Tim Foolery

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LATAM In Flight Entertainment (IFE)

A couple days ago, I wrote out our recent experience flying LATAM. LATAM is the name of the recently merged LAN and TAM airlines.  In general I thought it was a relatively nice airline in which to hop around South America. Service was marginally better than on US carriers, in most circumstances the pitch (distance between seats) was very acceptable.

In Flight Entertainment

The thing that surprised me was LATAM’s in flight entertainment (IFE) system.

Screen Shot of LATAM IFE

The LATAM IFE loaded quickly and has the ability to switch seamlessly between Spanish, Portuguese and English.

Like United, LATAM offers their IFE via mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS and can be downloaded before boarding or once on board.  There was a decent selection of films and TV shows to choose from as well as a quick responding and well functioning map of your journey.  If you like to binge watch while in air, like I do, you can even see the selection of TV shows with complete seasons available.

TV, Movies, Maps and Kids Entertainment

Easy navigation allows quick movement between Movies, TV Shows and the Map.

“So what?”, you are probably thinking.  United has the same thing.  Well, yes and no.  Every time I use United’s app based IFE, I get partway through whatever I’m watching, be it a TV show or a movie and the system has a hiccup, the app fails and I have to start over again.  Historically, the app would have saved where you were in your programming, but the past half dozen flights or so, it hasn’t.  I’ve had to guess where I was in the program.

LATAM’s system worked flawlessly.  The app loaded quickly, the selected entertainment popped up almost instantaneously, the system never crashed.  It worked the way you’d think it should.  My first thought was that perhaps United had so many more users taxing their system – and that may be the case, but as I walked down the aisle to the lavatory, I saw well over two-thirds of the people on board the flights using the app to watch TV.

The Map was surprisingly detailed

The map was quite responsive and only got glitch when you zoomed out too far.

In Conclusion

Is this a big deal?  Absolutely not. The most important part of air travel is arriving safely.  In my mind, the next most important thing is arriving when you need to be somewhere (not only schedule but performance).  IFE is so far down on the list of important things when it comes to air travel.  With such amazing safety records of modern airlines now, we should be happy that one of our big complaints is mediocre sparkling wine or faulty IFE…but it still gets my goat.

Have you experienced LATAM’s IFE?  Did you have any glitches – was I the lucky one to have no hiccups whatsoever?  Do you even both with the airline supplied IFE or do you solely watch your own content on board?

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