REVIEW: TAM First Class 777-300

For those following along, here is a recap of what this trip report includes: 

REVIEW: Plaza Premium Lounge in Vancouver (YVR)

REVIEW: Cathay Pacific NEW 777-300 First Class 

REVIEW: TAM First Class 777-300

REVIEW: TAM First Class A330

This, my first TAM experience (in any class of service) began at the JFK check-in counter. There was a dedicated first class check-in line, which I thought was funny given there are only four seats on the plane - two of which were unoccupied for this flight. In any case, the entire experience was quick, friendly and professional. The woman helping me, Luana, checked me in and then escorted me through the crew line at security and up to the lounge. At JFK, TAM uses the AA Flagship lounge for their first class passengers. I wasn't expecting that level of personal attention, but I certainly did appreciate it. Once in the lounge, Luana told me to not worry about boarding times or announcements and that she'd come to pick me up. I let her know that I wanted to take some photos of the cabin before the other passenger arrived, which she said wouldn't be an issue. 

As promised, just before boarding officially began, Luana was there to collect me for my pre-boarding photos. With that, we walked down to the gate and waited for about 30 seconds as she explained to them that I was going to be boarding just prior to the announcements. Once I was on board, I understood right away what all the fuss was about. TAM's 777-300ERs (which operate its flights from GRU to JFK and MIA) feature what I would argue is the most living-room-like first class cabin in the sky. Unfortuantely, they'll only be flying it for a few more months - at which points they'll transition to a larger, more competitive business class product - but it's a real shame to get rid of it. The colors are soothing, the seat fabrics have a substantial texture/feel to them and the one-row configuration ties it all together. No, it's not quite as private as the new Cathay Pacific first class seats (and certainly can't compare to the closed-door suites of Singapore or Emirates), but it really felt like the perfect cabin. 

As I mentioned, the service was great. There were three flight attendants in first class at all times and only two passengers. That means we each got our own crew member to wait on us, plus there was an extra one just in case anything got out of hand. Prior to meal service, champagne was served, our tables were set and we were offered some fresh fruit to start. It certainly wasn't the fanciest of table settings, but it's always a nice touch and it certainly didn't go unappreciated. 

The one major rawback to flying on TAM is the food. The appetizers and other non-main-course dishes were just "OK" (at best), with the exception of the basil sorbet - yes, BASIL,  which was used as a palet cleanser and was absolutely terrible - but it's the main courses you have to watch out for. My experience? They were almost unedible. 

The salmon was overcooked, the risoto was bland and the breakfast potatoes were painfully dry. Not to mention, the the omelette tasted like plastic and the cheese inside was only partially melted. Thankfully though, there was one saving grace... Dessert!

I know what you're thinking. "A cupcake? Really? It doesn't even look that good." The reality is, it was very plain-looking. As you know, restaurants (and airlines too) do great jobs to have their dishes - especialy their desserts - plated and decorated in the best way possible. I wish I could say the same for TAM. But, don't let the look of the dessert deceive you. In fact, that was not only the best cupcake I've had in my life, but it might have been one of the best desserts I've ever had on a plane! That, together with a cup of coffee (and a little champagne on the side) made the rest of the flight just perfect. 

After the meals it was time for a movie and some sleep, and before you knew it I was in Sao Paolo. Act fast though... First class is being taken out of their cabins this fall! Have you flown on TAM's first class? Was it on the 777 or the A330? I'd love to hear....

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