This is the fourth and last leg of what was a magnificent trip to Montevideo, Uruguay, where I visited some interesting landmarks within the city and also the beautiful town of Colonia del Sacramento.
You can see some photos in the report to leg 3. The reports to legs 1 and 2 are also available, of course.
The two flights of the outbound trip from ZAL to MVD were incredibly well synched. I didn't need to hurry or wait too long for my connection.
The return trip was a bit different.
A place to crash
It doesn't sound like a good idea for an air traveller, but I'm in urgent need of a place to crash. :D
I arrived at SCL at 2:30 a.m. and my next flight leaves at 10:45. Where will I spend the night? Should I find accomodation in the city?
Not an option. The taxi ride would cost more than the average airbnb fare. (No buses or Metro at this time of night)
Staying at the airport hotel? I'd check in at 3:00, and out at 9:00. That would be 150 USD for six hours. Unthinkable!
There is a special corner at SCL reserved for passengers that have to sleep at the airport. As you can read over there, it's called the "Área de Espera y Descanso". Rest area, for short. Let me show you.
It's at the far end of the first (ground) floor. But don't expect any special amenities! It's just a corner with some seats. You can sleep on the floor. Not very welcoming.
So I contact the airport via Messenger a week in advance: "Can I access the domestic boarding room as early as 2:30 if my flight leaves at 10:45?"
Silly me, I didn't take a screeshot of their answer, but the do reply. They say it's OK, unless I have to check some baggage. In that case I would have to wait for the counters to open.
Fantastic! The domestic boarding room is very comfortable, with soft, cushy seats, cafeterias, restaurants, and so on.
So let's take the elevator to the third floor…
…and head for the access to security check.
At this ungodly hour my eyes make no difference between the real world and this blurred photo. Aw. My favorite shop is closed. The good thing is…
…not many domestic flights at the moment…
…so I'm airside in seconds, literally!
Ah! Maxi K! My saviour. Unlike the ultra-hidden one in the international side, this one is in plain sight, right after security check.
In the boarding room I see that I was not the only one who came up with this bright idea. All the long, soft seats are taken. But in the far end - where I spent a great planespotting session in 2017 - there are still some free seats. Believe it or not, these two seats made for a very comfortable bed! Besides, since this stay at the airport was part of the plan, I'm carrying a blanket with me. So I wrap myself up, and buenas noches!
Six hours later the sun shines into my "bedroom". Let's go for a walk.
Who placed this here overnight?!
Great photos by the members of this local spotters group.
There's also an exhibition of photos, text, and cartoons about the first pilots who dared to cross the Andes…
…like Dagoberto Godoy.
…and some foreign pilots like Adrienne Bolland.
Are they implying that French female pilots are vain?
If you're interested, I'm leaving the 43 photos of the exhibition here.
Time to line up at…
…puerta veinticuatro. JetSmart's blue measuring devices stand by every gate. I'd say that - of the three main airlines flying in the country - LATAM is the strictest when it comes to applying their baggage policies…
…followed by JetSmart, and then Sky.
Yes. Be afraid of LATAM.
The red sign warns not to use the stairs while the jetbridge is moving. I wouldn't dare! Perhaps the slide.
A peek outside the jetbridge window and… What?! Is it you, CC-AFX? You brought me from Montevideo only eight hours ago!! Had I known you'd spend the night out there I'd stayed onboard!! […] Oh, I see. This is your second flight of the day. Tough work with the airline, huh? But you look great! I wonder why they are returning you. […] Oh, thank you! I've been cutting carbs. […] A psychiatrist? Yes, I shouldn't be talking to planes. My mother also says that this flight-reporting thing is going too far. Thanks for your advice. Well, gotta be going now. […] Likewise! Good luck at your new job in Germany!
What a nice guy!
So my flight from Montevideo last night was not my last one on CC-AFX, but the second to the last. As mentioned in my previous report, Sky is renewing its fleet, and CC-AFX is joining a German airline. From flightradar24.com I learn that it made its last domestic flight in Chile on February 22. Then left for México. Farewell, CC-AFX!!
While we wait for pushback…
…I hear giggles coming from 5A. Brrrrr… that little hand gives me the jitters! Is it one of those unnerving, flight-spoiling little creatures?
To be honest, this one is one of the cutest I've seen, and he (or she?) behaved during the whole flight.
Still some activity going on outside.
My favorite row on Sky's A319s is 24, but I have found that row 6 usually has better legroom.
And today with the added advantage of having no neighbor in 6B! According to what I've learned from some reports around here, I'm flying premium economy today!
Looks like we're ready to go.
Some additional information about this flight.
Taxiing will be quite short this time…
…because after we pass by the emergency vehicles…
…the control tower…
…defunct Latin American Wings…
…and some military aircraft…
…we turn right towards the east runway, which is closer.
Hm! Let's hope they won't have the bad idea of committing suicide in one of the turbines.
And we take to the skies…
…above the intersection of Costanera Norte and Vespucio Norte…
…and the industrial…
…and residential areas of west Santiago.
The mountains look superb…
…flanking the Central Valley…
…but spring in the south of Chile can be tricky…
…and we won't see much more than this today. :(
Coffee! I need one badly! I order it with a carrot muffin, which looks a bit… disappointing.
Cecilio, you tell me. Right. They are larger than JetSmart's…
…but smaller than LATAM's.
I wonder what my neighbor is reading so avidly.
"1978, The Year We Marched to War". In 1978 Chile and Argentina were on the verge of war for some islands at the southernmost tip of the continent. Then the Pope acted as a mediator and the conflict was solved. What about teaching his flock to follow their spiritual leader's Golden Rule, too? "Please, keep this island. I don't really need it" "By no means. You might need it more than me." Ha. I'm a dreamer.
…the clouds finally start breaking as we descend. These clouds over Valdivia can mean only one thing-
And lots of it!
We bank to the right in a U-turn, so now we can see river Calle Calle, which flows through Valdivia.
It's one of the few navigable rivers in Chile, which makes rowing a popular activity in the city.
I can see the city over there! But it's very foggy out there. The fog explains…
…why we are landing nortwards.
The ILS system is installed at the south end of the runway.
In fact, we can be happy that the fog wasn't thicker.
Even with the ILS system, sometimes it's impossible to land at ZAL because of the fog…
…and flights are cancelled, like what happened to me last year.
Here we go. Easy, captain. :)
The road to Valdivia.
Good old ZAL, better known as Pichoy…
…was closed from September 25 to November 30, 2018…
Whatever happened to spring?! The weather was wonderful when I left a week ago! Anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to take the nationalistic photograph of the day. Haha. When my colleagues at school ask me about my lack of nationalistic or patriotic feelings (I don't sing the national anthem at school events, for example, and I'm a conscientious objector) they turn red in their faces when I tell them "If the Bolivian or Peruvian flag were flying outside our school, I would have to pay my taxes to the Bolivian or Peruvian government, and that's all."
"22 SET 2018" Some people say "setiembre" instead of "septiembre". I find it horrible! Should we say "otubre," too? Ew. (4000 CLP = 6 USD)
Let's see if we find Pichoy a little modernized next time we come around here.
One thing is sure at the moment: Its lunchtime and I'm hungry!
Santiago - SCL
Valdivia - ZAL
Sky Airline has become my favorite Chilean airline for its consistent, reliable product. Whether it's a domestic or international flight, you can count with comfortable seats, acceptable legroom, a good, fair-priced BOB menu, and a punctual service. Besides, you can carry up to 20kg in your included hand luggage! Unbeatable.
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