TAM’s awesome new first class (which most of us will never experience)

TAM recently unveiled the details of their new first class product, which can be found on their four new delivery 777-300ER aircraft. Purely in terms of the colors I think this is one of the nicest first class cabins. What makes TAM pretty unique is that they have only one row of first class on their entire longhaul fleet, so that’s a maximum of four passengers in the cabin. TAM primarily flies their 777s between Sao Paulo and London/Frankfurt, so that’s where you have the best chance of finding the new product.

The bad news is that TAM is probably the stingiest airline in the world with premium cabin award space, and even though they belong to the Star Alliance, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a first class award seat on them on any route released to their Star Alliance partners. Conversely, LAN, the largest airline in South America airline (and a member of OneWorld), is extremely generous with releasing award space. Now that LAN and TAM are merging, I sure hope LAN’s policy sticks, or else we’re totally screwed as far as award space to South America goes.

I’m curious, has anyone ever seen TAM longhaul first class award space available to Star Alliance partners?

(Tip of the hat to Pedro)

Comments

  1. @ Derek — They’re extremely stingy about coach award space as well, and Star Alliance is pretty weak to South America, so I’d say screwed all around.

  2. If you have 384,000 TAM miles, F is always available 😉
    Also remember that if you have 10k to spare then do an F RTW from JNB and you can get 2 F TAM flights 😉

  3. Wow, it looks like there’s a whole couch in front of the two middle seats. The lighting is what does the pictures justice.

    I looked up their old first class product… and agree it’s a huge improvement- the old first looked like it used a wallpaper design from the 1950s.

    Since LAN is pretty generous at releasing reward space, would it be viable to fly from the US to Australia/New Zealand on them via Santiago on AA/BA points?

  4. @ Lucky- Yeah, it’s what drew me to BA first of all, the flexibility to just use a-la-carte segments.

    Read the post w. the Explorer award- if you need to fly on 2 Oneworld airlines other than AA, then the obvious choices would be LAN and Qantas, and I’ve heard that Qantas is stingy w. award space, so… perhaps theoretically it will work but practically perhaps not…

  5. @ Euro — Qantas is indeed stingy with award space, so if the intent was to fly one direction between the US and Australia in Qantas, it would make sense to book way in advance.

  6. @ Kai — Which route? I see Sao Paulo to Frankfurt on Lufthansa shortly before departure, but that’s it.

  7. What makes it even more improbable is that (when last I checked), they dont allow award space to be booked until 90 days out!

  8. @Lucky — GRU/EZE is regularly available on the one daily A330 flight. I have done that once, though I usually fly business as it’s such a short (2.5 hours) flight. Even the current F is great, though, and the soft product is really great. They fawn over you just like the Asian/Mideast carriers. The lounges are the only downside, but everything else is fantastic. By the way, business class is truly nice as well on JJ.

  9. @Euro @Lucky – Re: using a distance-based OneWorld award to get to Australia via Sth America… Qantas availability isn’t a problem. If you can find award space on LAN, just connect to a short domestic Qantas flight, whether you need it or not. They have plenty of award space.

  10. @ zeffer — Right. Sorry if I wasn’t clear — I was saying that if he wanted to do LAN in one direction to Australia and Qantas in the other direction (transpacific) in business class, that would be a lot tougher. Intra-Australia award space is generally quite easy, as you point out.

  11. Hey all. Im brazilian living in London so most of my flight are with TAM. Im also member of their loyalty program but as it was said It doest work at all. The only good thing is if you want to fly just in Brazil, then you can redeem you miles other than that it is almost impossible to redeem miles for a international fligh ( even if you only want an upgrade). Im suing their loyalty program as I tryied for an upgrade on a flight to Sao paulo/Milan. I was refuse and as for that I was the last person to get on boerd. I counted all bussines class seats left ( 10 in total). As you can see Im preaty sure loyalty programs only work outside Brazil. Im also british airways and Air france member and never had any problems with them

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