Did you think for a fraction of a second "There's something funny about that A350 in the cover of this report"?
But if you later concluded that it's just an A320 "in disguise", you're right.
CC-AWF was delivered to the Chilean LCC JetSmart in October 2018.
Here's a video of its arrival at SCL. According to the video description, it was the very first A320 sporting the characteristic "racoon mask" of A350s.
The reason for that is not clear to me. They say that it's because the cockpit windows can be removed from the outside (which sounds very dangerous to me!), and in case of change, that would spoil the livery of some airlines.
Whatever. I like that mask. Here's a gorgeous photo from planespotters.com. (Source)
As you see, it also broke JetSmart's tradition of featuring images of birds on the tail of its aircraft.
So, CC-AWF is not an A350…
…and it's not my plane today, either! Haha. It was my plane's neighbor only.
Back to SCL
Having arrived at Terminal Sur bus station after visiting auntie Olivia, I cross the street to Tur Bus terminal. Tur Bus is a bus company that offers regular trips to the airport. Every 20 minutes or so. They are the largest Chilean bus company (not necessarily the best) and have their own bus station.
Pay attention to the kind of buses you take. Centropuerto has blue buses and they load your baggage into a hold under the passenger cabin, which makes it easier to hand it back at the end of the trip. They also drop you closer to downtown Santiago when coming from the airport. Some Tur Bus buses are the same - like this one - but others load your baggage INSIDE the passenger cabin, and it can't be handed back until all passengers got off, which may delay you considerably. Photo in a previous report. Besides, they don't take you as close to downtown Santiago as Centropuerto.
The ticket price is the same for both companies. 1900 CLP = 2.8 USD. The guy who sold me the ticket scribbled the numbers of the bays where my bust could park: between 22 and 26. Can you imagine that at an airport? "Your plane will be at gate 22. Or maybe 23. Or 24, 25, or 26. Just look out the window and find it!"
In order to arrive at SCL these days…
…you have to wind through a "brutalist" landscape of rising concrete walls…
…and iron bars. (I learned about brutalism recently and I liked it XD )
The new parking lots are named after native Chilean trees like Patagua, Maitén, and Pehuén. FYI, Maitén is a beautiful name for girls in Chile, like Maitén Montenegro, a retired entertainer who was famous in the 60s, 70s and 80s. "Rent-a-car" is not a local tree, though. Nor is it a girl's name. XD
If you get to make it past what will be the main building of the new international terminal, though…
…and the bridge that will connect it to the east piers…
…and past the future exit ramp…
…you will soon be going up the access ramp…
…to the old terminal…
…which looks much less busy than last January.
I reckon guests at the Holiday Inn…
…must have a hard time trying to sleep these days.
Being on the upper deck of the bus gives me a great view not only of the finished west piers…
…but also of a huge finished slab that might be the roof of new parking lots, perhaps? There's going to be something underneath, anyway.
I can see that the work is much larger than I had thought. The roof of the new terminal looks great!
The bus drops me at the far end of the old terminal building, at international departures…
…where I happen to see this money exchange office. I'd like to get some Peruvian soles - the plural of sol (sun), not the soles of your shoes! - for my next July trip, but it's really expensive here, and they charge a fixed additional fee for any amount you change! Besides, the guy in front of me is also buying soles, and I hear them saying that they have 100 Sol banknotes only. That's twice what I want to buy.
The best thing I can do at the moment is going straight to the boarding room, unless…
…it's open! I'm lost.
Yes. I can't help myself. Anyway, my mother and I already watched the first season of Voyage to the bottom of the sea, and she seems to be in love with Admiral Nelson (I could bet my ass that she called me Nelson after him!) so here we go with the second season.
The queue for safety check is inexistent.
As always, I see this sign with the wrong plural form of knife.
A proud member of the Grammar and Spelling Police, I contact Nuevo Pudahuel - the airport concession holder - and tell them about this via Messenger. They reply saying thanks, and that they'll fix it asap. Will they?
Once my eyes have stopped bleeding and I have cleared security check, I head to the boarding room…
…from where I can do some spotting with the east piers as a background.
On the other side, One Airlines' CC-AIT, a 737-300. This airline only serves the mining industry.
Finally, this Wamos Air A330 was leased by LATAM to replace their 787s that were recalled because of problems with their Rolls-Royce engines. Wamos Air is a Spanish airline that flies to four destinations in the Caribbean only. Two of them in Dominican Republic. I wonder if they are something like Latin American Wings on steroids? I didn't notice CC-AWF down there at this moment! Silly me!
My flight wil board at gate 22. I'll have to go upstairs. But just as I start walking, a lady with a walking cane asks me about her flight to Osorno. She's not old, but this seems to be her first flight because she can't understand the FIDS. I explain that her flight is leaving from gate 27. She looks at me with a blank face. I walk with her to the other side of the room and point towards gate 27, but she still seems confused, as if she couldn't see the large numbers over the gates, so I walk with her to the gate itself and tell her to wait there until the passengers are called for boarding. I just hope they didn't change the gate for this flight at the last minute, as it often occurs!!
Filthy carpet at gate 22, and it's been like that since I can remember. I'm afraid SCL won't get 10 in cleanliness this time. :(
Emboldened by the positive answer to my message about the spelling mistake I write again, telling them that I love the airport, that I always give them the best score on flight-report.com, and that the carpet has been looking like this for some months now. But I'm a bit fearful of becoming annoying.
However, two days later they reply!
They say "thanks" and tell me that the carpets will be replaced this month. Fantastic!
This is when I see CC-AWF…
…next to CC-AWA.
…which has the traditional A320 look, without the mask.
CC-AWA seems to be assigned to fly between SCL and ZAL forever!
Boarding starts on time, but we are held for long minutes in the ramp…
…and in the jetbridge.
This trip is my second attempt in my experiment…
…to get a window seat without paying for it. But if the outbound flight was bad (I got an aisle seat)…
…the return flight is even worse. I get seat 27B! i wonder if the passenger in 27A will be kind and will let me take some photos.
Before he/she comes I have time to take this photo of the outside…
…and some of the cabin.
Something tells me that the front seats have better pitch.
The seat pocket is clean.
Finally my seat mate comes. It's a young lady. When she sees that I'm looking out of the window she closes the lid completely, puts her earphones on, and pretends to be sleeping even before we push back. Very rude! I can still see through the window in the front row, but it's almost completely covered by the seat.
Some additional information about this flight.
We take off at 15:12 and ten minutes later the BOB is announced. I'm not hungry after the sandwich I had for lunch…
…but a doble choca moka will be OK.
With a carrot muffin, of course!
The cute sweetener sachets with this very plane - CC-AWA - on them.
I am well prepared for this flight. After the trash has been collected I turn on my own IFE. I have become addicted to the Lustiges Taschenbuch, a monthly German Disney comic book. My German is a bit rusty, and the comics have been unbelievably helpful.
I am interrupted only by an incredible announcement over the PA: There's a special offer. AIRBUS EARPHONES at a discount!! Can that be true? I thought they were in the aircraft business! I double check the BOB menu. Ah, I see. The FA needs some pronunciation lessons. It's earbuds, not Airbus!
I must be having lots of fun with my comics because we are soon landing at ZAL.
Well, if I learned something…
…from this trip…
…is that I won't complain the next time…
…I have to pay 3 USD for a window seat.
"Passengers arrival." That sign must be there since before the jetbridges were installed. It really needs…
Another experiment that I'm doing today…
…is taking the bus to Valdivia on the road outside the airport.
So I skip the transfer vans and go out to the road. At least 20 other people do the same.
And it works! In about 20 minutes a bus stops there. So my experimental flight was partially successful, at least!
Santiago - SCL
Valdivia - ZAL
The end of my experiment. Definitely, I will pay for my window seat without complaining from now on. And at ZAL I'll skip the transfer and take the bus home on the road whenever I can.
This was a fast and punctual flight. In spite of being an LCC, JetSmart is reliable and their BOB is improving. But don't get overly excited if they offer you "Airbus earphones". XD
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