolivia tend to be rather pricey. Among the cheapest connections available from Munich is a BA/AA combo for about 1250€, including the enourmous pleasure of spending a 7 hour red-eye in an AA 757. No thanks. So, one has to be creative in order to lower prices and get more interesting airline and aircraft combinations.

So, I spent several days looking into the many options you have from Europe to South America. My main criteria for the flights beside the price were the existence of IFE (which completetly ruled out Iberia), no transit in the US and no overnight layover at an airport. Due to the limited amount of South American hubs from where LPB can be conveniently reached (GRU, EZE, LIM, to a lesser extent maybe also SCL and GIG), the number of possibilities is quickly reduced. In the end I fixed up an itinerary ex-MXP featuring the TAM A340-500 to GRU and a connection on AeroSur via VVI to LPB on the outbound.

The A340-500 is a rare species, not only in TAM's fleet with only two examples, but also in general, with only 32 delivered frames. Since the arrival of the 772LR - at the latest - there are only very few routes where the employment of this ultra-longhauler proves economically sensible. About one month before my departure, TAM came to this very conclusion:

Tam To Reduce Offer To Europe, A345 To Be Grounded (by LipeGIG Aug 30 2011 in Civil Aviation)

...but luckily it turned out that TAM would change the equipment from an A345 to an A332 six days after my departure. Boy, was I relieved!

My itinerary included a very long layover in GRU (11 hours), but I did not plan to visit the city, instead I chose to spend the time at the airport, spotting and lounge-hopping.

The AeroSur flights GRU-VVI and VVI-LPB were scheduled to be operated by a B734 and B733, respectively, but who came across this thread,

Aerosur 727 Question - Urgent (by ogre727 Aug 16 2011 in Aviation Polls)

knows about how reliable this information is.



Milan Malpensa Airport

After my arrival from my previous flight I made my way up the escalators to the departure level at MXP. At the FIDS, I located my check-in area.


So far, JJ8063 seems to be on time this evening


The ckeck-in area is very crowded, no wonder, with the EK flight to Dubai and WY to Muscat sharing the check-in area with TAM.


Lots of passengers with lots of luggage.


There were a total of five check-in desks for our flight this evening, one for business class, one for passengers with need for special attention and three check-in desks for economy passengers. I lined up and after twenty minutes, shortly before it was my turn, I was approached by a TAM employee enquiring about my destination. After leaving with my passport and typing something into her computer she told me that my luggage will not be sent through to La Paz. Instead I would have to claim it in GRU and check it in with AeroSur. Well, seeing as I had an 11 hour layover and was not planning to leave GRU anyway, I would have asked to send my suitcase only to GRU, even if TAM and AeroSur would interline.

After that, I went up to the check-in counter where I was attended by a friendly agent. He informed my in detail about the connection procedure in GRU and also requested an emergency telephone number from me. Although I had problems understanding his English at times, he already left a positive impression of his company. After that, I made a beeline for security and passport control, considering the EK, WY and AZ crowds to come after me. I cleared security and only about one hour after I stepped off the Air Dolomiti E195 which brought me to MXP I found myself in the boarding area of my flight to São Paulo-Guarulhos.


A less crowded part of MXP's check-in area


On the escalator down to security


The walkway to the gates


Airside shops

MXP FIDS and Signage


Air China A330-200


Gate B10 today for flight JJ8063


I quickly gave up on spotting as there was not much to see around the gate and taking photos of the airplanes parked at the gates proved to be difficult due to the reflections at the terminal windows. Instead, I settled down on one of those comfortable chairs with legrests they have in MXP and browsed through the latest Time and Newsweek issues which I nicked from the Air China gate area.

About 45 minutes before scheduled time of departure, boarding for our flight began. Whereas business class passengers and those needing special attention where invited to board first, economy passengers were asked to line up in two rows, depending on their seat number. The whole boarding process was indeed quite civilized.


Boarding for our flight commences




03 October 2011
TAM Linhas Aéreas
Flight JJ8063

2200-0500(+1) (arrival 15 minutes early)
Airbus A340-500
PT-MSN


Pictures of PT-MSN from the database:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Marco Toso - Malpensa Spotters Group
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Roberto Rios



Previously registered as C-GKOL:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mark Tang
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Greg Gabbidon - t.dot photography



The aircraft was delivered to Air Canada in July 2004 and TAM has been leasing it from Air Canada since November 2007. This is the reason why you do not come across the "Magic Red Carpet", as TAM advertises itself but the original green/greyish Air Canada cabin.


Heading for my seat


Seats with blankets (on some seats they were red, on some olive-green), pillows and headphones.


I booked the flights through a German online travel agency. As soon as I had the Amadeus booking code, I could select my preferred seat on the TAM website. Extra legroom seats, however, were not available.


Settling in. Legroom is okay.


I am seated in an aisle seat in the third last row in the middle block. Due to the narrower aircraft in the back, there are only three seats in the middle. The 32'' legroom seems quite okay. I found the seats quite comfortable. They had a nice recline but also slit forward. Even when the seat in front of me was reclined, I did not feel too confined.


The overhead panel


The safety card


It turned out that this flight was booked solid in economy on this Monday evening. Before departure, the crew came around and distributed water cups and candy. Also, amenity kits were handed out before departure, containing toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and earplugs. So far, great service by TAM.


Pre-departure cup of water


Time for candy! Pre-departure passion fruit butter toffee. A very nice touch.


Amenity kit


Then I started exploring the AVOD IFE. Just like the interior of the plane, the IFE is also Air Canada's, TAM have just placed the logo of their "Nas Nuvens" system over the "enRoute" logo.


The IFE on TAM's A340-500


As it is Air Canada's system, it is no surprise that you have the choice between English and French as menu language.


The system featured a "New Release" movie category, with about a dozen features, as well as a Brazilian category as well as a few classic movies.


'


Additionally, there was also a decent selection of music as well as some short comedy episodes and documentaries.


The picture quality was nothing to write home about.


Neither was the movie...


What I strongly missed, however, was an airshow. When I am flying half way around the globe at night I want to know where I am. Unfortunately the IFE did not have that feature. Still, I found a picture from sistership C-GKOM (from Air Canada times) in the database, with drop down screens featuring the airshow. So, I guess they also existed on my aircraft. If that is so, it is a pity TAM did not use them!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kazim Alikhan - t.dot photography



Shortly before pushback the captain came on the speakers, wished the passengers a nice flight and announced a flight time of 11 hours and 40 minutes. This would be my longest flight to date. We then taxied out for our departure for a gently takeoff in northern direction. About half an hour after takeoff, the in-flight service commenced with the distribution of hot towels.


Pre-dinner hot towel


After that, dinner service started. At about 1 hour and 15 minutes after takeoff I was asked "Pasta" or "Paella". I chose the latter which turned out to be cheese tortellini. They were quite alright. The best part of the meal however was the chickpea salad, as it did not only taste good, but also was quite filling in addition to the tortellini. The dessert, Crema Catalana, however, tasted quite bland.


drumroll...


Ta Da! Doesn't look too bad, does it?


After Dinner service the lights were dimmed and most of the passengers went to sleep. During the night, the flight attendants passed through the cabin with water cups every hour or so. They also set up water cups for self-service in the galley. I finished my movie and then managed about 4 hours of sleep. Then I paid a visit to the loo and the rear galley. In the galley I chatted a little bit with a flight attendant about the aircraft being soon grounded. He said, he did not mind at all, he preferred the 777 anyway.


A shot of the cabin shortly before it was lights out.


The rear galley


Notice the crew shift plan for the flight


A lavatory at about mid-flight


I then went back to watching a movie and trying to sleep. About 90 minutes before landing, breakfast service started with hot towels again. We were given the choice between a hot breakfast and a sandwich, I chose the hot breakfast which turned out to be a slice of Spanish tortilla with a sausage and a grape/melon/pineapple fruit salad. It was a good start to the day.


It's time for breakfast


We then landed in GRU and docked at our jetway about 15 minutes before our scheduled arrival time.

Having a very long layover, I decided to leave the plane as one of the last passengers. While waiting for the other passengers to leave the aircraft, I talked to another flight attendant about the upcoming grounding of the aircraft. For a passenger, she said, the A340 would be much more comfortable than the 777. Upon leaving, I took the opportunity to shoot some cabin pictures.


Y cabin seen from the back


'


J cabin after a long flight


Forward J cabin


Forward galley


Farewell, it was a nice ride!


Except for parts of the livery, there was nothing red about this plane

PT-MSN at GRU


Goodbye, PT-MSN. If you will fly again for TAM?


São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport

I then cleared passport control (took about half an hour waiting time), claimed my luggage and went outside for a quick fix of oxygen. Then I went back into the terminal and used the soft morning light for a quick spotting session.

GRU curbside


'


A Lufthansa couple. A340-300 from MUC, B747-400 from FRA


'


'


The Avianca livery looks great on the A330


'


A bunch of red tails and a 727 in the back


Copa touching down in the back. A long flight for a 737


Catering for PT-MZE



After this short viewing-terrace intermezzo I still had to kill more than 9 hours at GRU before my next flight was due to depart. Luckily, my Diners Club membership grants me access to 3 lounges in GRU, 2 of which are located landside and can be visited without a boarding pass. I didn't take any photos of the lounges, but here is a short verdict:

Generic Diners Club Lounge, located in the corridor between Terminal 1 and 2, landside:

This was, at least from my impression, the newest lounge of all the three I visited. Food and beverage offerings are very, very poor, only coffee, tea, hot chocolate and selected soft drinks are available from bartenders. Food is limited to crackers only. You get served water in a 0.15l glass, which was just ridiculous. There are also no showers available. There are no tarmac views and only limited natural light. The advantage is that this lounge offers unrestricted internet access with a fast connection whereas in the other lounges you get a WiFi-Code that is only good for 2 hours. It was just because of that and the comfortable chairs with legrests that I spent more than 4 hours in there. It was also the only lounge I visited which featured a FIDS.

Smiles VIP lounge, terminal 2, landside, at the entrance to Domestic departures:

An older Varig lounge with showers (hot and powerful). The lounge shows its age, but it has some heated finger food (not too bad mini-quiches) and pre-packed sandwiches. Beer is also available. With tarmac views.

Concluding remarks

I was pleasantly surprised by TAM. From the friendly check-in agent to the quality of the meals, from the no-nonsense service to the on-time performance and the equipment used, my expectations where fulfilled. If I had to criticize something about TAM it would be the imperfect knowledge of English both from the check-in agent to the cabin crew. The announcements from the purser were hard to understand and the conversations with the flight attendants were limited to very small smalltalk. I realized only after the flight that I maybe should have communicated with them in Castellano. Also, one could complain about the size and the picture quality of the IFE screens. But if you book a much more expensive LH flight ex-FRA you will probably end up not having an IFE at all, so only limited complaints here. It is a pity that TAM is grounding their two A340-500s. I had a nice overnight flight on the A345 and they are simply great looking machines. It would be nice to see them return in the next year.

My next tripreport will cover the last two segments of my journey to Bolivia, with AeroSur from GRU to LPB via VVI. You will like the aircrafts I got to fly on, so stay tuned!

Thank you for reading!

Feedback is greatly appreciated!


[Edited 2011-10-22 15:26:17]

39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6414 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 18204 times:

Hi

Very nice report with nice pictures!

TAM looks very good here especially the food looks great!

Good that you were able to fly the 345 before JJ grounded them which is too bad but very understandable.

I guess the F/As were very good looking ? That was my experience when I flew them last year in July. They all looked like models something that's unusual these days.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 17639 times:

Hi The777Man, thanks for commenting!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 1):

Very nice report with nice pictures!

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 1):
TAM looks very good here especially the food looks great!

Yes, TAM definitely impressed.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 1):
I guess the F/As were very good looking ?

Well, they were young and from Brazil, so   


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6658 posts, RR: 78
Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 17513 times:

Servus volvair,

great report with many nice pictures, well done! I had been hoping you would really present a TAM A345 report after mentioning that option in your first report.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
It is, that I am off to La Paz, Bolivia for a couple of months.

Very interesting!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
which completetly ruled out Iberia

Yeah, that's what I would have done, too. But believe it or not, they just announced to refurbish the A346 cabins. Y Class seats will get PTVs from 2012.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
In the end I fixed up an itinerary ex-MXP featuring the TAM A340-500 to GRU and a connection on AeroSur via VVI to LPB on the outbound.

Very good choice.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
...but luckily it turned out that TAM would change the equipment from an A345 to an A332 six days after my departure. Boy, was I relieved!

Yes, you were really lucky. What a downgrade!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
This is the reason why you do not come across the "Magic Red Carpet", as TAM advertises itself but the original green/greyish Air Canada cabin.

Wow, I hadn't expected to find the old AC seats on these planes. The green color looks so inappropriate on TAM.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Settling in. Legroom is okay.

Didn't the footrest bother you? Actually I don't like them, because they take away space.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Before departure, the crew came around and distributed water cups and candy. Also, amenity kits were handed out before departure, containing toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and earplugs. So far, great service by TAM.

That's quite impressive!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
What I strongly missed, however, was an airshow. When I am flying half way around the globe at night I want to know where I am. Unfortunately the IFE did not have that feature. Still, I found a picture from sistership C-GKOM (from Air Canada times) in the database, with drop down screens featuring the airshow. So, I guess they also existed on my aircraft. If that is so, it is a pity TAM did not use them!

Ah, I would have been very dissapointed as well!   

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I chose the latter which turned out to be cheese tortellini. They were quite alright. The best part of the meal however was the chickpea salad, as it did not only taste good, but also was quite filling in addition to the tortellini.

That looks nice - and it's a bit different from the usual meals.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
He said, he did not mind at all, he preferred the 777 anyway.

Did he give any reason?

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I chose the hot breakfast which turned out to be a slice of Spanish tortilla with a sausage

Hm, that's not too bad - but it looks as if something is missing.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The Avianca livery looks great on the A330

Especially in the early morning sun!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
My next tripreport will cover the last two segments of my journey to Bolivia, with AeroSur from GRU to LPB via VVI. You will like the aircrafts I got to fly on, so stay tuned!

Well, according to ATDB a 727 and a 732 are still active - so I guess we will see one of these. Or both?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2985 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 17304 times:

Hi Volvair.

nice report, especially since it's your first series!

And good to catch the A340-500 just in time  

Keep up the good work!

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17130 times:
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Hi Volvair,

Great report and pictures, really enjoyed, thanks for sharing.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
TAM would change the equipment from an A345 to an A332 six days after my departure. Boy, was I relieved!

- You were lucky! I tried to get on one of these 2 machines earlier in the year, however on my dates there were no mileage redemption opportunities  
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The aircraft was delivered to Air Canada in July 2004 and TAM has been leasing it from Air Canada since November 2007. This is the reason why you do not come across the "Magic Red Carpet", as TAM advertises itself but the original green/greyish Air Canada cabin.

- I've always hated the old fabric AC used to use, it's just so horrible to look at.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Before departure, the crew came around and distributed water cups and candy. Also, amenity kits were handed out before departure, containing toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and earplugs.

- Now this is very impressive, not the kind of service you expect in Y these days.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
As it is Air Canada's system, it is no surprise that you have the choice between English and French as menu language

- For those unaware of the planes history, they must find it quite odd to find just English & French.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
About half an hour after takeoff, the in-flight service commenced with the distribution of hot towels.

- Again, impressive!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
At about 1 hour and 15 minutes after takeoff I was asked "Pasta" or "Paella". I chose the latter which turned out to be cheese tortellini. They were quite alright. The best part of the meal however was the chickpea salad, as it did not only taste good, but also was quite filling in addition to the tortellini. The dessert, Crema Catalana, however, tasted quite bland.

- Not a bad looking meal, I like the chickpea salad, deserts can be pretty bland, not much effort seems to go into them these days.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
About 90 minutes before landing, breakfast service started with hot towels again. We were given the choice between a hot breakfast and a sandwich, I chose the hot breakfast which turned out to be a slice of Spanish tortilla with a sausage and a grape/melon/pineapple fruit salad. It was a good start to the day.

- A tad small but nice to get tortilla, makes a change from the usual scrambled eggs.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I talked to another flight attendant about the upcoming grounding of the aircraft. For a passenger, she said, the A340 would be much more comfortable than the 777

- Quite true, especially in Y.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The Avianca livery looks great on the A330

- Totally agree, stunning!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
My next tripreport will cover the last two segments of my journey to Bolivia, with AeroSur from GRU to LPB via VVI. You will like the aircrafts I got to fly on, so stay tuned!

- Excellent, can't wait!

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 900 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17084 times:

Cool trip report! Thanks for sharing.

MXP was nicer than I thought it would be and I am pressed at the orderly boarding process!


User currently offlineROGERBCN From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1194 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16985 times:

Hola Volvair!

Great report, thanks for sharing.

It is very nice to read about TAM, that despite their extensive network is not very much represented here. The A345 is a great addition to this forum as it is as well very underrepresented here. Despite the odd idea of flying a Brazilian plane with AC interiors and AC IFE it looks quite interesting.

I am not a fan of old AC seats and colors but they were not very uncomfortable, if I remember well.

Meals and service seem very adequate to me, especially the idea of distributing amenity kits, which is very strange for Y passengers these days.

Glad to learn that IB is finally going for PTV in Y in the coming year.

I do not like MXP, except for the big windows overlooking the tarmac which are great fun to spend time at looking at all the operations.

Looking forward to reading your experiences in Aerosur.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineLH4532 From Germany, joined Sep 2011, 81 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16897 times:

Hello volvair ,

You have written a very interesting Trip Report . In my opinion there aren´t that much Trip Reports written , about TAM here on the website .

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I was attended by a friendly agen

A friendly Check-In agent is a always a good start   .

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The whole boarding process was indeed quite civilized.

That´s great .

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Amenity kit

That is a very nice looking Amenity kit . It looks very well filled .


Thanks for sharing this Trip Report . It was a very nice Sunday morning read .


I´m looking forward reading the upcoming part   .


LH4531


User currently offlineLH4532 From Germany, joined Sep 2011, 81 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16891 times:

LH4532 , I mean . My bad   .

User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 677 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 16594 times:

Hi volvair,

great report again, thanks for sharing. You took an interesting itinerary here to get to Bolivia. But you are right, after ruling out some options like no overnight at an airport, no transfer in the US, this seems to be the most logical route. And good for us to read something about TAM, that airline doesn't seem to be covered here very often.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
...but luckily it turned out that TAM would change the equipment from an A345 to an A332 six days after my departure. Boy, was I relieved!

Wow, you were quite lucky here, the A340-500 is indeed a rare aircraft. Nice catch.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
What I strongly missed, however, was an airshow.

Now that's quite a downside, it shouldn't be too hard to implement an airshow into the IFE.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Ta Da! Doesn't look too bad, does it?

Yes, that looks good, and a generous portion as well, also the breakfast looks quite good.

Glad you had a nice experience with TAM. Now I am looking forward to read about your onward journey to La Paz.

CaptainRed


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 16487 times:

Great so see many replies!


Servus PH,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
But believe it or not, they just announced to refurbish the A346 cabins. Y Class seats will get PTVs from 2012.

Definitely an investment that will pay off, seeing as they have among their fleet the youngest A346 to plow the skies. But would they have reached the decision to implement IFE in their flagship without BA so "soon" as well?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Didn't the footrest bother you?

You were able to stow it away, so it did not bother me at all.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Did he give any reason?

Due to his limited English skills it took us long enough to reach this point of the conversation. But I guess it's because the 777s are newer. However, I don't know how this implicates the work of the crew on board.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
but it looks as if something is missing.

Some sauce, beans or tomatoes would have been nice.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
so I guess we will see one of these. Or both?

 



Hi signol!

Quoting signol (Reply 4):
nice report, especially since it's your first series!

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Hi Mark,

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 5):
Great report and pictures, really enjoyed, thanks for sharing.

Thanks!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 5):
however on my dates there were no mileage redemption opportunities

Aah that's too bad. A business class report of those birds would have certainly been a nice complement to your great South America series.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 5):
Now this is very impressive, not the kind of service you expect in Y these days.

Yes, I was already pretty impressed by TAM even before we pushed back.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 5):
For those unaware of the planes history, they must find it quite odd to find just English & French

There were in fact may people having trouble with the IFE, not knowing how to navigate through it etc... Considering it was mostly Italian/Brasilian VFR traffic, the language barrier might definitely be a problem here


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1582 posts, RR: 30
Reply 12, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 16335 times:
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Hello volvair!

Great sequel on your Air Dolomiti story. Reports on the A345 are very scarce, the fact that there are just 32 delivered frames around might have something to do with it    And you flew one of them, how lucky you are! I was however quite surprised: not find an ex-Air Canada bird but to see the inside being completely Air Canada as well. Even the IFE! But for the rest it looks your TAM experience was pretty good. One more question: why the choice for an aisle seat? You DO like to look out the window, don't you  

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
including the enourmous pleasure of spending a 7 hour red-eye in an AA 757.

I would't mind doing a TATL on a 757, but not on AA, no...

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
which completetly ruled out Iberia

Ha, Iberia doesn't have too many customers around here on the forum. However they are a key player on the Middle and Southern Americas (schedule and destination wise that is, enough said...). I have done Iberia to MEX and LIM and never had any complaints. But that was quite some years ago and maybe I was very easy to please back then   

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Lots of passengers with lots of luggage

Oh my, that's no gift having to queue there...

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The whole boarding process was indeed quite civilized

Take that for an Italian airport!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
the IFE is also Air Canada's

Like I said: AC as well? It wouldn't be that much trouble to load TAM's IFE in the system now would it?

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Ta Da! Doesn't look too bad, does it?

Hmm, especially the salad looks good!

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 16253 times:

Alright, time to answer some more replies!

Hi Burj,

Quoting Burj (Reply 6):
MXP was nicer than I thought

I found it to be quite functional. I am a German so that's what counts   However the architecture is a little odd, seeing as the terminal was refurbished in the 1990s.


Hola Roger, thanks for commenting!

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 7):
Great report, thanks for sharing.

You are welcome!

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 7):
but they were not very uncomfortable, if I remember well.

Not at all, one could definitely endure a 11+ hour flight in them.

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 7):
except for the big windows overlooking the tarmac which are great fun to spend time at looking at all the operations

Yeah, not so many airports around where you have those spotter-friendly windows airside at the check-in area.


Hallo LH4532,

Quoting LH4532 (Reply 8):
A friendly Check-In agent is a always a good start
Quoting LH4532 (Reply 8):
That is a very nice looking Amenity kit

Yes, already before departure TAM left a positive impression

Quoting LH4532 (Reply 8):
It was a very nice Sunday morning read

I'm glad you enjoyed it!



Hi CaptainRed, thanks for dropping by!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):
great report again, thanks for sharing.

You're welcome.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):
Nice catch.

I was so relieved when I saw the plane at the gate when I arrived at MXP from MUC.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):
Yes, that looks good, and a generous portion as well, also the breakfast looks quite good.

The only thing missing from the economy service would have been a pre-dinner beverage service. But maybe they wanted to complete dinner service as early as possible to maximize possible sleeping time. Also I would have found it nice if they had laid out some snacks in the galley (chips, pretzel sticks,...) for those not sleeping . 6 hours without something to nibble on can be quite long.



Hi Sultanils,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
why the choice for an aisle seat? You DO like to look out the window, don't you

Of course I do, but when your departing at 2200 and arriving at 0500 there is not that much to see outside  . I am not a tight sleeper on airplanes and have long legs, so direct aisle access is vital for me on flights of that length.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
I would't mind doing a TATL on a 757, but not on AA, no...

Actually, I would have flown LHR-MIA with BA on their 744, AA operate MIA-LPB-VVI-MIA daily with their 757, this is the only intercontinental flight to LPB.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
I have done Iberia to MEX and LIM and never had any complaints. But that was quite some years ago and maybe I was very easy to please back then

I have never flown Iberia longhaul yet, but I have had an abysmal experience on Iberia on an intra-Europe flight once (in addition to their non-existent on-board service a horrible ground experience and lost luggage). Prices where also far beyond of what they are worth. So on this trip, a definite no-no.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):

Take that for an Italian airport!

And add to that Latin American passengers!


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1883 posts, RR: 25
Reply 14, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 16100 times:
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Good report!

How nice to get an idea of flying with TAM on a longhaul flight. You don't often read about this airline in this forum. Economy Class with them looks pretty good; good looking meal, and an interesting choice for Breakfast.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 15644 times:

Hi Matthew,

Quoting 767747 (Reply 14):
Good report!

Thank you!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 14):
an interesting choice for Breakfast

...which wasn't too bad. It's hard do get decent eggs on an airplane.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 14):
Thanks for sharing!

You're welcome


User currently offlineAA94 From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 534 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 15455 times:

Hi Volair,

Nice report! TAM looks like a nice airline, especially considering the distance flown. First time I've read a trip report where an amenity kit was delivered in Y. A nice touch, IMO.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
including the enourmous pleasure of spending a 7 hour red-eye in an AA 757. No thanks.

I know it's daunting, but I flew JFK-MAD-JFK on AA's 752 this summer and it wasn't that bad. As long as you get a seat with full recline and extra legroom (of which there are 2 on the plane), you're good  
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
As it is Air Canada's system, it is no surprise that you have the choice between English and French as menu language.

This is quite odd, especially considering that the airplane is operating flights to Spanish-speaking countries. It might as well not have IFE at all if you can't understand the movies and instructions ....



Choose a challenge over competence / Eleanor Roosevelt
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 15269 times:

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I cleared security and only about one hour after I stepped off the Air Dolomiti E195 which brought me to MXP I found myself in the boarding area of my flight to São Paulo-Guarulhos.

= I read this comment and was wondering why it was similar to someone's Air Dolomiti report - scrolled back and hey, it was you  .

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
A Failed Escape From The Drunkards: EN/Y/MUC-MXP (by volvair Oct 13 2011 in Trip Reports)

= Interesting routing btw - instead of MUC-GRU  .

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Amenity kit

= Wow. Pretty impressive! That is better than many JCL offering these days!

Thanks a lot for sharing the report with us. Pretty impressive, and showing JJ for what it really was. It remains my favorite Latin carrier, but standards had slipped of late.

Great to welcome you to the community here.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4765 posts, RR: 43
Reply 18, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 15139 times:

Quoting volvair (Reply 11):
There were in fact may people having trouble with the IFE, not knowing how to navigate through it etc... Considering it was mostly Italian/Brasilian VFR traffic, the language barrier might definitely be a problem here

It is very strange that TAM would choose to offer IFE only in English and French. Not offering anything in Portuguese nor Italian would have nothing to do with the origin of the aircraft, of course.

The hardware was from AC, (and Airbus), however the software is entirely TAM.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 6 months 4 days ago) and read 15067 times:

Great to see some more comments!

Hi, AA94,

Quoting AA94 (Reply 16):
A nice touch, IMO.

Maybe they realized it is helpful to give people a toothbrush and toothpaste before they connect to their next flight  
Quoting AA94 (Reply 16):
This is quite odd, especially considering that the airplane is operating flights to Spanish-speaking countries. It might as well not have IFE at all if you can't understand the movies and instructions ....

Only the menu language was either French or English. There were also Portuguese features (some movies and documentaries) available and as you can see in my pictures there were at least Portuguese subtitles embedded in the Hollywood movies. Still, if you can't navigate to the movies because you don't speak any English or French....



Hola A.,

thank you very much for welcoming here!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
instead of MUC-GRU

You know, why bother with a nonstop  ? But seriously, LHs nonstops to South America were far beyond of what I was willing to pay for a product already familiar to me.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
Thanks a lot for sharing the report with us.

You're very welcome, I'm glad you liked it!




Hi longhauler,

Quoting longhauler (Reply 18):
Not offering anything in Portuguese nor Italian would have nothing to do with the origin of the aircraft, of course.

They offered features in Portuguese, however all the menu navigation was either in French or English

Quoting longhauler (Reply 18):
The hardware was from AC, (and Airbus), however the software is entirely TAM.

This then is really surprising. If the software is entirely TAM's, may I ask why the menu languages and the menu design are the same as Air Canada's? I reached my conclusion that they kept AC's system and just changed the logo by comparing TAMs IFE to this picture:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kazim Alikhan - t.dot photography



User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4765 posts, RR: 43
Reply 20, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 15013 times:

Quoting volvair (Reply 19):
This then is really surprising. If the software is entirely TAM's, may I ask why the menu languages and the menu design are the same as Air Canada's? I reached my conclusion that they kept AC's system and just changed the logo by comparing TAMs IFE to this picture:

That design is actually from Airbus. As at the time, the A340-500 was the only aircraft in AC's fleet which offered AVOD. But I agree, the system is exactly the same, with just the TAM logo, and up to date content.

The current AVOD system at AC, built by Thales and entitled enRoute, actually was designed by AC. This system is installed on all AC aircraft, (except some "low yield" B767s and A319s) and some Jazz aircraft. The languages offered are usually route related, as I have seen English and French of course, but also Italian, Spanish, Italian, German and various Asian languages.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinechristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 934 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 14932 times:

Nice job with your trip report. Very much enjoyed your commentary and pictures. Is 11h 40m really "ultra" long haul? When I think ultra long haul, I'm thinking NYC-SIN or a route like that, 14+ hours.


Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 14703 times:

Hi volvair

nice trip report, never realised TAM has A345's. TAM does look like a decent carrier to fly on.
Thanks for sharing this report!
Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 14478 times:

Hi longhauler, thanks for coming back to me,

Quoting longhauler (Reply 20):
That design is actually from Airbus.

I did not know that, thanks for the info.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 20):
The current AVOD system at AC, built by Thales and entitled enRoute, actually was designed by AC. This system is installed on all AC aircraft, (except some "low yield" B767s and A319s) and some Jazz aircraft. The languages offered are usually route related, as I have seen English and French of course, but also Italian, Spanish, Italian, German and various Asian languages.

Thank you for elaborating a bit on AC's current IFE offerings!


Hi christao17,

Quoting christao17 (Reply 21):
Nice job with your trip report.

Thanks!

Quoting christao17 (Reply 21):
Is 11h 40m really "ultra" long haul?

No, definitely not. My title referred to the aircraft, the A340-500 as such, as it was the world's longest-range commercial airliner at the time of introduction. That it was used on a route like GRU-MXP-GRU, which is much too short to be operated economically by TAM's A340-500 today, shows the limited use airlines have for this bird.

Quoting christao17 (Reply 21):
When I think ultra long haul, I'm thinking NYC-SIN or a route like that, 14+ hours.

Of course, I do so as well.


Hi Marc, thanks for dropping by,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 22):
TAM does look like a decent carrier to fly on.

They definitely are.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 22):
Thanks for sharing this report!

You're welcome!


User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (2 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 14275 times:

Hello there Volvair,

Thanks for sharing with us your trip report! It seems you had a nice flight on TAM, hadn't you? Personally I think that their FAs were among the best dressed in the industry, at least judging by some of them I saw at various airports. Plus, being Brazilians, they were natural born stunners!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
About 45 minutes before scheduled time of departure, boarding for our flight began. Whereas business class passengers and those needing special attention where invited to board first, economy passengers were asked to line up in two rows, depending on their seat number. The whole boarding process was indeed quite civilized.

Nice to hear that. Last time I took a flight out of Malpensa and witnessed the boarding of the Sao Paulo flight it seemed like the biggest and most unruly rugby scrum I've ever witnessed in my life after the scenes at the gates before an U2 gig.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The aircraft was delivered to Air Canada in July 2004 and TAM has been leasing it from Air Canada since November 2007. This is the reason why you do not come across the "Magic Red Carpet", as TAM advertises itself but the original green/greyish Air Canada cabin.

Interesting, I had no idea about that! I've also noticed that the Economy seats, especially the headrests, looks quite similar to BA's ones in Club World, don't they?

Looking forward to read the rest of your trip!

Fabrizio


25 volvair : Ciao Fabrizio, You're welcome! Yes, it was definitely a nice experience. Well, I had expected for it to go down like some post-apocalyptic fight for t
26 JL418 : That made me laugh out loud!
27 TR763 : Hi Volvair, I loved your trip report, specially because it features the -500 and it's getting even more rare. My parents flew to MXP last year on thes
28 Post contains images akhmad : Hi volvair, Very nice report of TAM. I wish I could see the scene in AMS. We have got EK, but WY and TAM are still missing. A pre-departure service in
29 Post contains images volvair : Great to see more replies! Hi, TR763 Maybe they will return next year or change to another operator in South America Let's hope TAM can keep it up. I
30 FLIEGER67 : Hola, O., well done. Sure a good read to follow you´re A345 experience on TAM. Both missing from my log. Also good pictures and definitely a good ide
31 volvair : Hey Markus, thanks for stopping by, Thanks. Also I eyed KLM/AF to LIM and then onwards with TACA/LAN, you know, but it was too pricey. In the end its
32 Post contains links and images volvair : Okay, a special reply for Suryo, I just got home from work and checked the full-size picture of the magazine you were asking for. It turns out it has
33 gabrielchew : Nice report. Looking forward to seeing your flights to Bolivia Good timing! Looks good for Y Surprised that TAM didn’t add a Portuguese option Inter
34 Yukon880 : Great report and photos, thanks for sharing! Yukon
35 volvair : Hi Gabriel, thanks for dropping by, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Exatly, also the lounge attendants pro-actively invited me to stay in the lounges as long
36 Post contains images stipica : Hi volvair ! ... I have "rising star day" ... thanks for the effort ... stipica
37 Post contains links and images robffm2 : Thanks for this great report, brings back sweet memories from my first flight on TAM's A345 back in 2007. In fact I was on the inaugural flight from F
38 Post contains links and images robffm2 : These are part of the crew that took me to FOR on an earlier trip. We had a great time at the beach!
39 Post contains images volvair : Hi Robert, thanks for commenting and sharing your own experiences with TAM. How nice of them. There are so many inaugurals today where it seems passen
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