Big changes are under way at Santiago airport under the new concession holder, Nuevo Pudahuel.
As they announce on their website (below), "On April 21st 2015, the Arturo Merino Benítez airport 20-year management contract was awarded to Nuevo Pudahuel, a group formed by Groupe ADP (45%), VINCI Airports (40%) and Astaldi Concessioni (15%). One of the main objectives is to increase the capacity from 2014’s 16 million passengers to 30 million by 2020, with an overall potential of 45 million. "
Every time I come to the airport I find some little improvements like the ones you'll see here.
This particular flight was a last minute arrangement to get back home after an important visit to the family near Santiago. The options were an 11-hour bus ride for 45,000 CLP (68 USD) (the price for a salón cama bus - i.e. first class - in high season) or a 1-hour flight for 85,000 CLP (128 USD). The plane ticket is usually a fraction of that price, but only the most expensive fares are available two days before the flight. :(
I start my journey taking a random bus on the Panamerican Highway (a.k.a. 5 Sur) outside my family's town. It turns out to be a salón cama, but they charge me only 3000 CLP (4,5 USD) for the 1-and-a-half hour ride to Santiago.
I was lucky. Those buses won't stop unless they are dropping someone at the bus stop.
BTW, I must apologize for the low quality of the images. As I said before, this was a last minute arrangement. I was not carrying my camera, but only a low quality tablet PC with a 2 mega-pixel resolution. :(
The first light of dawn paints the sky with beautiful colors.
From their website. 120 USD doesn't sound too bad!
Beyond the hotel you can see the works of the new international terminal.
Smoking is strictly prohibited in closed spaces in Chile. No "smokers sections" in airports, restaurants, or anywhere. So this corner (and the hallway outside the first floor) are particularly popular among smokers. Like the smoke from wildfires is not enough!
Quite a lot of people despite LATAM's latest figures revealing a 1,9% decrease in the traffic of passengers, caused mainly by a stagnant Brazilian market.
This way to domestic flights. What's that obsession with sunglasses? I think there are more stores selling sunglasses than restaurants at SCL!
The queueing area of security check is split in half. The farthest side is used normally, and this side is used only when it gets too crowded.
The thing is, the line always moves fast. In fact, sometimes you sort of have to jog up to the scanners.
Airside, you have to choose first, second, or third floor. Second floor is straight ahead, down the stairs. Third floor is to the left.
Door 21 is on the third floor, but I mistakenly go to the second floor. Hee hee. I am still sleepy.
But it's OK. This tour of the second floor…
…will allow me to see some new improvements to the boarding room.
News of the day: The price of copper (Chile's main export) has its sharpest fall since 2008. We are poor! :'''( Also: Trump's (first) ban on muslim immigrants has been blocked.
When I realize that I'm on the wrong floor I head back to the stairs, and find something new: Soft, comfy seats and stools opposite what will be the new McDonald's!
And not only for McDonald's customers! Nuevo Pudahuel invites to "come and sit in our resting areas".
Wow! It looks great!
Something tells me you'll have to kill someone to find a place to sit here!
After this pleasant finding I head for the third floor, where things are VERY quiet.
Still more than an hour for boarding. The FIDS has some encouraging words amidst the tragedy of the latest wildfires. For a country that never gives up (lit. never puts its arms down)…
The restrooms are there! That reminds me I have some urgent business to tend to. Nothing can distract me…
Oh, look! Brazilian cheese bread!
No, seriously. My business is really urgent. The restroom looks and smells nice.
Back to the Brazillian cheese bread. I take a bite. Verdict: Utterly disappointing! No cheese flavor at all. And they are VERY salty.
I might relieve my disappointment with some exercise…
Awww…. disappointed again. I exceed the age limit by some months. :(
Fantastic charger with plenty of connectors… and double sided, too!
First time at this corner of the third floor. Horrible airspotting spot. You can't get close to the windows!
But minutes fly, and soon I can see this Sky Airline aircraft coming.
Is that the flight to Valdivia?
Yes! It's coming our way!
As announced, they have free wi-fi at SCL. I tried to connect once but it didn't work.
We line up…
…and soon are walking down to the second floor, where the jetbridges are. The view is much better from here.
Someone should tell this young man…
(oh, what a great view!)
…that in a few years time…
…he will need intensive cervical disc chiropractic treatment!
Something tells me we won't be seeing this livery for much longer.
On the last mail I got from Sky last February they used a new logo:
PRE-POSTING UPDATE!!! Look what I saw on Facebook on March 15 while finishing this report!!!
Sky has made changes to its corporate image, including, of course, a whole new livery (which I love)!!
This new livery marks the culmination of their adoption of an LCC model. More info here, and in my next April's report! ^^
The only nice touch of color in Sky cabins are the blue antimacassars on preferential seats.
I can't complain about the legroom. It's always OK for my height (170cm)
Carolina de Moras. She's a model and TV presenter.
Only minutes away from the pollution and noise of Santiago is this natural reserve in the mountains.
The rests of adhesive show that the previous sticker was larger. Sad to say, Sky's cabins look a bit dirtier than LATAM's.
Trying to take barely acceptable photographs for this report has been a pita because of my low quality camera. And when you think things can't get any worse… the window is dirty and there's a piece of thread stuck inside!
Looking at it more closely I notice that the thread is not stuck in the inner plastic cover, but between the outer glass window and its frame! Shouldn't that be completely hermetic? Is this piece of thread plugging a potentially dangerous pressure leak?! But… can there be such a thing as a pressure leak without producing an explosive decompression?
Call me an alarmist, but I send Sky the photograph via Facebook some days later and they reply saying they notified the corresponding department!
Note: Never replace a conjugation with an infinitive. That's horrible Spanish. Infinitives are used as imperatives. Mr./Mrs. MF should have said Te indicamos or Te indico.
However, I manage to focus my tablet camera and keep the piece of thread out of the way. Our neighbor is about to leave.
And we are next.
Flightradar24.com says that we're departing with an eight-minute delay, but will make it to ZAL on time.
…and fly along the valley that stretches southwards down to Puerto Montt.
The BOB service starts. I'm eager to try their chicken-cheese-avocado sandwich.
Verdict: It's great! The contents are OK as for quantity and taste. In fact, it's a quite heavy sandwich.
The cabin is incredibly peaceful today. No babies! Can you believe it? ^^
We are flying near Concepción, the area most affected by this summer's wildfires. See the dark patches left by the fire.
Minutes before landing we turn west towards the sea. I'm puzzled at first. The usual route between SCL and ZAL is more like a straight line.
Ah, we turn towards the south again…
…and fly close to the coast near the fishing town of Mehuín. Now we are aligned with the runway.
This is what we did, according to flightradar24.com:
I wonder why. Staying away from the routes of SuperTanker and the Russian plane I told about in my previous report, perhaps?
In fact, we fly closer to the mountains than ever, far from the firefighting activity.
About to land now.
Last view of the fields in mid-summer.
And we make it to Pichoy.
Güeeeeeltaaa…!! (Chileans will understand that) XD
No jetbridge today.
That's a typical Sky Airline ground staff.
Where are your wands, sir?!
While the pther passengers get off I take a photo of my neighbor's tray table… which is falling apart! The hinges are lose!
Never row 5 again. Had to contort to take pictures.
What a beautiful day! I hate myself for not having my camera with me! Most passengers take their time taking selfies. Nobody seems to be in a hurry today!
I'll take my time, too. :3
After this nice stroll around the tarmac I claim my bag…
…and roll it to the trasfer van. Mmm!!! I wonder what's for lunch at home!
Santiago - SCL
Valdivia - ZAL
Sky Airline is always a good experience. Good BOB prices. Good legroom. Free 23kg checked baggage allowance, and 8kg hand luggage. No IFE apart from their magazine, but this is still a plus, considering they are an LCC. Lack of cleaning. Lack of cabin maintenance. Hope it's not a symptom of shortages in other, more critical areas!!
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