While frequent fliers are typically most interested in premium cabin trip reports, I think it’s always interesting to read about carriers that we’re not exposed to quite as often and the experiences they offer, even when in economy class. Recently, I flew from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo in TAM Airlines in Economy.
We boarded out of Gate 19 at the Buenos Aires airport, and before boarding, I gave the Buenos Aires United Club a visit. We boarded from Gate 19, and as is common in many international destinations, we actually boarded a bus, rather than boarding the plane directly The bus took us to our Airbus 320, and we went up the stairs to board.
Getting on the plane, I took a look at the cabin. It was a standard 3-3 configuration in coach, and I had a window seat. I felt like the cabin could, in general, use a bit of maintenance and clean-up. The seats were a little worn, the tray table was a bit loose, and the magazine pocket could barely stay shut.
Leg room was okay, but i’m only 5’10” (on a good day). If I were a few inches taller, I would have felt pretty cramped. I guess I’m just spoiled by United Economy Plus. In fact, I’m writing this blog post from my favorite exit row seat 21A on UA Economy Plus right now :-), and my legs are fully extended. After sitting down, I opened up the TAM magazine. I’m not sure why, but I’m always fascinated with route maps. I love looking at them. I think I just like looking at all the places I’ve never been, figuring out how I could get there. I’m especially interested with route maps that I don’t see that often! TAM has a pretty extensive network through Brazil, with lots of flights to both North America and Europe as well. There’s no service to Asia or Africa though.
After take off, I had to use the restroom, and I noticed that they had a psuedo tiled bathroom.
Nice touch! :-).
Everyone got free headphones. Also appreciated.
Wow. I really needed to moisturize. My hands look really dry… As another nice touch, a flight attendant came up and down the aisle just before takeoff, giving everyone a little piece of candy. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was eating, but it was some type of caramel, and it was pretty tasty! Too bad I didn’t grab two.
Once we got airborne, the flight attendants came around with food service. While it was nice to be served a hot meal for free, I can’t say it looked very tasty. In fact, it didn’t taste very tasty either. Come to think of it – it was gross. I really didn’t eat any of it, and I was glad that I had a snack earlier in the afternoon. I ended up getting room service later that night at the hotel.
Now as gross as the food was here, I actually flew on TAM in Economy from Rio to Sao Paulo a couple weeks after this flight I’m blogging about, and they served some pizza that was actually really good! Here’s a picture of that piece of pizza…
So while the food I had on this flight was pretty gross, at least we know that TAM is capable of producing some decent economy class food. In any case, if you have a flight on TAM in coach, I’d bring my own food if I were you, just in case.
We landed in Sao Paulo, and it was fun to see the sea of TAM airplanes. I also noticed that most (all?) of the TAM planes have “The Magic Red Carpet” painted on them. That’s a pretty hilarious self-given nickname. I don’t know what’s magical about these planes… I don’t know how they are similar to carpets, but I will agree that there’s some red on the tail… a pretty silly name, if you ask me.
Arriving in Sao Paulo was uneventful. Although, I did get a kick out of the following warning sign:
All in all, I have had no problems flying TAM on relatively short haul flights. I really can’t tell you what their long haul product is like, and I don’t think I’ll be finding out anytime soon!