Review of JetSmart flight Valdivia Santiago in Economy

Airline JetSmart
Flight JA142
Class Economy
Seat 26D
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 19 Apr 19, 17:00
Arrival at 19 Apr 19, 18:30
JA   #13 out of 19 Low-cost airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 21 reviews
Published on 8th May 2019
Auntie Olivia - my father's sister - has been in bed for four years now.

She's completely healthy, the doctor says. She just convinced herself that she can't walk.

I can't visit her very often, so I'm using this long weekend to fulfill my duties of "favorite nephew".

The job is easy: I just have to sit next to her bed for hours while listening to the same stories she has already told me a hundred times.

Let's see what JetSmart can do for me.

The seat experiment

This flight will give me the opportunity to carry out a little "experiment" - Is there any chance to get a widow seat on an LCC without paying for it? Will I be able to "fool" the system?

I start by buying my ticket from JetSmart, a ULCC where you have to pay to get your preferred seat.

The lowest fare is still available for the outbound flight (ida) a month before this long weekend. The price for the return flight (vuelta) has just started to rise.

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It's just a weekend. No extra baggage needed.

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And here's the key step - A chill runs down my spine as I click on "No quiero elegir asientos" (I don't want to choose seats)

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I'll carry my boarding card on my cellphone.

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And that's how I become one of JetSmart's least profitable customers. I have paid the bare fee. No extras at all.

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When the time for check-in comes I choose Asignación aleatoria sin costo (Random assignment free of charge), and I'm assigned seat 26D. Hmf. What if I try again? Same thing. What if I wait a little? Same thing! So, it doesn't seem to be quite "random" but rather "revengeful"!

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ZAL is evolving (sort of)

This Friday afternoon I'm planning to take whatever bus shows up at the usual bus stop, and get off in the road outside the airport. It's the cheapest and less complicated way to get to ZAL. Rural buses run every 20 or 30 minutes between Valdivia and little towns near the airport.

But - to my big surprise - my sister is in a good mood today and she offers to take me without me asking her.

How could I say no?!

So we cross the river Calle Calle…

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…and drive along the road north of Valdivia. The summer is coming to an end…

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…and the shadows are long as early as 4 p.m. The bus would have dropped me over there, on the right.

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There are barely 100 meters…

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….from the road up to the terminal.

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You see? I'm not the only one…

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…who uses the public transportation to get to ZAL.

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When she sees a cop (that I didn't see) my sister decides…

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…to drive past the entrance and drop me a little further ahead.

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A corner of the main hall just by the entrance looked like this in late 2018. There used to be a cafeteria here…

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…but now the enlarged men's restrooms occupy that space.

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I have to film discreetly and take screenshots later. In fact, I'm using this strategy a lot in this report.

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Outside the restrooms…

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…LATAM passengers are arriving from Santiago.

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On my way to the boarding room…

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…I can't notice any new changes around the main hall.

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Even the chewing gum dispenser stands in the same place.

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That would be the queue for security check.

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What's the problem, ma'am?! You've just seen the prices of goodies??? XD

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Haha. Just kidding. The prices are very reasonable!

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Only a couple of minutes later I am in the boarding room…

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…which is crowded because the LATAM flight back to Santiago is about to board.

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Here's another change. There used to be a meeting room over there at the bottom. It's part of the waiting room now and there are new restrooms available.

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A string of Permiso, Permiso, Permiso (Excuse me) and a lot of floundering, faltering, and meandering is the only way…

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…to make it through the crowd to the other side of the room. A sign in Portuguese informs that Chile is free from measles and German measles. (German measles! You should read Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side!)

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LATAM's aircraft is waiting.

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I must admit that ZAL has never had…

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…the cleanest windows.

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In the meantime, that lady turns on her laptop…

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…and minutes later…

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…she is checking our boarding passes.

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I am not really surprised…

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…to see CC-AWA landing there.

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Even though JetSmart ordered some 70 planes from Airbus…

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..their fleet is still small, and CC-AWA seems to have been…

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…assigned to this particular route…

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…until further notice.

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Boarding starts promptly. Even though I am in zone 3 - the longest queue - we are told that we can just board if we already have been checked by the other lady. And what's more, they make two lines for zone 3, so I am among the first to board.

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A stroll around the apron with all those engines purring is a magical experience.

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Have I ever told you about the ancient Chilean boarding rituals?

Ever since the times of the Inca Empire we have appeased the god of aviation - Latamcoatl - by performing the Boarding Dance, aka the Hokey Pokey.

It's very simple:

♪♫♬ Put your left foot in ♪♫♬

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♪♫♬ Take your left foot out ♪♫♬

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♪♫♬ And do the Hokey Pokey all around! ♪♫♬

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You can master it in minutes!

Not a single cloud in the sky. You see?

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That means that Latamcoatl…

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…is happy now. We can fly safely.

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A flight-reporter in the making??

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JetSmart's livery is allusive to the Chilean flag colors…

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…which in turn are allusive to the colors of the French flag.

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Their first planes featured images of local birds, like the halcón peregrino austral (Falco peregrinus cassini)…

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…but their newer planes also feature other animals…

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…like a puma (mountain lion)

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According to that table, the temperature can reach +50°C or -40°C… inside the cabin??? :O

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There are two things I fail to understand about the signs on that door. First, the word "lavabo". We don't use it in Chile. And second, how on earth do they fit a wheelchair in that "lavabo"?!

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Light years away from the last experience onboard CC-AWA last January, this time the cabin smells nice and fresh…

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…and it looks clean.

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Something that I really like about JetSmart is their background music. Unlike LATAM, which always play the same tune in Portuguese, JetSmart has a playlist of nice melodies. What would be this kind of music called? Lounge music? I'm not sure. You can listen to these two samples I recorded with my cellphone. (Audio only)

Sample 1

Sample 2

I can't complain about the seat pitch. I once flew on a LATAM plane where my knees poked the back of the seat. It was claustrophobic. That was in the old LATAM cabins, though, with the thick seats. It was a bad case of legacy seats and low-cost pitch. It improved in time.

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Some gifted designer came up with these armrests that can be raised. God bless him! However, I have read that most aisle seats have a small lever or button on the underside of the armrest, near the hinge, that allows to raise the armrest.

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Tray table, clean.

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Seat pockect contents.

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I reccomend those "native potato" crisps. Lots of different kinds of potatoes, in different colors and flavors, are produced in the south of Chile. Thses crisps are supposed to be made whith those.

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The salads and sandwiches look great.

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This one in particular is one of my favorites.

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JetSmart has added some accessories to its BOB menu.

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Very practical.

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How cute! If it was branded or had plane designs I'd buy one!

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Buying a Chilean phone chip will be useless for a foreigner. You need your Chilean ID number to activate it. Otherwise, you have to go to the service provider's office. The main ones here are Entel (expensive and horrible customer service), Movistar, and Claro. Claro will drown you in spam. So I recommend Movistar.

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It's interesting that Sky Airline has made it possible to change your seat during the flight for about a year now…

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…and JetSmart has followed suit.

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The prices for changing your seat during the flight.

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One of the most accurate route maps I have seen. Each city seems to be in the correct place.

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I always carry my own earplugs when I travel. I can't sleep with noise.

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The flight

This flight as saw it.

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At 4:56 the doors are closed, but we are not pushed back immediately. The captain tells us that they are looking for the baggage of a passenger "who won't be flying with us today", and this will take five or ten minutes. He has an accent, and he doesn't say "esto llevará" (this will take) but "esto shevará", which means that he's Argentinean.

At 5:00 we are pushed back while the safety speech is in progress. But then something happens and we return to our parking position.

At 5:12 we are pushed back again, but we are held on the apron until 5:21, when the flaps are tested and we start taxiing.

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Once we get to the head of the runway we wait for a couple of minutes again…

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…until we finally…

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…take off at 5:29.

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It's great that I can still take some photos from here…

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…at least before the landscape gets out of my sight.

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Some minutes later the BOB service starts. I can not part from…

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…my beloved carrot muffin, but this time I'm adding something different.

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Blueberry-maqui juice. Maqui (say MAH kee) is a local berry that - as is often said of less-known berries - is loaded with anti-oxidants and other almost-miraculous properties. The thing is, if you drink this, you should say good-bye to a considerable percentage of your wrinkles. My ass.

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I'm not sure if this is a new policy or just the initiative of a smart FA, but whenever the amount to pay ends in 500, she offers a Super 8 for those 500 CLP. Super 8 is an extremely popular treat here, so very few people will say no. Obviously, I said yes.

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So my change is not 6500, but just 6000. BTW, one of the things I like the most about Chile is the money. I mean, the banknotes! The green one (a thousand pesos) is called a "luca". The pink one is called, of course, "cinco lucas". That lady is Gabriela Mistral, a poet. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945.

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I don't know if maqui juice has other unwanted effects, but I suddenly feel an urge to visit the restroom. Or is it the Coke I had with my lunch? Anyway, a little girl goes ahead of me. Her father stays outside but she doesn't want to be alone, so a little game of peek-a-boo starts. I'm suffering in silence.

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Well. Let's embrace adversity and make the best out of the circumstances. This is the first time I can photograph a galley in such detail…

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…though I'm not really paying attention at the moment.

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Meanwhile, the BOB continues… or are they collecting the trash? I'm losing the sense of time and reality at the moment. Will that girl ever finish, for God's sake???

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At last!!

Luckily I didn't need it, but even though I'm not a psychic I can read many stories of suffering and desperation in that torn roll.

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There's nothing creepier than arriving at SCL when the night has fallen.

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Avoid being the last one to disembark, or you'll be left alone in the long, silent corridors of the second floor.

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Thanks for reading!
See more



Cabin crew10.0
Buy-on-board menu8.0

Valdivia - ZAL


Santiago - SCL



Todayś flight was a challenge, and an experiment. I confirmed that you won't get a good seat unless you pay for it. JetSmart's cabins are OK... for short flights. The BOB is slowly improving, with great sandwiches and newly added accessories.

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

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 15 avis concernant 3 compagnies sur la ligne Valdivia (ZAL) → Santiago (SCL).


La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est LATAM avec 7.2/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 1 heures et 27 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 502116 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 615 Comments
    I'm missing the chewing gum this time :D
  • Comment 502328 by
    Christian Gerber 2 461 Comments
    I wonder how you can distinguish Buenos Aires spañol de Montevideo's one ... Así being uruguayo pilot is not a sinecure !
    Thanks ...I am to fly Jetsmart next year.
    • Comment 502331 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 982 Comments
      Jajjajajjaa Es cierto. Hay una pequeña probabilidad de que haya sido uruguayo. Vergüenza debería darme por ser discriminador! XD
    • Comment 502360 by
      Fernando 68 Comments
      Hi Christian, is difficult to distinguish the accent but Uruguayans speak slowly respect of Argentinians, specially people from Buenos Aires (aka Porteños). The Uruguayan accent reminds me of the one from people of Santa Fe city in Argenitna
      • Comment 502362 by
        Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 982 Comments
        Thanks for the clarification, Fernando! I asked some Uruguayan friends but they were not able to tell me, apart from differences in vocabulary. Of course, something that caught my attention from my first visit to Uruguay was the frequent use of "pah!", and words like "gurí" and "gurisa".
  • Comment 502361 by
    Fernando 68 Comments
    Hi Shidsu, excellent report. What does the change of nickname means?
    • Comment 502365 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 982 Comments
      Esteee.... Fue un arranque de locura. O al menos eso dice Kevin, el administrador. XD

      Lo que pasa es que el nombre Nechus se me ocurrió porque algunos parientes me llaman Necho, pero en realidad eso no significa mucho para mí. Hace unos días hice clic en mi avatar, seleccioné "Abrir imagen en una nueva pestaña" y en la barra de direcciones del navegador apareció el nombre que el servidor de le puso al archivo de imagen, que consiste en una serie de letras y números sin sentido. Una parte de eso era SHIDSU, y me pareció que sonaba bien. Esa es toda la historia. XDDDD
  • Comment 502743 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6359 Comments
    Welcome to Flight-Report Shisdu...oh wait...Hi Nelson..."The Artist Formerly Known As Nechus" Jajajaja

    Fue un arranque de locura. O al menos eso dice Kevin

    Claro que es pura locura ? Para mi, "Nechus" fue una institución...Vale, me voy a acostumbrar

    A flight-reporter in the making??

    Oh good, we need more lady-reporters

    …which in turn are allusive to the colors of the French flag.

    It's a conspiracy! Haha. Though I guess Chile has probably had the most French immigration in South America, aside from Argentine. Or at least people of French descent there seem to have had a lot of influence. I don't know how many people can claim French heritage in Chile, but I've read that in Argentina, it's over 25% of the population! There's an entire town in las Pampas of the Buenos Aires province that was established by people from my home town in France and the surrounding countryside--the streets carry the names of towns and villages from my area. It's called Pigüé if you're curious ? (Though I've probably mentioned it before, haha).

    On another note, I like the bird on the reminded me of Frontier.

    Thank you for sharing Nechus...Shisdu...Nelson ?
    • Comment 502747 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 982 Comments
      Hi Nelson..."The Artist Formerly Known As Nechus"

      Well, it must be a period of crisis I'm going through. Do you remember that Prince used to called himself "The Artist" for some time? And then he turned his name into a strange symbol. (Sigh) Los artistas somos incomprendidos. XDDDD

      I don't know how many people can claim French heritage in Chile

      Nor do I, but that thing about the colors of the flag has more to do with the cultural background of that time than the number of immigrants. In the 1800s the richest people - and the children of politicians, among them - were educated in France, and they brought the ideals of the French Revolution with them. I think the current flag is the third in Chilean history. The first one had yellow in it.


      Interesting! I'll look for it on a map!

      Thanks for stopping by!!
      • Comment 502751 by
        KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6359 Comments
        Do you remember that Prince used to called himself "The Artist" for some time?

        Haha yep. He went from Prince to the Artist formerly known as prince, to The Artist, to Squiggly Symbol. Don't go getting any crazy ideas now...You can't become a squiggly symbol ?
        • Comment 503043 by
          Christian Gerber 2 461 Comments
          I wonder if Pigûé inhabitants are cooking some aligot... But las pampas are so boring that I am not sure to go there ;-)
          • Comment 503045 by
            KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6359 Comments
            Haha yes, I imagine they do! The world outside of France is finally discovering the joys of Aligot--they make it here in one restaurant in DC! Yes, Las Pampas doesn't seem particularly exciting, but hopefully I can work in a quick trip to Pigüé on a future South American adventure, which would give priority to Patagonia.
  • Comment 502799 by
    loukas 342 Comments
    Oh Shisdu, you should become Nechus again, cause as Kevin said: "Nechus fue una intitucion". I can say only: es verdad! :) I see you had the same issue with extra paid seats as I with UIA. It is hard not to have a window seat but paying extra money for a seat always makes me crazy, that is why I hate and avoid Ryanair as much as I can. You've managed to create an amusing report as always even without your aerials. Is the jumpseat located on the lavatory's door or it's time I changed my glasses? ;) Thanks for this FR and have a great day!
    • Comment 502806 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 982 Comments
      "Nechus fue una intitucion"

      Naaah... Let's leave Nechus rest in peace. XDD

      paying extra money for a seat always makes me crazy

      Yeah, well, 2000 CLP (3 USD) is not a huge price to pay. But I am so mean that I just wanted to try and see what happened. Never again!!!

      Is the jumpseat located on the lavatory's door or it's time I changed my glasses?

      Er... indeed! You don't need to change your glasses! I only hope nobody will open the door abruptly from the inside and smash the FA against those containers. Then she would have JetSmart written on her face forever. XDDD

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