TAM Airlines is a major Brazilian air carrier wholly owned by LATAM Airlines Group, which was formed through the merger of TAM with LAN Airlines (based in Chile) in 2012. While it remains a Star Alliance carrier as of this posting, TAM is expected to join oneworld in early 2014.
Airchive.com contributor Seth Miller (you likely know him as The Wandering Aramean here on BoardingArea), graciously provided me with a business class luxury from his JFK to Rio de Janeiro flight, and I bring you its critique in this installment of Amenity Kit Reviews. For a better description of each category and the 7-point scale for scoring, please review my introductory post.
Bag/Container: The (mostly) battleship gray zipper bag includes the TAM logo screen printed on the lower right corner in off-white, as well as manufactured into the zipper itself, which I find a bonus from both a branding and #avgeek standpoint. Red cotton lining (yes, itâ€™s really cottonâ€¦ and it pulls out fully as opposed to solidly being adhered to the bag) punctuates the interior, and itâ€™s also visible along the external zipper track. The bag is sturdily made and it does outrank many of its competitors in overall quality, however reusability is low, in my opinion, as its internal size is average at best. That said, Iâ€™m giving it a slightly preferential ranking. Score: 4.5 out of 7
Skin Care: TAM partnered with Netherlands-based Rituals Cosmetics for its skin care products, which include a tube of moisturizer, shaving cream and lip balm. Fragrance overpowered me when I initially opened and sniffed (yes, yesâ€¦ I really did sniffâ€¦) the bag. And I now know why as the lotion is heavily perfumed with more feminine scents of â€œkombucha and venuceane.â€ Itâ€™s not horrible, but it definitely made my eyes water.
On the plus side, it absorbed ultra rapidly. But I did wash my hands immediately (twice, in fact) to find that the shaving cream is deliciously scented with un-overpowering hints of ginger and basil. The lip balm, meanwhile, is subtle and appropriate. While Iâ€™m not a fan of the lotion, TAM excelled here by providing shaving cream along with a Schick razor. Score: 5.5 out of 7
Oral Care: This category reveals the usual medium-bristled plastic toothbrush with cover, but I do like the slightly larger than normal tube of Colgate toothpaste. Unlike some of the tiny tubes that airlines provide, this is one I can actually handle without fumbling about with. Score: 4.5 out of 7
Comfort Items: The Sperian Hearing Protection Bilsom 303L earplugs are the softest Iâ€™ve ever encountered. Finallyâ€¦ something I actually donâ€™t mind shoving into my ear canal! Besides those, youâ€™ll find basic eyeshades, single use socks one notch ahead of most airline styles, a comb/brush combo and a shoehorn. Well done, TAM! Score: 5.5 out of 7
Intangibles: I wasnâ€™t expecting much based on its size, but this TAM Airlines business class kit impresses. Itâ€™s not overtly luxurious, but it definitely ranks higher than some of its European and Asian counterparts. Score: 5 out of 7
Total score & comments:
The final score of 5.05 might not reveal its overall quality given my rather critical scale in each category, but the bag itself is solid, the skin care items surprised me (both good and bad), and I need to order some of those earplugs! Iâ€™d certainly rather have this kit over some of the lackluster offerings from European airlines. What do you think based on what youâ€™ve seen? Oh, and yes, there was a pen included, though itâ€™s one of those ultra cheapies youâ€™d never want to use again.
â€“ Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.