Review of JetSmart flight Santiago Valdivia in Economy

Airline JetSmart
Flight JA141
Class Economy
Seat 6A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 31 Jan 19, 14:25
Arrival at 31 Jan 19, 15:55
JA 14 reviews
Published on 4th May 2019
After a hell hot week in Mendoza, Argentina, and a day in Santiago - where my main concern was replacing my stolen cellphone before the first symptoms of the lack of connectivity appeared (cold sweats and shaky hands) - this flight will at last take me back home to the cooler weather of Valdivia.

JetSmart belongs to the US investment fund Indigo Partners, just like Hungarian Wizz Air or Mexican Volaris. It has seen an explosive growth in the last months.

At the end of 2018 they expanded into Argentina, where they have been exploring a series of point to point routes just like they've been doing in Chile.

Have a look at some of their domestic destinations in Argentina:

Obviously, they cover several routes departing from the capital city, Buenos Aires…

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…but also from Córdoba, the second largest city in Argentina…

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…and even from minor cities that had never been so well connected before, like Mendoza, which we visited in my previous report

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…or Neuquén, in Patagonia.

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And they boast of having brand new planes only.

So, if you ask me, I see dark clouds on the horizon for other airlines like Duct Tape Airlines -aka Andes Líneas Aéreas- or incident- and corruption-ridden Flybondi.

Well… Who cares?! XD

Purchasing my ticket

I love "smart destination pickers", which display only the available destinations for a certain origin. In my case, whenever I pick my hometown as the airport of origin JetSmart shows all the possible destinations I can fly to, namely…

…one. XD

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That's one of the reasons why purchasing a JetSmart ticket is a breeze.

First, you choose your flight. In the upper right corner you're warned that cheaper (más barato) options are available on a different date. The details of your purchase are displayed immediately on the left, including a bewildering cargo por administración. I thought those fees applied only when you bought a ticket at a brick and mortar office.

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Then you choose your baggage options. I will be carrying only a small bolso de mano (hand bag) in the cabin today, and no checked baggage in the bodega (hold).

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And finally I pick seat 6A for an extra 3000 CLP (4.5 USD)

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The complete seat map. I guess it's the same for all their planes.

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I will carry my boarding pass on my phone.

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Congratulations! You're flying! (I remember this French guy who could not say tarjeta (card)!!)

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Congestion at SCL

As always, my means of transport of choice when going to the airport is Centropuerto, the buses leaving from Los Héroes Metro station. But today's ride will be a little longer than usual…

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…because we are at the height of the summer season…

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…and the access to the terminal…

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…is terribly jammed.

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However, this is a great chance…

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…to have a closer look…

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…at the construction work…

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…of what will be the east piers…

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…of the international terminal.

While the piers are being built on this side…

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…the main building is taking shape over there.

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In case you have missed this video from previous reports, it gives a detailed view of what the new terminal will look like.

Climbing the ramp to the third floor takes us…

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…at least five minutes.

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Until now, only that end of the old terminal is dedicated to domestic flights…

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…but in the future…

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…the whole old terminal will be used…

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…for domestic tflights.

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If you can get there, that is.

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C'mon! Only a couple more meters. We can do it!

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At last!

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The view from the third floor…

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…is not less…er, constructive.

The west piers are already in use.

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In fact…

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…that's the long hallway…

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…from my previous flight

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…from Mendoza.

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So, now you've got an idea…

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…of what SCL looks and feels like…

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…these days.

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If you tend to get stressed by building sites…

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…you'd better get in the hall. But it's a bit crowded today.

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These seem to be new…

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…but they are not for LCCs, I presume. Wait… GOL is supposed to be an LCC, but they charge like a legacy airline!

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What airlines are using the counters at the moment?

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Three of those airlines are Chilean - Sky, JetSmart, and DAP. DAP flies to Patagonia and Antarctica. There's also LATAM, but they call themselves "Latin American" now.

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At the back of the information system you can weigh your baggage.

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Phew! I'm well within JetSmart's 8kg hand luggage allowance.

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Something tells me that queues might be longer than expected today.

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I might do well to head…

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…to security check right now…

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…just in case.

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But no. Incredibly, I clear the check in a matter of minutes. That thumb up… I wonder if one of these days the control tower will have to display a gigantic thumb up for the captain to take off.

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36 minutes before boarding starts. Great timing…

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…because the boarding room doesn't look very inviting today…

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…for those of us less gregarious than the average…

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…as you can see on the left.

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However, those 36 minutes come and go…

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…and the screen still shows the destination of the previous flight - Calama, a horrendous town in the very center of the Chilean mining industry in the desert north of the country. No tourist ever stops in Calama, but continue their journey to San Pedro de Atacama, one of the best-known tourist destinations in Chile and one that I still have to visit.

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LATAM's flight to Calama is delayed. That's how LATAM's crew get ready for the boarding process..

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…while JetSmart's crew wait.

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In the meantime, I wonder if I'll be asked to measure my baggage, which grew a bit after I bought a couple of vinyl records. I will blame Madonna and Supertramp if I have to pay for oversized baggage!

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LATAM's passengers are boarding at last.

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Only when I hurry to grab a place in front of the queue I realize…

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…that there's something funny about LATAM's queue markers.

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I had never seen that! LATAM is making their passengers board…

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…by seat letter!

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Of all the boarding procedures, I find this is the weirdiest.

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The first thing that comes to my mind is a family where each member has to wait for their turn. Can anyone tell me if this is a trend around the world?

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Dirtier than my mind. Is it possible?!

Well, JetSmart passengers have to board by zones, but nobody cares about that this time and we are just sent into the jetbridge as the staff scans our passes. The only thing I pray is we will not get stuck in the sweltering… Gosh.

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Help. It's hot in here. I'm melting. I'm sweating. Somebody save me…

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Trying not to think about the heat, I photograph the fuselage.

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Only three more steps to get out of this hell.

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It was exactly 10 minutes in the jetbridge sauna, from 2:10 to 2:20. A FA welcomes us with a big smile and tries to comfort us by saying "Al menos está más rico aquí adentro".

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Yes, al menos (at least) está más rico (it's nicer) aquí adentro (in here), because más ordenado (tidier) it is not!!

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Nor is it más limpio (cleaner)

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I think I shrank a little with the heat of the jetbridge…

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…because the seat pitch is quite comfortable. BUT…

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…this seat is a PIGSTY!! Believe it or not, I didn't see that piece of chewing gum before I stepped on it. :'(

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What on earth happened here, for God's sake!!

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Are those traces of a red crayon??? Is it more chewing gum???

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Even the window is filthy!

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Of course, the tray table doesn't look…

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…any better.

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Leaving as soon as possible…

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…would increase my chances to survive a sepsis…

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…but we are still on the apron at 2:50. At 2:51 an Acciona lady (Acciona is the logistics company in charge of JetSmart's ground procedures) enters the cockpit for a minute and leaves.

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Eventually, at 2:53 the captain orders to get the cabin ready and the jetbridge rolls away.

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The flight

This flight as saw it.

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Have we met before, CC-AMP? Probably.

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Our taxi to the runway will take us all along that street on the right, up to those planes in a blue livery in the distance. They are…

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…the decaying 737s of the now defunct airline Latin American Wings.

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In fact… OMG! Is that…?

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CC-AQL!! Oh, no! CC-AQL, what have they done to you?! You carried me from CCP to SCL in April 2017. It was my first time on a 737-300, and I wrote a (great) report that can be found here, with nice pictures of your ageing interior.

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A picture from that report. For the good times. Rest in… pieces, CC-AQL. :'''(

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Of course, when you work for the military your life is much better. You're covered.

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Over there, an elusive bird. Every time I try to photograph it, the photo comes out blurred.

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Not this time!

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Nothing matches the expertise of LATAM's pilots.

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They can land on roofs! XD

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As if we hadn't waited long enough today, we are kept for a while longer at the head of the runway. Will another plane land? Not that one…

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…because it uses the other runway.

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Whatever it was, I didn't see it. Anyway, here we go…

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…at long last.

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Santiago looks surprisingly clear today…

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…most probably because we are in the middle of our summer holidays…

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…and the city is half empty.

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It's easy to see the most distant neighborhoods…

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…and the mountains…

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…thanks to the low amounts of smog.

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I'm happy to see the green valley, but the mountains look dull without the snow.

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Poor auntie Olivia misses me a lot down there in Pelequén.

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I can see the house where she lives. I'll come and visit her in April.

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In spite of the lack of snow, some volcanoes make the view very interesting. Like this one, which has just "blurped", letting out a minute cloud of smoke…

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…that quickly flies to the south and vanishes.

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But what do I see? Some kilometers to the south…

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…another volcano is making a real tantrum!

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Just don't spoil my April flight, OK?

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That's how we live down here. Much like the Little Prince, each of us can have our own volcano in our backyards and take care of it.

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As we fly above Colbún dam…

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…the BOB service is announced, so let's have a look…

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…at the menu.

After a careful analysis, I think I'll stick to my traditional coffee and a carrot muffin.

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There was a time when JetSmart's muffins were minuscule. They have improved a lot in that area.

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But they are still far from the splendid muffins that LATAM used to serve for free before Mercado LATAM. Cecilio's verdict: Acceptable.

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Something cute: They have branded sugar sachets now! I would sue the guy who drew the plane, though. Where's the right horizontal stabilizer (rear wing)?! Cute anyway.

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One of my favorite sights: this lagoon called Laja…

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…and Antuco volcano on its southern shore.

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After seeing the rugged beauty of the mountains near Concepción…

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…we soon reach the Araucanía.

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That one must be Llaima volcano.

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Lanín volcano, on the left, is shared by Chile and Argentina. You can bet that half the populaion of Santiago is vacationing at lake Villarrica, at the foot of Villarrica volcano, on the right.

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River Toltén is full of meaning for the Mapuche people.

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According to an old song, a Mapuche woman was washing her clothes in it when she stopped and cried:

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"Huinca tregua. Huinca pillo. Me robaron mi potrillo, mi ruca, waca y ternera." (White thief. White thief. You stole my young horse, my house, my cow and her calf)

Pitrufquén lies on its south shore, on the Ruta 5 Sur, aka, Panamerican Highway.

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Then comes Gorbea.

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We can see Loncoche…

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…as we bank to the right.

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This gives me a rare view of river San Pedro…

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…which becomes river Calle Calle when it nears its lower course.

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Valdivia is barely visible in the distance.

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Now that we are aligned with the runway we bank to the left…

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…and in a matter of minutes…

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…we descend over the fields…

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…and cows…

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…around the airport.

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At 4:13…

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…we touch down.

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As usual, we are welcomed to our destination over the PA…

…but this time we can't help…

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…laughing a little…

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…when the captain informs about the local temperature…

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…and tells us that our baggage will be available…

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…at belt number 1.

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He might not know…

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…that Pichoy airport…

…has one baggage belt only.

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Anyway, not having any baggage to claim…

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…I head straight for the exit…

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…where the transfer service is enthusiasticaly offered there on the left.

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Four thousand pesos! The Uncle Scrooge inside me is screeching his teeth. I'll see if I can avoid this expense next time.

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Hasta la próxima! :D
See more



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

Santiago - SCL


Valdivia - ZAL



Of the three major Chilean airlines, JetSmart is the one that has experienced a greater expansion this year. The service is basic, and Sky Airline, its LCC competitor, has a better BOB menu and more comfortable seats, in my opinion, but things are about to change, judging from what I've read on the social networks. Filthy cabin today!

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

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


The airline with the best average rating is LATAM with 7.1/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 29 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 501365 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 545 Comments

    Next time is going to be a tough choice to fly... A carrier that is fixing everything with ducktape (andes) or an carrier that is filthy (jetsmart).... I'd probably choose Andes haha! Don't think I've ever seen such a gross cabin to be frank.

    …this seat is a PIGSTY!! Believe it or not, I didn't see that piece of chewing gum before I stepped on it. :'(

    That's just aweful...... from both cleaners (if it is really cleaned inbetween the flight) and passenger.

    • Comment 501394 by
      Pilpintu SILVER AUTHOR 766 Comments

      Yeah, shame on them. But to be fair, JetSmart's cabins are usually clean. It was only that particular seat that was vandalized for some big pig, or maybe a little pig with no parental supervision. Even after this bad experience I wouldn't change them for Duct Tape Airlines! XDDD

  • Comment 501510 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5606 Comments

    Hola Nelson, Looks like it was a lovely (rare) low-smog day in SCL! At least the air was clean because the cabin surely wasn't. Ugh, I hate stepping in gum. I get that LCCs save time and money by not doing full cleans during turns, but usually there is at least some quick cleaning by staff (whether ground of cabin crew)--here you can tell that absolutely no cleaning has occurred...disgusting.

    Awesome planespotting and aerials, just how I like it ?

    • Comment 501517 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5606 Comments

      Also, it’s really cool to see an active volcano erupting from the air! You don’t expect to see that in a flight-report ! ?

    • Comment 501538 by
      Pilpintu SILVER AUTHOR 766 Comments

      Hi, Kevin! I couldn't agree more with you. This was disgusting. Being an LCC shouldn't be an excuse for failing to check of the condition of the cabin between flights. Even if you pay little, you're still a passenger, not cattle. Luckily, this was the exception, not the rule, and the next two flights with JetSmart (my visit to auntie Olivia) were OK as usual.

      Thanks for your comment!

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