Review of LATAM flight Santiago Valdivia in Premium Eco

Airline LATAM
Flight LA43
Class Premium Eco
Seat 1F
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:35
Take-off 23 Jul 21, 14:00
Arrival at 23 Jul 21, 15:35
LA   #45 out of 71 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 154 reviews
Pilpintu
By 232
Published on 13th August 2021

They say that some things never repeat themselves, like lightning striking in the same spot twice or Oumuamua coming back to our Solar System.

I thought that Pilpintu flying W would add to this list. But I was wrong!

Well, I was about to be right, but in the end the stars aligned correctly. There was no "dis - aster," i.e. no misaligned (dis) stars (aster)


Stand by



I purchased this round trip ticket back in December 2020, but it wasn't until some weeks before the flight that I received an offer from LATAM to upgrade to Premium Eco. It was quite a surprise, for I didn't even know that LATAM had introduced this service in their domestic flights in Chile. I think this is a complete first. They invited me to bid for a W seat. There was a sliding bar to choose your bidding amount, and the max bid was 15 USD. I bid and received this confirmation.


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They said that if my offer was accepted they would send me an email with a confirmation between 12 and 2 hours before my departure. And they meant it! Three hours before the flight they informed me that my request was in stand-by. Waiting for higher bids from other passengers, perhaps?


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It looks like they REALLY expected someone else to bid higher, because my upgrade was not confirmed until less than two hours before the flight.


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And so I was assigned asiento 1F.


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Delfina



I almost forgot about Delfina!

As my holidays were fast approaching, I wanted to be sure that I had all the documents required to travel during the pandemic, particularly because Valdivia (my point of origin) and San Pedro de Atacama (my destination) were both in the second most restrictive stage of the government's plan to contain the virus.

So I whatsapped LATAM and got a reply from their answering system, who introduced "her"self as Delfina.

She said
"Hi, I'm Delfina, LATAM's virtual assistant. If you ask me short, direct questions I can help you with:
A- Information about your trip
B- Answers to frequent questions about traveling
How can I help you today?"


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"Delfina." An unusual name in Chile nowadays. You might find some grandmother called Delfina. I wonder why LATAM thinks that a virtual assistant has to be female. Could it be that women have better social skills? Let me put Delfina to the test.


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"Sorry, but I didn't understand. I'm learning." Hm! She is very good at pretending not to care. She must be a female.


No stars for scl



With his pase de movilidad (certifying that you've got both doses of the jab) and his pasaporte sanitario (a sworn statement about your places of origin and destination, and your health condition) Pilpintu can permeate any barriers.

That's how I make it to the farthest corner of TurBus bus station, where you can buy your ticket to the airport over there, on the right, and take any of the buses that leave every 30 minutes from over here, on the left. The ride will take about 35 minutes, as they make a stop halfway at Pajaritos bus/subway station.


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At SCL anyone can enter the hall. Inside - on the domestic side - SCL implemented a checkpoint where you will be asked to produce the aforementioned documents on your cellphone.


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In the rush to go through the checkpoint, this photo came out blurry. Excellent! That saved me the work of having to blur all those faces! As you see, there's a row of health officials checking your papers. The shops behind them have been closed. Noooo! My favorite shop for DVDs and vinyl records used to be there! :'''(


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Safety check is always fast at SCL, no matter how long the queue.


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It's a busy time of day airside at SCL.


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The FIDS shows that this is my gate today, but I see no signs of boarding activity yet, so I have time…


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…for a brief reconnaissance stroll. I came to this corner for some spotting, but I see SCL is soaked in the Olympic spirit and decided to offer some discounts if you made a display of some physical skill…


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…which is not my cup of tea, so I just keep walking. Skytrax recently released their Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating in which SCL… er… I wonder if they even know that SCL exists!! But the dispensers ARE here. You can't deny that they deserve a star. A dying brown dwarf, at least?


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And although SCL has taken a less radical approach to ensuring social distancing than CJC and have not removed any seats…


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…they make it clear that some seats are no disponible.


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More hand sanitizer at the gate. So what else do Skytrax expect?! Bubble wrap??


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The latam premium experience



Some flight details before we board.


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Ah! It looks like being in group 1 pays off better at SCL than at ZAL. We have a line of our own! (At ZAL, groups 1, 2 and 3 boarded together)


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Definitely, today was not supposed to be a spotting day for me.


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Con cuea I can see we're boarding CC-BAK.


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Air traveler's limbo.


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I didn't expect to get a good shot of the fuselage when I took this photo on the go!


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Continuing the Premium Eco experience, here's the blocked middle seat. Too bad that this tray is angled and that can't be fixed! The FA just put the cup of coffee on it. It didn't spill because it was half full. Or half empty? It depends on your mood.


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Lots of legroom in row 1, but still uncomfortable for me. I hate it when I can not stretch my legs completely…


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…so I have to use that little space in the corner.


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By the way…


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…Oh, I see. An electrical outlet.


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LAN's spirit is still around.


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Poor CC-BOB. It looks like he won't be going anywhere soon. (Yeah, I know it's "she" in English. I just can't get used to that)


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Yeepee. It's Premium time!


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Oh, look down there! Constitución, on the mouth of river Maule. Lots of tourism until some years ago. A new pulp plant on the beach put an end to that. The town's original name was Nueva Bilbao. Bilbao is (or used to be) a densely forested area in the north of Spain. So was Nueva Bilbao. There are only pine plantations down there now. No wonder the whole of central Chile is quickly turning into a desert.


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Our Premium experience includes a bag of chips made from potatoes native to Chiloé island.


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And good coffee. Juan Valdez is my favorite.


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A place I want to visit some day: Mocha island. (Ch as in cheese, not as in mocha coffee) It's one of the few places in Chile where primary forests still exists.


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Oh my goodness! Carahue and river Imperial. I've never stopped at Carahue but it's in the way to the windy, stony beach of Puerto Saavedra, which I visited once or twice when I was a kid. On the left, lake Budi…


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…a salt water lake.


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Those views of Puerto Saavedra and lake Budi bring back some nice childhood memories. Who'd have said…


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…that a plane can take you to different places and also to different times.


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In loving memory



I went on a long trip hoping to forget and heal.
It's no good.
I buried her in my garden. Along with my heart.


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See more

Verdict

LATAM

9.2/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering7.0

Santiago - SCL

9.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Valdivia - ZAL

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Airlines are resorting to unexpected strategies to recover in a post pandemic world. Down here in Chile, we are surprised to see LATAM introducing Premium Economy in their domestic flights. I couldn't miss the opportunity, and obtained my upgrade for as little as 15 USD, which could be a sign that W has not become very popular yet. The key aspect of their W offer seems to be space, with more legroom and a blocked middle seat. But a cereal bar, a bag of crisps and a coffee is still sooo Y, isn't it?

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 13 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Santiago (SCL) → Valdivia (ZAL).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Sky Airline with 7.4/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 29 minutes.

  More information

2 Comments

  • Comment 578213 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5503 Comments

    Things I never thought I'd see mentioned in a Flight-Report: The mysterious alien rock Oumuamua ☄🪐 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    With his pase de movilidad (certifying that you've got both doses of the jab) and his pasaporte sanitario (a sworn statement about your places of origin and destination, and your health condition) Pilpintu can permeate any barriers.

    Ah, I see the EU isn't the only place where this concept has been implemented! Did it cause as much of a popular uprising in Chile as it has here in Europe? I had the haaaardest time converting my U.S. vaccination record (i.e. handwritten CDC card) to a French "pass sanitaire" but am glad I was able to do it...I would not have been happy to have to get tested every time I wanted to go out to eat or take my kid to the zoo as a fully vaccinated French citizen living abroad most of the year.

    I couldn't miss the opportunity, and obtained my upgrade for as little as 15 USD, which could be a sign that W has not become very popular yet.

    On the one hand I'm glad that LATAM introduced Premium Economy on domestic flights, as some can be quite long within Chile and Brasil; HOWEVER, the implementation leaves a lot to be desired as there is little product differentiation on domestic sectors. Granted Covid is principally to blame for this change is service protocols, Premium was rolled out on domestic DURING the pandemic, so it's just made for a very confusing and inconsistent product introduction. So it's not surprising that the upgrades were so cheap, considering the lack of value proposition. I do hope that as the "Brasilian" and Delta variants begin to lose steam in South America and around the world (we are already seeing signs of this), that LATAM will begin offering proper catering even on the shorter flights.

    I am generally a fan of LATAM so I hope they do succeed with this product and keep it around once they have added more value and differentiation.

    As always, thanks for sharing and showing us how things are in your beautiful part of the world!

    • Comment 578217 by
      Pilpintu AUTHOR 757 Comments

      Did it cause as much of a popular uprising in Chile as it has here in Europe?

      Not even close! As a matter of fact, we get quite shocked when we watch the news and see all that fuss about wearing a mask in the US and in Europe. Well, there’s always someone who will complain, but most of the time we have been quite a well behaved bunch when it comes to taking all possible measures to keep the virus at bay. And no local politician has tried to turn mask-wearing into a matter of personal rights being respected or disrespected.

      So it's not surprising that the upgrades were so cheap

      Shhhh... don’t give them ideas! Let’s leave it that way for as long as possible! XD

      I do hope that as the "Brasilian" and Delta variants begin to lose steam in South America and around the world

      Delta cases are rising in Chile. Veeeery slowly, but rising. We had a total of 138 cases until two days ago, 80% imported by travelers coming from abroad. However, new and active cases in general are hitting new lows every day. We might be better prepared to deal with the delta variant now that almost the whole of the target population has been vaccinated. I hope our national day celebrations (September 18) won’t have a negative impact on that! People usually celebrate with barbecues and family gatherings.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kevin!! :D

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