Review: LAN Chile A319, Lima – Santiago

For the second part of our trip, we were set to take the other LAN carrier down to Santiago, Chile. It turned out to be a no nonsense affair with strict attention to baggage weights.


This post is one chapter in our trip to Peru and Chile via Air Canada Executive First (Business Class). This trip was booked using Air Canada e-upgrades to upgrade into Air Canada International Executive First class. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: LAN Chile Airbus 319, Lima – Santiago

The next day, we were headed for Santiago. We returned to the Lima airport from Miraflores area to a massive check in line. We checked ourselves in using the kiosk again and joined the baggage drop line. We arrived at 9:30 AM for 11:50 AM flight. It did take us 30 minutes to do bag drop due to again only 3 desks being open and group blocking most one wicket. There were status lines and separate USA lines of two wickets each. However, they did not help with the regular line when the counters were empty.

LAN Peru  
LA 2631 – Economy Class (Q)
LIM-SCL (Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport – Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International) 
August 26, 2011
11:20 AM – 4:25 PM
Booked: Airbus 319 
Flown: Airbus 319 

When we made it to the front, I was asked to pay 70 USD for my one bag that was overweight by 4 kg. I removed 2 ski boots from each of our bags and attached them to our backpacks and they eventually accepted the bags at 1.5 kg over weight (23 K each) loaded together on the scale for a total weight reading. The line was so long that our guide for the day (that said he was going to be waiting around for us after check in), disappeared, never to be seen again. 

A bit of a side story here. Earlier in the week, I had received an email stating that our return flight from SCL-LIM had been retimed from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. It actually said that it was delayed, but it turned out to be a schedule change. 

As we were catching our homeward AC flight at 11:50 PM, the 2 hour and 50 minute connection on a different carrier made me nervous pervis. So after we had checked in, I proceeded over to the LAN ticketing desk. I asked if it was possible to get the flights changed. The guy at the ticketing desk initially told me no right off the bat, but after bugged him a little bit he relented and said that involuntary re-routing rules could apply. He told me to wait 10 minutes for his colleague to come back, which turned out to be supervisor. After some discussion, I was directed to the adjacent excess baggage payment desk where it took 10 minutes to change the ITIN with lots of typing. Unfortunately another 30 minutes wasted for something that could have probably been done on the internet in 5 minutes. Why must everything be done the hard way??? =) 

We cleared security and proceeded through Lima exit customs. There was no line at all. Lots of amenities were on the secure side of the airport including a massive duty free spanning both sides of the walkway. Most of the pricing on the secure side was in USD, not Peruvian Soles and as always, the mark up was very noticeable. 

After a gate change and the late arrival of the inbound aircraft, we were served a light sandwich and drink. I asked for wine and received the smallest wine pour that I have ever received on a flight. I usually feed my 7 year old son Cranberry juice in a larger sippy cup glass than this. 

Upon arrival at Santiago International airport, we headed for the famed “Reciprocity Fee desk”, payable for certain Nationalities including Canada. The fee for Canadians is $132 USD (blah!!!) I was traveling with USD cash and didn’t want to spend it, so I attempted to pay with Visa, which appeared to have been a mistake on my part. Despite the markings of the acceptance of the cards at the desk, the very sour agent claimed that the credit card system was off line. She tried my RBC Visa Avion CHIP card twice and it was “declined” according to her. I pulled out an Amex and it did go through on the first swipe. 

At the baggage claim, there were many signed indicating not to take random taxis into Santiago for your security. There was a Trans VIP taxi service desk on the secure side, which I would have used inbound had I known it was there and had not booked the hotel car. 

Summary:

Our LAN Chile flight down to Santiago was pretty unremarkable in terms of service. Aside from some congested check in and careful attention to the baggage weight, it was nice to arrive to this corner of the world on a short haul flight instead of an exhausting long haul one.


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