Review of JetSmart flight Valdivia Santiago in Economy

Airline JetSmart
Flight JA240
Class Economy
Seat 27F
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 18 May 18, 16:45
Arrival at 18 May 18, 18:15
JA   #8 out of 14 Low-cost airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 19 reviews
Published on 9th September 2018
May 21 is a holiday in Chile.

This year it's a Monday, so we have a long weekend.

Perfect for a necessary visit to my family near Santiago, and for a brief report on the latest developments at good ol' Pichoy, my small local airport.

BTW, this is my 50th report. I can't believe it!! :O

Oh boy. No joy at Pichoy!

Being such a small airport, a visit to Pichoy is usually an enjoyable, even relaxing, experience.

I never care to be at the airport more than an hour before ETD, and that's why the fact that I'm finishing school 90 minutes before ETD today doesn't worry me at all. I could perfectly go downtown and take a bus that will leave me on the road outside the terminal some 30 minutes before ETD.

But for some inexplicable reason I have made arrangements with an Uber driver to pick me up at the school as soon as I finish my work.

And this saves me!!

As I enter the main hall I have some trouble making sense of the crowd inside. I ask one of the people in a queue that stretches all along the length of the main hall and beyond "Is this the queue for check-in?"

"No," he replies. "This is the queue for security check!"

Me: :O

I never imagined I would ever see this level of congestion at ZAL!! I join the queue…

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…right next to the men's restroom. I have no idea if I'll make it through security check on time. I can only cross my fingers!

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There used to be a small cafeteria and candy shop here.

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Slowly but steadily, we move past arrivals (baggage claim at the bottom)…

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…and across the main hall.

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Transfer services and car rentals on my right.

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Yes we can. yes we can…

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Only one turn to the left and we'll be there.

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Yaaawwn… Free wi-fi? B*tch, please! Who needs that!! Pichoy offers some top class excitement for passengers trapped in a queue.

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I can feel my adrenaline flowing. Make it yellow! Make it yellow!

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Pink. Darn.

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Woo - hoo! The final stretch.

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This is new, but I haven't see it on yet.

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The gates to baggage claim are open. Oops! This might mean that my plane has already arrived.

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Once in the boarding room… yikes! This is crowded! Two flights are boarding at the moment: LATAM and JetSmart. One of the gates leads to the jetbridge, and the other to the apron. We are told to queue up according to zones, but nobody seems to know even which queue is for each airline, let alone which zones. It's chaotic.

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There are angry faces because those passengers in the wrong zone are being sent to the correct one, which means going to the back of the line again. If the lines were straight, we could easily identify them, but in such cramped space the lines meander all around the small room between seats, pillars, bags and other people, mixing people from all zones and airlines. You hear a lot of "Is this the line for zone 1?" "I don't know! I don't even know if this is the queue for the restroom!" I make it to the jetbridge but some people are really pissed off.

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Some months later I read in the news about the probable reason for the crowded airport I have seen today. A local senator blames officials of the previous socialist government for the loss of resources that had been destined to the improvement of ZAL. 13 million USD had been assigned to enlarge the terminal, but the money was eventually assigned to other projects due to the inaction of the local authorities.

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We are held for some minutes while the incoming passengers deplane.

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Boarding is sluggish today. On my right…

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LATAM is still waiting for its passengers.

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On my left, today's ride is…

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…CC-AWE! Two reports on CC-AWE in a row. :)

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At long last.

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The cabin looks new and smells new… because it is new! Five months old by now.

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The seats are basic…

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…but I like this sleak design.

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Tray table.

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The contents of the seat pocket.

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The menu (?) has been simplified to a single sheet of paper.

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The prices are a little bit on the expensive side, aren't they?

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There must be a mistake there. Combo 5 is more expensive than combo 4 in Chilean pesos, but combo 4 is more expensive than combo 5 in US dollars!

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On the back, "Now you can change your seat while you fly." There's a range of prices depending on the seat you choose, and if you're on a domestic or international flight. Anyway, it looks less expensive than the same service on Sky Airline, as you'll see on the next report.

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JetSmart's "smart guy" in his denim shirt… looks so… er… I mean… er… isn't he cute?



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Safety speech.

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The captain is in a good mood today! We all laugh heartily when he comes over the PA system with the words "Tripulation! Preparar la cabina para el despegue." (Tripulation! Prepare the cabin for takeoff) He jokes by making up this "new" word in English. Tripulación is Spanish for crew. But he also uses a strong accent, as if he didn't know any English at all. (Well, I've heard many FAs speaking English like that, I must say)

Good bye, tow…

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…and good bye us.

It might be only my impression…

…and climbing above the clouds…

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…is always a very quick thing.

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Because of the low rain clouds, perhaps? In fact, Valdivia is very rainy.

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The cabin during the flight…

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…when the BOB service has started. But I'll skip it.

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Watching the landscape will be enought for today. Even though darkness is falling over cities like Talca…

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…the last golden rays of the evening are painting the mountains with bright colors….

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…especially as we approach Santiago.

So sad. Beautiful Aculeo lagoon turned into crusty wasteland during the summer.

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Descending over Santiago…

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…we have to make a U-turn to the left…

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…in order to land from north to south.

And we make it to SCL…

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…at a beautiful time of day.

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We dock at the north side of the terminal, used by domestic and international flights.

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Newly built VIP lounge above the exit to baggage claim.

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I wish this were the end of the trip, but there's still a 1-and-a-half-hour bus ride ahead, which can become 2 or 3 hours on a critical day like this, when half of the smog-choked inhabitants of Santiago want to escape from the city. Ugh!

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See more



Cabin crew10.0
Buy-on-board menu7.0

Valdivia - ZAL


Santiago - SCL



My small local airport is having trouble to keep up with the times. While ticket prices fall, passenger numbers grow, and air travel becomes more and more popular in my country, Pichoy (ZAL) slowly becomes unable to deal with the influx of passengers.

ULCC JetSmart does its job very well. Nice flight. BOB a bit expensive, IMHO.

Information on the route Valdivia (ZAL) Santiago (SCL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 14 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Valdivia (ZAL) → Santiago (SCL).


The airline with the best average rating is LATAM with 7.2/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 26 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 464358 by
    KiloEchoVictor 1 Comments

    Hi Nechus (or Nelson, if you prefer), long-time reader of your Flight-Reports and first-time commenter.

    "The prices are a little bit on the expensive side, aren't they?"

    They just seem too expensive to make any sense for me. In my home country (Indonesia, in case you were curious), for instance, you can get a hot meal for approx. USD3-4 (on an LCC, e.g. Citilink; AFAIK there are no (true) ULCCs here).

    "Now you can change your seat while you fly."

    While you fly, as in onboard? That would be news for me.

    "I'll send it to anywhere in the world for free!"

    Even to a place almost 10000mi away from Valdivia? Would like the 'backpack', but I feel (sort of) guilty to take that offer. Would probably just pass the opportunity on to another commenter who lives nearer :D Also, beautiful photography!

    Safe travels,

    • Comment 464383 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 935 Comments

      Hi, Kevin!

      long-time reader of your Flight-Reports and first-time commenter

      Wow! That's amazing! It makes me so happy to know that something I have written is being read on the other side of the world! We're living in such a small world, aren't we?

      While you fly, as in onboard?

      That's right. If you, for any reason, would like to have a different seat, you can choose a new one. In my country two airlines let you do that: Sky Airline and JetSmart.

      Even to a place almost 10000mi away from Valdivia?

      Of course! The bag is yours! This won't be the first time I mail something to Indonesia. My 7th grade students were engaged in a pen pal (correspondence exchanging) project with children from Jakarta some years ago. It was a great experience! Ever heard about the Flat Stanley project? We had much fun.

      Please contact me using the "contact" button on my profile page, or write to [email protected] and give me an address, OK? I'll go to the post office within the week.

      Thanks a lot for reading and commenting!


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