Flight-Report

Review of LATAM flight Punta Arenas Puerto Montt in Economy

Airline LATAM
Flight LA280
Class Economy
Seat 7L
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:10
Take-off 27 Jan 18, 09:30
Arrival at 27 Jan 18, 11:40
L2   #67 out of 126 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 90 reviews
nechus
By SILVER 670
Published on 25th May 2018
Welcome to the second flight of my 2018 summer holidays.

My mother and I visited cold, windy Punta Arenas for one week. Now we're flying back home, where I'll drop her before flying… back to the south!

But before we board, let me share with you some images of our visit to two of the main local landmarks: the milodon's cave, and Paine Towers National Park.

BTW, this is flight 2 of 9 of this trip. You can also have a look at the reports for flights 1, 3, 4, and 5 if you like. The rest are coming soon!



Pre-Flight Bonus - Paine Towers National Park


The day after our arrival in Punta Arenas, we take a full day tour to a place some 300km north of the city: Torres del Paine National Park.

photo img_0527

The van picks up at 6 a.m. and we travel north…

photo img_0529

…along this road that connects…

photo img_0539

…Punta Arenas and the small town of Puerto Natales.

photo img_0543

The whole trip is very scenic.

photo img_0552

In fact, we'll be watching awesome landcapes…

photo img_0560

…all day long.

photo img_0565
>
photo img_0569

A brief stop at Puerto Natales.

photo img_0574
>
photo img_0575
>
photo img_0578

As we continue northwards…

photo img_0589

…the mountains get higher.

photo img_0608

…and we are in the middle of lenga forests.

photo img_0610

Before we enter the national park, we visit la cueva del milodón (the milodon's cave).

photo img_0618

The price of the ticket…

photo img_0620

…is not included in our tour.

photo img_0626

I'm not sure how much it was. 2500 CLP (4 USD) I think, but all tickets are three times more expensive for foreginers.

photo img_0627

Before you get to the cave, you find some information about the site.

photo img_0629

This was the milodon…

photo img_0630

…and other animals that lived…

photo img_0631

…around here thousands of years ago.

photo img_0634
>
photo img_2233
>
photo img_2230
>
photo img_0632

The path leading to the cave…

photo img_0633

…is lined by lenga trees.

photo img_0637

There's the cave. Let's follow that path on the left.

photo img_20180125_093423

What if one of those stalactites falls on someone's head?!

photo img_20180131_094838

Some plants grow here thanks to the water that filters throught the cave's roof.

photo img_20180131_095019

Certainly not a good moment for an earthquake.

photo img_20180131_095254
>
photo img_20180131_095323

And that would be all. Not much more to see…

photo img_20180131_095812

…but being there makes you feel like you are the size of an ant.

photo img_20180125_093452

On the way back I learn…

photo img_2238

…how this cave formed.

photo img_2239

This beautiful bird is nesting in a hole in the stone wall outside the cave. We'll see a similar bird later and, as we'll learn, they are very friendly!

photo img_0640

That one seems to be a tordo.

photo img_0648

We travel one more hour from the cave to the park, with Prat mountains on our left.

photo img_2258
>
photo img_2260
>
photo img_2256

Then we have our first encounter with them…

photo img_0658

…the majestic…

photo img_0660

…Cuernos del Paine (Paine Horns)

photo img_0661
>
photo img_0662

We are watching them from Lago Toro (Lake Toro) (toro = bull)

photo img_0673

So, we're now inside the park. We find a series of hostels and cabins…

photo img_0687

…by río (river) Serrano.

photo img_0688
>
photo img_0675
>
photo img_0677
>
photo img_0678

Then we make it to the park's administration. Admission is 21000 CLP (34 USD) for foreigners.

photo img_0694

This map was on the wall, but we visited so many places and went on so many roads that I just can't trace our complete route on it.

photo img_20180125_113111

The park covers this group of mountains and lakes carved in the soft rock by glaciers.

photo img_20180125_120256

Next stop is Río Pingo. There's a cafeteria there…

photo img_0760

…with insulting prices! And I thought that LATAM's BOB was expensive!

photo img_0744

Opposite the cafeteria is the park guard's house…

photo img_0745

…at the foot of some cliffs that reveal the turbulent origins of this land.

photo img_0707

Behind the cafeteria is this hanging bridge…

photo img_0710

…over Pingo river…

photo img_0720

…..leading to this trail that winds through a forest…

photo img_0730

…of lenga trees.



The work of woodpeckers.

photo img_0725

And to think that lenga forests were seriously threatened in the early 2000s…

photo img_0714

…when a forestry company called Trillium planned to harvest thousands of hectares.

photo img_0734

Afaik, the case was taken to court in Chile…

photo img_0736

…and Trillium eventually cancelled their operation in Chile…

photo img_0738

…though they are still active in Argentina, under the name Lenga Patagonia.

photo img_0739

I wouldn't allow this to be destroyed.

photo img_0743

While we wait for the rest of our group to come back from the trail, this little guy - similar to the one we saw outside the milodon's cave - comes hopping between our feet.



And he (or she?) is not alone. There's a different one wearing a brown scarf…

photo img_0761

…and one more that looks like a common sparrow.

photo img_0765

At first we think that the three of them are a family, but some research shows that the mom is a rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)



…the young one is her baby…

photo img_0771


…while our colorful friend is a Patagonian Sierra-Finch (Phrygilus patagonicus)…



For the rest of the tour…

photo img_0849

…we get to see the horns…

photo img_0852

…from every possible angle.

photo img_0853
>
photo img_0854

Those huge rocks are stunning!



Ah! A reminder of the route…

photo img_0905

…that we will fly in this report!

photo img_0906
>
photo img_0916

Next to the horns there's a mountain called Nido de Cóndores (Condors Nest)…

photo img_0936

…for a reason.



Condors became an endangered species after sheep farmers hunted them, believing that they preyed on their sheep. Sheer ignorance. Condors are scavengers and they feed exclusively on dead animals! BTW, here's a heartwarming video of a condor that has a close relationship with an Argentine who used to be its carer The condor pays him a visit, and the guy greets the bird saying "Hola! Cómo estás. Tanto tiempo! Me viniste a saludar?" (Hi! How are you? It's been a long time! Did you come to say hello?) And the condor is the cutest thing on earth!



We get some of the best views from Pehoé, a camping site…

photo img_2391

…with a great barbecue restaurant.

photo img_2395
>
photo img_2397

Luckily, it's not raining in spite of the menacing weather during my second visit…

photo img_2398

…and we can stay here for a while…

photo img_2400

…and have our lunch with these views.

photo img_2407

As we keep going around lake Pehoé…

photo img_0889

…we find evidence…

photo img_2333

…of the damage produced by some careless people.

photo img_2342

Thousands of hectares have burned after someone smoked or burned a little piece of paper…

photo img_2344

…which is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN in the park.

photo img_2389

The reason? The wind! These images give us an idea of how strong the wind is around here.

photo img_2632
>
photo img_2631

So, if you think you can't stop smoking during your visit, PLEASE DON'T VISIT THE PARK! If you drop a single cigarette butt, even by accident, you won't be able to recover it, and you'll start a terrible fire.

photo img_2412

Our next view is of the well-known (at least locally)…

photo img_0856

Pehoé hostel.

photo img_0860

You can check the prices under the tarifas tab on their website. (I didn't find an English language version of it!)

photo img_0861
>
photo img_0862

Eventually, as we near the end of our day-long tour, the mystical towers get in sight.

photo img_0988

You might notice the absence of trees.

photo img_0995

The landscape becomes dry as we move east.

photo img_1007

That change is evident from the plane, too.

photo img_1008

We stop at the umpteenth lookout of the day, by these rapids.
photo img_1019
>
photo img_1027

If you ask me, I prefer the horns. The towers might be more attractive…

photo img_0985

…to climbers…

photo img_0986

…who can get to the base of the towers…

photo img_0984
>
photo img_1030

…on a boat like this one.

photo img_2326

Finally, we leave the park with a wonderful sight of river Serrano.



It was a long day, and we still have a three-hour trip back to Punta Arenas. But, in spite of her arthrosis, my mother is planning to come back after she has her hip replaced in a couple of months. She wants to reach some places that she could not go to this time.

As for me, I think this is one of those places that you should visit before you die. Besides, just imagine the cool flight-reports you could post!



Punta Arenas Airport


Reaching PUQ is relatively easy. In our case, we arranged to be picked at our Airbnb by a taxi.

photo img_1263

A taxi will charge 10000 CLP, and the transfer service 5000, so a taxi will be more convenient for two or more people travelling together.

photo img_1265

As for the premises, I have noticed…

photo img_1270

…that Chilean airports are usually modern…

photo img_20180127_071925

…and comfortable.

photo img_20180127_072055

Most of them follow the same design…

photo img_20180127_072121

…with the counters area on one end of the main hall…

photo img_20180127_072221
>
photo img_20180127_073000

…and the stairs/escalator/elevator in the middle.

photo img_20180127_072230
>
photo img_20180127_072839

The only downside would be the lack of shops.

photo img_20180127_072247

Most of them are gift shops.

photo img_20180127_072702_1

Something more practical would be very welcome, especially considering that PUQ serves passengers flying to destinations…

photo img_20180127_072300

…as exotic as Antarctica! Aerovías DAP has commerical flights to the white continent.

photo img_20180127_072333

Antarctic Airways and Mineral Airways are DAP's subsidiaries.

photo img_20180127_073558

JetSmart is a relatively new ULCC. Unfortunately, their cabin baggage policy is quite strict, and a small bag that you can carry for free in LATAM or Sky Airline (the other Chilean airlines) is paid baggage with JetSmart.

photo img_20180127_072943

Looks like some local products are appreciated in other lattitudes.

photo img_20180127_072349

I guess they also enjoy a warm woollen sweater in…

photo img_20180127_072356

…Jamaica???

photo img_20180127_072416_1

Porvenir is across from Punta Arenas, on Tierra del Fuego (lit. Fireland), the large island that makes up the southern tip of South America. Puerto Williams is the absolute southernost town in the world, on Navarino island. There's also a Chilean settlement in Antarctica called Villa Las Estrellas, where military and scientific staff live with their families, but I'm not sure if that can be called a town.

photo img_20180127_072420

Floating above the hall are some ethereal, transparent…

photo img_20180127_072456

…"sliced" acrylic whales.

photo img_20180127_072616
>
photo img_20180127_072645

Not sure if they look like whales…

photo img_20180127_073831

…or more like giant spermatozoa. LOL. They might fit better at CCP rather than PUQ!! (CCP = Concepción airport)

photo img_20180127_073855

An ATM! You sure take it for granted at an airport, but there's none at ZAL, my local airport!

photo img_20180127_072508

PUQ's ground plan.

photo img_20180127_072540

First (ground) floor…

photo img_20180127_072552

…and upstairs.

photo img_20180127_072559

Arrivals is on the other end of the hall.

photo img_20180127_072719

Let's go upstairs.

photo img_20180127_073618

Apart from the restrooms, a cafeteria, and some tourists that decided not to pay for their last night in Punta Arenas…

photo img_20180127_074205

…there isn't much to see airside on the second floor. So we go straight through security.

photo img_20180127_074216

Airside, first thing you come across with is BrittShop…

photo img_20180127_074736_1

…and a little cafeteria on the left.

photo img_20180127_074803
>
photo img_20180127_075014

To baggage claim.

photo img_20180127_075822

There's this lounge, which hopefully serves something more than the cheese and ham sandwiches I saw at CCP.

photo img_20180127_075837

Those less fortunate can buy more souvenirs.

photo img_20180127_075924

At the far end of the boarding room you realize…

photo img_20180127_075944

…that you'll be very hungry if you didn't visit the cafeteria when you were airside.

photo img_20180127_080059_1

Well, let's go back…

photo img_20180127_080114

…because mom is waiting for the little cafeteria to open.

photo img_20180127_080146

Our gate.

photo img_20180127_083453

It's 8:35. Shouldn't we be boarding?

photo img_20180127_083504

LATAM has adopted the general boarding system in Chile, too. Today we have priority, special needs and general boarding lines.

photo img_20180127_084133

See how spotter-friendly PUQ is, with those seats facing the apron. There must be some interesting spotting here.

photo img_20180127_084145

You bet! Here's CC-ARN, Aerovias DAP's British Aerospace Avro RJ100.

photo img_1274
>
photo img_1271

And over there…

photo img_1276

…a British antarctic survey aircraft.

photo img_1277
>
photo img_1279
>
photo img_1280
>
photo img_1281

That one I couldn't find on the web.

photo img_1285
>
photo img_1282

Salmon shipping. To… Jamaica?

photo img_1286

Romans had the verb bibere (to drink), from wich many Spanish words originated (beber = to drink; bebido = drunk; etc) But for some mysterious reason, our word for "drinkable" comes from a different Latin word: potare, which also means "to drink". So, meet agua potable (drinkable water)

photo img_1275

In the distance, islands Magdalena and Marta, which we visited in our previous report.

photo img_1287

Ah, CC-BEK is finally here.

photo img_1290

What do I see? Is that some new livery?

photo img_1292

Oh! CC-BEK must have been the plane that took Pope Francis around the country during his unforgettable visit. Unforgettable in the way a plane crash is unforgettable, that is.

photo img_1293

Camouflaged hangars. I suppose they were built for the imminent war between Chile and Argentina in 1978.

photo img_1300
>
photo img_1301

Aerovías DAP's CC-CZP shows off its beautiful black and yellow livery. One of my favorite combinations! In fact, I used to have a black and yellow backpack at school. :D

photo img_1303



Boarding


Since my mother had to use a walking cane because of her hip arthrosis (she had surgery a week before posting this report and is recovering very well) we were allowed in first.

photo img_20180127_085728

The red headrests are a nice touch. Otherwise, LATAM's cabins would be as gray as Sky Airline's.

photo img_20180127_085822_1

The pitch looks good.

photo img_20180127_085908

Indeed!

photo img_20180127_090219

There are two control towers. The older one announces…

photo img_1304

…that we are 139 feet above sea level. It also announces some lack of maintenance.

photo img_1306

The newer one, in the distance, announces nothing. Oh, JetSmart's CC-AWD…

photo img_1308

…features a condor on its tail.

photo img_1307

LATAM has reclining seats. So does Sky Airline, but not JetSmart.

photo img_20180127_090107

The condor has flown away. An Ilyushin is parked there.

photo img_20180127_090149

In the seat pocket…

photo img_20180127_090317

…safety information, BOB menu, and the inflight magazine.

photo img_20180127_090435

Mendoza, in Argentina, is only 180km from Santiago. But the Andes are in the way, so the 30-minute flights between both cities are crucial to avoid the 9-hour ride across the mountains.

photo img_20180127_090624

Wow! The controls look shiny and new.

photo img_20180127_090757

Standard overhead panel.

photo img_20180127_090824

A handsome cabin, isn't it?

photo img_20180127_094539

That was a flight full of surprises.

photo img_20180127_094551




The Flight


Some information of this flight.

photo 2018-04-12-210424_1366x768_scrot

PUQ is a rather busy airport for Chilean standards.

photo img_1310

In fact, it also handles some international flights…

photo img_1312

…and for some time after the mega-earthquake that hit central Chile in 2010…

photo img_1313

…it handled flights coming from Australia and New Zealand.

photo img_1315

It has three runways. More than SCL!

photo img_1316

But this is due to the strong winds, not to the traffic.

photo img_1317

Taxiing with a view of the untamed strait…

photo img_1319

…which still makes the life of seamen miserable.

photo img_1320
>
photo img_1321

Yellow lines. In case of snow, I suppose.

photo img_1322

More protection?

photo img_1323
>
photo img_1324

Takeoff.

photo img_1327
>
photo img_1329
>
photo img_1330

Lenga trees and the dry cold Patagonian desert vie for domination.

photo img_1331
>
photo img_1332

Their limits are clearly marked by an invisible barrier.

photo img_1333
>
photo img_1335
>
photo img_1337

Last view of the oil refinery…

photo img_1340
>
photo img_1341

…and privately-owned Isabel island.

photo img_1344

For someone like me, used to live surrounded by mountains, these huge flat spaces extending in all directions…

photo img_1345

…are a humbling view.

photo img_1349
>
photo img_1355

But the best part comes…

photo img_1359

…as we approach the glacier-carved…

photo img_1360

…Paine Towers National Park, which we visited only days ago. The Horns on the left.

photo img_1362

…and here in the center.

photo img_1366

Some mountains have been carved into leaf-thin structures…

photo img_1369
>
photo img_1370

…by glaciers like this one, Grey Glaciar.

photo img_1377

For the rest of the flight…

photo img_1381

…the clouds have broken more since our inbound flight one week ago…

photo img_1382

…allowing us to see more…

photo img_1383

…of the ice fields where all these glaciers originate.

photo img_1393

But these views are nothing…

photo img_1398

…compared with what I'll see some days later…

photo img_1402

…in my sencond trip to the area.

photo img_1408

North of the ice fields, the landscape of fjords and islands turns greener.

photo img_1427

These little islands are scattered around the large Chiloé island.

photo img_1428

We'll be arriving in Puerto Montt very soon.

photo img_1429

Yummy! The sole sight of these islands…

photo img_1432

…makes me think of curanto

photo img_1433

…and cancato!



Of course! Salmon farms abound in the area.

photo img_1438

The continent at last.

photo img_1439

Puerto Montt in the background.

photo img_1441

The road connecting Chiloé island to the continent.

photo img_1442
>
photo img_1443
>
photo img_1444

Touchdown.

photo img_1445

It's a bit cold today. I don't think our young spotters from last week got their mother's permission to sit by the road today.

photo img_1446
>
photo img_1447

Did you know that it's warmer inside the terminal?

photo img_1450

Welcome to PMC.

photo img_20180127_112700
>
photo img_20180127_112708
>
photo img_20180127_112713

Nice! Arriving at the same gate from wich we left.

photo img_20180127_112720
>
photo img_1451

The scary LATAM scales are still there.

photo img_20180127_113526

The passengers to Santiago are already waiting.

photo img_20180127_113537

Wanna live in the middle of the Patagonian forest? (Dorm. = short for dormitorio = bedroom)

photo img_20180127_113959

Our baggage is delivered in minutes…

photo img_20180127_114012

…and we're ready to take…

photo img_20180127_120929

… the bus to Puerto Montt's bus station.

photo img_20180127_121101

And what better way to finish this absolutely thrilling week…

photo img_20180127_122955

…than making a final spotting…

photo img_20180127_123000

…of the plane that brought us here.

photo img_20180127_123003

Thanks for reading! :)
See more

Verdict

LATAM

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
In-flight Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering6.0

Punta Arenas - PUQ

8.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness10.0

Puerto Montt - PMC

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

PUQ
For decades, PUQ has been the center of intense military and scientific activity. That might explain why it feels a little too "basic" for a commercial airport in an area with a growing tourism industry. However, I have heard that a new terminal (or deep changes to the current one) is being planned.

PMC
Clean and efficient. Not much better than PUQ.

LATAM
The best cabins among Chilean airlines. But their BOB menu is not as good as Sky Airline's.

Related

7 Comments

  • Comment 446878 by
    AK SILVER 471 Comments

    Actually, I only looked at the touristy photos ^^, they are awesome !

  • Comment 447628 by
    loukas SILVER 262 Comments

    Hi Nechus, thanks for a great report! You are very lucky in Chile to have almost everything a man could imagine: high mountains, glaciers, ocean, vineyards, warm and cold climate, countryside like in Scotland or New Zealand (maybe there is a desert that you don't have but I'm not sure about that). Great mountain and birds photos! And the great spermatozoa..... :)))

    • Comment 447798 by
      nechus SILVER AUTHOR 597 Comments

      Hi, Loukas!

      You are very lucky in Chile to have almost everything a man could imagine

      It's true. It's a real luck that Chile extends from north to south, not from east to west. Otherwise, the landscape would be pretty much the same in the whole coutry!!

      maybe there is a desert that you don't have

      Atacama! I have reported flights to Copiapó, Iquique, and Arica. All those cities are in the desert.

      In fact, the only kind of landscape you won't find in Chile is tropical jungle. We don't have crocodiles, boa contrictors, or piranhas. Quite a relief, anyway! XD But, at least where I live, most tropical fruit like mangos or guavas are imported... and expensive. And I love mangos!! :'(

      And the great spermatozoa

      Yeah! Long live the great spermatozoa!!!

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Comment 448155 by
    707Bob 6 Comments

    What beautiful photos. Makes me want to visit. Thank you.

    • Comment 448163 by
      nechus SILVER AUTHOR 597 Comments

      Thanks for dropping by. Go on! You'll enjoy visiting Chile! You'll find everything, from Airbnb to expensive hotels, from street food stalls to expensive restaurants, from the driest desert to ice and penguins... everything! :)

Login to post a comment.