After flying LGA-ORD on American and MEX-LIM-EZE-SCL on LAN, I pretty much felt like a pile of garbage. I had a day-long layover to look forward to at SCL and booked a room at the Holiday Inn by redeeming a free night from hotels.com, who has a buy 10, get one free program – effectively 10% off all bookings made through the website. Anyway, I cleared immigration, already had my Chilean reciprocity from another trip earlier in the year (which is now a moot point since it is now free to visit Chile!) and made it through customs in about thirty minutes. I was so exhausted, my eyes were just about crossing trying to read the signs.
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After spending way too much for a mimosa at the underwhelming Amex Centurion Lounge, I made my way to the gate, amped to be back on LAN again for another big trip (the first was MIA-SCL-IPC-SCL-MIA in May).
I really like this airline and am glad they’re a part of Oneworld. After switching terminals at MEX, I was ready to set my bags down and relax. Boarding at MEX is always kind of a bleepshow, so I was really glad to be in business and sidestep most of that. Then finally, I was on the plane.
Settling into the seat felt familiar, and the flight attendants were immediately welcoming and gracious. There was nothing at my seat, but I knew from flying them before that pillows and duvets were in the overhead compartment and that magazines and amenity kits were distributed after boarding. There was a menu in the seat back pocket, so I took a look at the options. Then the FAs came around to offer beverages and ahem, warm nuts, so I got a red wine, a water, and yes, the nuts. 🙂
Shortly after takeoff, the FAs came around with the amenity kits: brown or dark grey for men and cream/off-white for women.
This kit contained socks, ear plugs, a pen, lip balm, lotion, and a disposable garment bag.
Right after I explored the contents of the kit, the purser came over to take dinner orders. I selected the grilled steak, curious to see if it would be any good. For dessert, I chose the caramel blancmange, which had the consistency of flan.
The steak was actually quite good. Not as tender as I would’ve liked, but still very flavorful. The sides were well-portioned, and I ended up eating everything on my tray, salad and dessert included. I also ordered another glass of wine, after which I was about ready to pass out as this was an overnight flight.
Right after the dinner service, the cabin was dimmed. I fell asleep and woke up when we were descending into LIM. After that, a short layover, then a short flight to EZE. I slept the ENTIRE TIME. Like, from the moment I entered the plane until it touched down. Didn’t order anything, just put the seat into the lie-flat position and slept for the 3.5 hour flight. It felt so nice.
The layover at EZE was only one hour. We kept the same plane, but I had to switch gates, which was “e-eze” enough. Then one more short flight into SCL.Again with seat 4A.
Shortly after a simple breakfast service, we descended over the Andes in SCL right after sunrise, which was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had on a plane. The business class cabin was mostly empty, and I was able to geek out while taking several pictures of the snow-capped mountains and high-altitude lakes.
Right before, I realized I was dead tired. After all, I’d just had FIVE flights in a row (LGA-ORD, ORD-MEX, MEX-LIM, LIM-EZE, EZE-SCL). I had a day-long layover at SCL to look forward to and was praying that the Holiday Inn at the airport would let me check in early, as I’d be getting there around 10am after getting through customs.
How I felt:
I was ready to shower and sleep. I am glad the last three segments were on LAN, though. They took good care of me.
If you ever get the opportunity to fly LAN’s Premium Business product, it’s well worth it. They are a wonderful airline to have in Oneworld, and certainly make it easy to get to Central or South America. Their product is top-notch. Not opulent like others, but just the right amount of everything. I jump every time I get the chance to fly on LAN.
Did you read that crazy-ass routing up there? Yeah, I flew that. It’s not the craziest route anyone’s ever done, but I can tell ya this: I WAS TIRED. The flight times were pretty brutal, and the connections were hella tight. The SCL-MEX segment, por empleje, left at midnight and arrived at 6am. I don’t remember LIM-EZE at all. Why? Zzzzz.
However, I can say with confidence that I am familiar with the two iterations of LAN’s Premium Business class product. There’s an old one and a new one, and I’ve flown them both several times by now, esp after my trip to Easter Island in May on LAN. When I saw a cheap fare to Santiago that connected in Easter Island, all in biz, and under $1000, I had to jump. This trip easily net me 50,000 miles, which I value at around $1000 anyway, put the over the Platinum threshold for the year, and gave me a nice amount of upgrade “stickers” on AA. Worth it? Hell yes. AND I got to experience the beautiful city of Santiago. Much Espanol was heard, but very little was spoken.
- Trip Report: AA Flight 1769 JFK-MIA First Class
- Trip Report: LAN Flight 7701 MIA-SCL Premium Business Class
As soon as I landed in Santiago, I only had 15 minutes to connect to the Easter Island flight. Shit! Luckily, all planes were being held because of intense fog on the ground at SCL. I ran through immigration and customs like a madman, and thank god SCL is a small airport. I got my passport stamped, paid the stupid reciprocity fee of $160 and sped along to the gate, where my friend Chris was waiting to board (he landed in Santiago the previous evening).
After the lovely flight down from Miami, I settled in to seat 3A still catching my breath. The lady in seat 3C had just experienced the same mad dash, and we got to talking about our plans on Easter Island. She ended up being awesome! We spent most of the trip hanging out. So funny how stuff like that happens.
Anyway, this flight was nearly identical to the previous one: same hard product, very similar menu and service, although a smaller amenity kit with just socks, eye mask, and shoe/laundry bag.
The flight was a hair over five hours, and I spent most of it watching “Life of Pi” which is about 2 and a half hours. So that, getting into airspace, and landing, was pretty much the whole flight. The movie was so good. Dear god. I cried like a little bitch at the end when the tiger walked into the jungle… My seatmate was asleep by this point. Good thing she didn’t see me dabbing the tears out of my eyes.
Right after the movie, we started descending and I got my first glimpse of Easter Island. I got a feeling of such complete happiness and gratitude that it shook me to my core. Easter Island is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and it was this flight that made that dream a reality.
Stepping out of the plane was surreal. My first impression was that it was much hillier and lusher than I’d expected. I thought it would be more… barren.
Since this was sort of a “test” of American’s international partners, I’d say the LAN business class hard product really impressed me. The food was so-so, but not a deal breaker at all. I’m really looking forward to having more reference points as this was my first international biz class experience (!). I will say already, though, that I LOVED the lie-flat seats and can see why the other bloggers bitch about the angled seats so much.
Next up, gratuitous pics of a (surprisingly) tropical island!
First of all, let me begin this post by saying how much I loathe the Miami airport. Walking from the D concourse over to J just about killed me. Anywho, after lounging around in the unremarkable America Club “J” for an hour or so, boarding time rolled around. I was excited to experience and brand new premium product, a new airline, and after that, a country I’d never visited before. Safe to say I was beyond excited for this flight.
Boarding was lovely. I strolled right in and sat down in seat 3A. Shortly after, I had a glass of wine and waited to pushed back from the jetway.
After takeoff, amenity kits were distributed. I didn’t take a picture of it, knowing I’d get three more by the time I returned home. I will include pics in a future post, but must say it was a nice one. Face cream, hand lotion, lip balm, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, pen, socks, ear plugs and eye mask were all included. It was from Ferragamo, an Italian brand, and was based around “memories from Tuscany” or something similar to that. Odd for a South American, an specifically Chilean airline, but whatever. I thought they’d have something more regional, but certainly not complaining!
Dinner menus were handed out next.
I got the salad, soup, steak, and fruit. The steak was only so-so. A bit tough and overcooked. All the other stuff was nice, if a touch run-of-the-mill. There were some nice touches and I appreciated the presentation.
After dinner, I pretty much passed out till we got to Santiago. The lie-flat seat really does lie all the way back. I watched “Oz: The Great and Powerful” and then slept for a few hours. I awoke to the flight attendant tapping my leg. Then she brought out breakfast, which I’d ordered before the movie. It was too dark to take pics, but it was my first experience with Juan Valdez instant coffee. Unbeknownst to me, it would not be my last. Chile LOVES instant coffee. The breakfast was that kind of pre-packaged airplane food, but certainly not terrible. Soon after, the plane landed.
We de-planed at Santiago late after being delayed in Miami and also due to some serious fog at SCL. Then I ran like a bitch to catch my flight to Easter Island. And that’s when the fun really began.