Latam JNB-GRU – Johannesburg to São Paulo | FLIGHT REVIEW

After my adventures in Virgin’s Upper Class, it was back to reality with a thump and Latam’s economy class flight from OR Tambo International to Sāo Paulo International.


This was a late night flight leaving at 11.50 pm and due to arrive around 5am into Brazil. I’m used to overnight flights headed EAST (JFK to Dublin, for example) but this was headed WEST.  The scheduled flight time was 10.5 hours.


I was first to the two seater – configuration is 2-3-2 for this flight JJ8163.  I have to say that business class looks pretty shonky.  Believe me, I’d have taken it (!), but it looked like all the seats on this plane were well worn.


The overheads are a little tighter than even, say, a Ryanair or Easyjet flight, but the trusty Osprey Farpoint 40 litre fit like a charm!


The entertainment system is pretty modern and had plenty of options in English or with subtitles.


I quite liked this feature – which showed the time to destination at the top right at all times.  We hadn’t even taken off and the flight time was down 45 minutes!


The comfort pack contained a micro fleece blanket (nice) and a flat pillow (not so nice).  I was glad I had my inflatable pillow with me!


We always think of South America of being, well, SOUTH of North America, don’t we?  Although this is not a proper Peters Projection (the more accurate representation of the globe, when flattened to 2D), it does show that South Africa and South America are closer than you might initially imagine. At least, I might initially imagine. You could already be perfect 🙂


While settling into my seat and tucking my few in-flight possessions away, I realised that the carabiner on my Vapur water bottle was just big enough to clip on to the side of the table, or at least on the hinge part.  Win! That kept it on hand but not taking up room.


When dinner was served (fairly quickly) it was either chicken (I’d had enough chicken for one day) or a pasta dish.  It was tortellini stuffed with ? (maybe something cheesy?) and a sauce.  It was okay. I tried a couple of bits and left it.


The quinoa salad (on the bottom left) was another thing.  It was filled with charred sweetcorn and was a little crunchy.  Delicious! The red wine was not Argentina’s finest, nor indeed Brazil or South Africa’s, either.


The seat? Well, for economy it wasn’t too bad – as a 6-footer (183cm), I had enough room to stretch out a little bit and managed to get about 5 hours’ sleep.  Not bad!  I filled in the rest of the time watching that new (to me) show Billions.  Brilliant!

The one problem was the air conditioning.  Wow, was it cold! I put on my trusty merino sweater, a big scarf and the provided blanket and it was still freezing!

My verdict: 7 out of 10.  Not a bad job, Latam!

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