Policeman: Why didn't you report your stolen credit card, sir? Man: Because the thief was spending less than my wife!
Of course, the lines above are an absurd generalization. I can spend more money than many women. And faster.
But this trip makes me wonder…
I am in Santiago attending a talk along with two colleagues, Claudia and Romina.
Now, after the talk, we have the rest of the afternoon for ourselves. I don't have any plan in particular, but they have a detailed program that includes a tour visiting the main picadas* around town.
Picada? That's a shop of any kind, where you'll get great value for your money.
Pre-flight bonus - Santiago
We don't waste time. From the meeting venue (the brown building on the left)…
…we head straight…
…for the places where both my colleagues want to vitrinear (go window-shopping).
Claudia has Arab ancestry, so we make a stop at an Arab restaurant she knows. I had never eaten Arab food before, and my first approach to it is… how can I say it… Well, some of it is a bit difficult to assimilate visually. It tastes much better than it looks, though, but the filling is the same in all cases. Only the "container" changes. I am a good boy, however, and eat everything.
The main hall will be in the middle, between the access and exit ramps.
The piers and the main hall are shown in that greenish (or light-bluish) color in this ground plan taken from the October 2017 concession holder's newsletter, which is freely available for download. In fact, you can download the newsletter for any month.
Going into the terminal building through Preferential Boarding…
…you see this sort of resting area. Actually, if you need some sleep you can lay in any corner, but this area is specially dedicated to it. It's usually full at night.
Claudia and Romina are on their way, so I’ll start moving towards domestic departures. Unlike the usual efficiency at national departures, queues here at the international side can be quite long.
Crossing the main hall from end to end…
…you find this little corner where minor airlines are usually relegated. Latin American Wings, for example, used to be here. The new ULCC JetSmart took its place.
And also DAP. By the way, I’m eager to fly with DAP as soon as possible. They cover several destinations in Patagonia, and also Antarctica!
On my left, my favorite shop: Punto Musical. Not exactly a picada, but still an addiction for me. I have some time to vitrinear (look around)
Wooooow!!!! The three seasons of Star Trek, the Original Series on DVD!!! Should I?? Shouldn’t I???
And that’s how my money boldly goes… out of my wallet.
A queue like this is no reason to worry at all. It moves very fast.
It must have taken less than 10 minutes to be airside.
Arturo Merino exhibition
In the boarding room I come across this unexpected display…
…about the life and works of Arturo Merino, considered the “founding father” of Chilean aviation.
Much of it has to do with his role in the birth…
…and development of the Línea Aérea Nacional, LAN, now LATAM.
I had to resize and rotate these images from the exhibition, but I'm leaving the original ones here in case you want to download them.
Three model planes are also on display:
The LAN18 was built in Chile, based on the Fairchild FC-2W.
It crashed in 1939.
It was restored in 2007 by Santiago's Aviation Museum.
The 1929 Curtiss P-1 A Hawk war plane.
Curtiss was a US company but, according to this information, this plane was also built at the local Curtiss factory in what used to be SCL’s predecessor: Los Cerrillos airport. That factory had been established thanks to Merino’s initiative.
Finally, the British De Havilland DH-60 G Gipsy Moth.
It was the very first plane of the Línea Aeropostal Santiago - Arica, LAN’s predecessor.
There comes CC-AHC.
Am I right when I say that that aircraft looks like a BAe? It must be one of DAP aircraft.
In the meantime, Claudia and Romina make it to the airport. We are ready to board… in style. The day before, during our shopping tour, Claudia suddenly cries “Look at that!!” and races across the street. Completely clueless, Romina and me run after her, fearing that an accident or something worse has happened. Then Claudia runs into a shop and grabs that bee backpack. “I’ve been looking for one of these for ages! The kids are gonna love it!!” Gosh. She teaches primary school.
She places her bee backpack where she can see it. Who would dare stealing it?!
A pre-flight visit to the restroom. If you ever visit South America and need toilet paper, you must ask for papel higiénico. Except in Chile! It’s called “papel confort” here. Confort (yes, with an N) is a toilet paper brand in Chile, and it became the standard name for toilet paper here. Just like Kleenex for tissues in other countries. What if you need toilet paper of that specific brand? You ask for "confort Confort". XD
This will be my view for this flight. There must be a standard width for the aisle, I guess, but when I compare this to what I saw on a LATAM flight in Brazil recently, it looks quite wide. I wonder if that’s some kind of visual effect because of that flooring.
I would say…
…that the cabin looks a little older…
…than on other Sky aircraft.
Whatever, the three of us chat all the way to Valdivia. We are soon disembarking…
I can see the captain!! He must see freaks like me taking photos of the cabin at every airport. XDD
ZAL is a very relaxed…
…and, having no baggage to claim…
…Claudia, her bee, and the rest of us make it airside in no time.
Romina's boyfriend is waiting for us with his car. Great. I'm so tired!!
I had lots of fun, but somewhere in the back of my head I'm happy I'm single! XDD
Finally, I apologize for giving this report a too personal touch. For the good times!
Santiago - SCL
Valdivia - ZAL
Sky Airline Punctual. Reliable. Great BOB menu. Good prices. Fantastic for a LCC.
SCL Lots of positive changes, new services. Efficient and clean.
ZAL OK for a small airport, but I have seen no changes, no improvements in two years using this airport. Outside walls are showing signs of weathering. Where is the maintenance team? Three airlines will be landing here starting next January. More passengers will demand more and better services, not just chewing gum ball dispensers!!
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