The two main choices for frequent business class travel between Miami Florida and Santiago de Chile are American Airlines and LATAM. We flew both in order to compare the services each offered for discerning business travelers.
Boarding and Welcome:
When it came to the logistics of getting onboard and preparation for takeoff Latam was clearly the better option. LATAM was very prompt about getting us in the air on time even when we boarded late. American Airlines was slow to board and no updates were given even as we were around fifteen minutes late for takeoff.
Additionally, there were two LATAM staff administering the business cabin, American provided four. In spite of this disparity, LATAM staff were far more engaged. They introduced themselves and learned our names, talked us through the menu and made our seats ready for the overnight bedding. The American Airlines staff brought champagne in plastic cups and then disappeared. We saw them texting on their phones in the galley all the while. A staff member courteously approached to take our jacket but then asked us to close the overhead bin ourselves.
American provided a nice leather bag as the amenity kit while LATAM has downgraded theirs (from Salvatore Ferragamo) to a cloth bag. The contents inside were similar: standard toothpaste, socks, mouthwash, comb and earplugs. Each had a luxury hand cream also. The headphones in American were far superior, they went for a partnership with Bang & Olafsen for some of the best sound experience in the market.
The video, music, game and media accessories offerings of both planes were very similar. A catalog too long to conquest in months of flying but complete with an eclectic range of materials. The TV screens were of similar output and each had touch and remote control options available.
The Business class arrangement of the LATAM flight was 2-2-2 on their flight, however paying attention to customer feedback they have noted the biggest request was for the 1-1-1 configuration and so in coming months they will be adjusting this in all their cabins. American Airlines has the 1-2-1 seating arrangement in their business cabin which offers a much better privacy and convenience option. One potential drawback however is that every other seat in the 1 row is facing backwards, so for passengers with motion sickness or who just prefer to face forward it can be a dealbreaker.
The LATAM meal service was excellent. The quality of the food was of a high level, the order was taken very personally and the arrangement and delivery of the food were strong points. American was a little lacking in the personal touches and the arrangements compared to LATAM, however we do have to commend them for an even better offering of food in both kinds of dishes and quality of them. The food in each was remarkable for business, however American really took the cake (or ice cream) when it came to flavor and options.