The airline with the best average rating is Sky Airline with 7.4/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 28 minutes.More information
Pandemic? What pandemic?!
Believe or or not, 2020 was the year when I traveled most.
No kidding! Have a look at my passport:
You can't deny that's a lot of walking! XD
And here's the last report in my long-overdue backlog - the final flight home after my holidays in Peru last July 2019.
Here are the links in case you're interested in the previous legs of this series. (If you see squares instead of emojis, try using Firefox):
🛫 🇨🇱 Santiago (SCL) 🛬 🇨🇱 Arica (ARI) on LATAM
🌄 Bonus: Tacna
🛫 🇵🇪 Tacna (TCQ) 🛬 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) on Peruvian Airlines
🌄 Bonus: Lima (Miraflores; Historic quarter)
🛫 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) 🛬 🇵🇪 Iquitos (IQT) on Viva Air Peru
🌄 Bonus: Iquitos (Amazon Rescue Center; Downtown)
🛫 🇵🇪 Iquitos (IQT) 🛬 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) on Viva Air Peru
🌄 Bonus: Pilpintuhuasi
🛫 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) 🛬 🇵🇪 Tacna (TCQ) on Peruvian Airlines
🌄 Bonus: Erotic Incas?! (Larco Museum, Lima)
🛫 🇨🇱 Arica (ARI) 🛬 🇨🇱 Santiago (SCL) on LATAM
🌄 Bonus: Arica
🛫 🇨🇱 Santiago (SCL) 🛬 🇨🇱 Valdivia (ZAL) on JetSmart (You are here)
For the last three days auntie Cecilia - who I see only once or twice a year - has been spoiling me with leche asada and taking me out for lunch and sightseeing around Santiago now that I'm back from my trip to Peru, and before I finally go home to the south of the country.
The only problem is that her almost 80-year-old husband is the one behind the wheel and I'm convinced he wanted to open a hole in the car roof with my head. He's completely blind to speed humps!
But I survived!
Now I'm onboard the Centropuerto bus to the airport. It's a short 35-minute ride starting at Los Héroes metro station.
Centropuerto (blue) and TurBus (green) are the two bus options to get to the airport. As I've said before, I prefer Centropuerto because baggage is stowed in that compartment at the side of the bus or in a corner of the passenger cabin, so it's handed back as passengers leave the bus. In TurBus you won't get your baggage back until everyone has left the bus because it's stowed in a sort of large cage inside the passenger cabin and its door blocks the way! Talk about bad design! This could prove fatal for someone about to miss their flight!
I came early to the airport today, so I have plenty of time to go and look around. There's no excuse to not pay a visit to Música y Películas this time!
There's a huge collection of old TV series in that store. I Dream of Jeannie has always been one of my favorites! And Larry Hagman was one of my very first crushes back in the 70s. [sigh] A precocious kid, you know? XD
Have you ever heard Barbara Eden's sad story? She had an only child who was a bodybuilder. He had a sudden death caused by drug abuse.
I'm not sure, but I think years ago there used to be only chairs in this corner just before security check. The new airport management has set up lots of comfy spaces around the terminal.
Today's airlines. This list is almost as short as LATAM's BOB menu!
Still some time for check-in. Let's go and look around a bit.
The international end of the hall looks more crowded…
…than the domestic end today.
Remember that the SCL terminal consisted of - until now - a single long hall with international flights on one end and domestic flights on the other. Well, I haven't flown since last summer and things might have changed. I don't know how soon the new international terminal will be ready. When it is, this hall will be the domestic terminal.
About 5 of those 13 kilos are Peruvian candy! (And souvenirs, of course) They have flavors there that we don't have in Chile, like chicha morada (purple corn juice). I love it!!
Our turn! About the yellow ads: "AFP" stands for Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones (Retirement Funds Managing Company) All working Chileans must save 11% of their monthly earnings in an AFP account. The AFP invests this money and shares the profit with the workers. The problem is that your AFP will still charge you a commission if they lose money, and pensions are low because they estimate you will live 250 years or so.
Security check is a breeze.
Maxi K. The best prices in the airport. I need a soda.
Oh my goshhhh… they have Inca Kola, a Peruvian drink whose flavor has always been a well-kept secret. It was so popular in Peru that Coca Cola had to buy the company to become competitive in the country. Urban myth? Who knows. That's what I was told in Peru!
As you see here, the next DAP flight to El Salvador will depart from gate 36. DAP has taken inflight entertainment to a whole new level with live inflight opera, but unfortunately it will not be available today.
Wait, what?? Hahahah A flight to El Salvador departing from the domestic terminal? This particular El Salvador is a mining town in the north of the country.
And No opera means it doesn't operate. XD
My flight leaves from gate 22, on the third floor.
Also on the third floor is this very interesting exhibition of old LATAM (LAN, in those years) scale models. Look at this B727!
B707 in a short-lived livery.
And the first plane to connect Rapa Nui to the rest of the country. Have you ever heard about Rapa Nui? The Spanish name is Isla de Pascua. Ring any bells? OK, the English name is Easter Island. I think this plane departed from La Serena.
I have already written to SCL's administration about this before. They replied that the carpeting would be changed. Is that a good excuse to neglect the third floor like this??? This is disgusting! And you can't blame the last passenger for all this, can you? Disgusting, SCL! Then again, this was July 2019. If things get better I should be here next July.
We'll be boarding by zones. This is always so with JetSmart.
And there comes this beauty. By the time of this flight, CC-AWB was three years old. It features a kingfisher on its tail… OK, vertical stabilizer 🙄 …
…and was christened Martín Pescador. But you won't find "Mr" Martín Pescador in history books. In fact, he has never existed! Martín Pescador (lit. Martin Fisher) is Spanish for kingfisher! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Raise your hand…
…if you have never stood there like a retard trying to spot your bag on the conveyor belt. XD
No, we don't pray prior to air travel.
Won't they let go of those cellphones for a second??!!
BTW, what a nice photo I've just taken… with my cellphone. ^^
JetSmart has the simplest seats you can think of. They can't be reclined…
…and your back (and booty) might resent it after a couple of hours.
I paid about 3 extra USD for a front seat, which has a bit more legroom.
The tray table is…
No BOB in the seatback pocket…
…but I have two safety cards! Great value for your money.
That darned box. The carpet seems to be an extension of SCL.
Well, not really. It looks a bit cleaner.
Sky Airline arrives…
…as we leave.
Gol is a Brazillian airline I would love to try.
LATAM'S new livery doesn't look that bad after all… I mean, it's still red, blue and white… sort of. BUT WHERE'S THAT FREAKING STAR, HUH??? WHERE IS IT???!!! >:(
Charter airline Mineral Airways takes miners to the north of the country.
At that time SCL was a work in progress.
You can't imagine how much I had to improve this photo to make those distant hills visible. The smog cloud is very thick today.
As we reach the head of the runway I spot a local mosquito…
…desperately escaping from being squashed…
…by a gringo giant.
Our turn comes after this GOL.
I feel like somebody's following me.
Can you believe this is the first time I notice the runway grooving?
Up we go.
This was SCL in July 2019.
Right there in the middle, the international terminal was taking shape.
It must have changed a lot in 18 months.
Something that will never change is Santiago's smog cloud.
Those hills in the center mark the border between the valley of Santiago (left) and the Central Valley (right). The Panamerican Highway crosses the point where the westernmost hills of the Andes meet the easternmost hills of the Cordillera de la Costa, in a place called Angostura (Narrowing).
Have some pesos to spare? You'll be thrilled to know that Casino Monticello is waiting for you precisely south of Angostura, between the old lanes of the Panamericana (that go through the tunnel) and the new lanes that go round the hill.
From that point, wavy clouds cover most of the landscape.
With the view blocked by the clouds there isn't much more to do than… eating. So I accept when the FA offers the BOB menu.
You can leaf through it.
They advertise their (at that time) recent arrangement of allowing a seat change for 16 USD after the flight had started. Tip: At the current change, you better pay in pesos. On the right you see JetSmart's routes. And now they also have regular flights to two destinations in Colombia: Cali and Bogotá.
I ordered the mechada sandwich. Let's wait and see if it's really as good as it looks on the menu. In the meantime I can take advantage of my position and snoop around a little.
Agua crew? That's where the crew keeps their water, I guess? "Inop, inop, inop…" why are all those knobs labeled inop??
[GASP] OMG!! Half this aircraft is INOPERABLE!!! What will happen if those switches are needed??? We're DOOMED!!!! 😱
Those gloves must be badass!!
And this is where they store a bullhorn and… dynamite?! :O
Here's the menu at last. Let's see what's inside.
It tastes better than it looks, believe me. Well, my standards are low, but this menu plus my seat with the little extra legroom make for a great experience, even better than some business class experiences I have read about on this very website. I can't complain!
In no time we're descending through the thick clouds over Los Ríos region…
…above river San Pedro! I see. The ILS system is on the south end of the runway, so we have flown past the airport and made a U turn, so we're going from south to north now.
Hualles (Nothofagus obliqua) deciduous trees and they look whiter without their leaves. Nothofagus forests used to cover the area, but they were replaced with pine trees and gum trees.
We fly along the road that links Valdivia and its airport. That's the bridge over river Cayumapu, which is Mapudungun for six (cayu) lands (mapu)
Cayumapu is also the name of this area where the road splits. To the east (towards you) the road leads to a tiny town called Máfil. To the north (your right) it continues to the airport and another small town called San José de la Mariquina. The large buildings at the intersection are a dairy factory called Las Parcelas (The land plots). In fact, the dairy industry is one of the most important in the south of Chile. Can you see the water tower just by the intersection? There's a giant cow sitting on it. XD
River Pichoy also flows into river Cruces.
It's not for nothing that the dairy factory was called Las Parcelas! As in any city in the world, people buy parcelas (land plots) around Valdivia to build a second home and be in contact with nature. But everybody seems to have the same idea and they end up surrounded by noisy neighbors all the same!
So many times planes have crashed on roadways while landing or taking off…
Not this time. Phew! XD The reverse thrusters and the water on the runway put up a show.
ZAL, aka Pichoy Airport.
We Valdivians laugh in the face of rain, wind, storms, hail, thunder and lightning!!!!
But I have been a Valdivian for 18 years only, so I'm happy to see the jetbridge. Hee hee :D
First, a mask. Now this! Where are my constitutional rights!!! Oh, I'm forgetting we had no idea about masks at this time.
Obediently, we go along the back of the building to the place where - as the captain said - we'll be able to claim our baggage from belt 1
Which happens to be the only one at ZAL!
You get a terrific view of the apron from here.
4000 CLP is about 5 USD
Orange license plates indicate the car is a taxi. Taxis are black with a yellow roof in Chile, but sometimes they're not! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ There's another example in the distance, on the left.
DGAC stands for Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil.
Know what? Only now, as I'm writing this report, have I noticed that those carts have been painted black!! I included a photo of them in a previous report when they were completely rusty and horrible. And now they're black! Are these guys really reading my reports? It would come as no surprise! LATAM has complained before about some screenshots I took of their website, and they threatened it would rain fire from heaven on flight-report.com if they didn't delete them. So, guys, it looks like our reports matter!
Wow! So I'm an influencer now! hahaha Let's see: ZAL, if you give me free transfer rides for the rest of my life I will write only good things about you. What do you say to that, ZAL? XD
ZAL is very well connected, and located barely 50 meters from the road to Valdivia.
That's why many people just walk to the road and wait for any bus they can take. You'll never wait for long and will pay much less that on a transfer.
But it's a bit cold and rainy for walking today, so I appreciate sitting here.
My head spins with all the experiences, places, and things I saw and did in this trip. But I'm happy to be back home in the land of cold and rain. I think now I'll cuddle up by the fire with my cat (or the five of them!) and just listen to the rain outside.
Thanks for reading!!!
Proud to have a great airport in my country. But please, keep the floors clean!!
Surprisingly good. The seats leave a bit to desire, but the BOB menu is good, prices are OK, legroom was great, and I have always been at my destination on time with them.
They painted the baggage carts!! One small step for ZAL, one giant leap for mankind. XD
I wonder what surprises I'll find this year at ZAL. Remember the smelly airside bathroom some time ago? I will check on that.