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
There are days when you'd better stay in bed, don't you agree?
It's Saturday, August 1st, 2021 today, right? I know this because only two days ago - Thursday 29 - I flew up here for some important paperwork.
That's great, because I have a ticket to fly back home today, August 1st. Saturday.
I'm a careful man, so I'll double check this is the correct date.
Yes! It's there. August 1st, 2021. Fantástico!
So I get up early and take the bus to the airport. It's a cool August morning in Santiago today.
I used to complain that TurBus buses had a funny way to stow baggage inside the cabin, forcing passengers to wait for their bags until everyone had gotten off. That has changed. TurBus renewed their fleet…
…and their service is as efficient now as that of Centropuerto, the other bus line connecting Santiago and the airport. As usual, they drop us at International Departures.
With my 50th birthday barely two months away it's no surprise that my visits to the restroom have become more frequent. Or is it just that I had too much coffee this morning? Whatever, I know there's a restroom around here.
Much to my dismay, it's being sanitized at the moment. I intend to wait, but something in my face seems to stir feelings of deep compassion in a passing janitor, who kindly hints me about another restroom right above this one… on the fourth floor. On the fourth floor?! I didn't know SCL had a fourth floor.
Not a soul on the fourth floor!
Enter eerie music here…
The silence is broken by the humming of a young man who's playing a video game on his cellphone in one of the booths. I can guess he's one of the cleaning staff by his orange pants!
Oh, I see. The fourth floor…
…is that little corner over there. There used to be a restaurant called Gatsby up there. It's changed it's name.
This end of the hall is very quiet today. There's more movement…
…at the other end, at domestic departures.
Even there, some Health Ministry officials have time to check their cellphones once in a while.
After checking your vaccination certificate and your declaration that you have no Covid symptoms, they allow you to proceed to…
…safety check, which is always a speedy process at SCL.
Ahhh… this is great. Just let me put my belt back on (which has been mysteriously shortening during the pandemic)…
…before I check the FIDS to know what gate I have to go to. Let's see. 13:19 Sky Airline to Valdivia…
Hm! Hahah. Naughty FIDS. You wanna play a trick on me, don't you? I'm sure the information is coming any time. I stand there staring at the monitor with a frown and my index finger under my lower lip. "Sky Airline to Valdivia… Valdivia… Valdiviaaa…."
Nothing! That's weird. The information should be onscreen by now. What could be the problem on such a nice Aug…
It can't be true.
It just CAN'T be true!!!
I grab my head with both hands and want to crush my brains with them.
JULY HAS 31 DAYYYYYSSSSS!!!!!
TODAY IS THE 31ST OF JULY!!!! My plane won't leave until tomorrow!!!
You might want to cover your ears (or skip the following lines)
Of course, I scream all that inside my head only, but my face must have turned some bright shade of red because people around look at me with a worried face.
I have to sit for a minute and think of a solution. There MUST be something I can do! Lots of ideas come to mind, from coming back the next day to… to jumping off the control tower.
But I can't think clearly now.
I know. I will face this predicament like an adult.
Mmm!! Yummy. Let's sort this out together, Big Mac!
Much better. Now, let's think.
Of course, I could come back the next day. The problem is, I'm not staying in Santiago, but over 100km south, with my family. To get back there I would have to take more public transport and expose myself to the virus much more than I intended. I'm vaccinated, but I could still carry the virus with me and infect my aunties and uncles, who are in old age and poor health.
If I stay overnight in Santiago I'll still have to take the crowded Metro and move around a crowded city… and the risk of taking the virus home to my mom is there. Again, no.
Staying at the airport for about 28 hous? I don't like airports THAT much!
I could return the ticket and buy a new one. The problem is, I have already checked in and it's just one day before the flight. I wonder if Sky will refund me.
So, there's only one possible solution to get home quickly - just forget about tomorrow's flight and risk losing the money.
And I'm scared to think of the price of any other flight to Valdivia departing today!
Ouch. The only available flight for this afternoon is with LATAM, and I will have to buy the Light fare because of the baggage I'm carrying. I end up paying more than 110 USD. Boo - hoo….
I check in right away.
A window seat, at least. I'm probably the last passenger to check in for this flight, so SEQ 94 must be an indication that it is only half-full.
I don't think Sky Airline will refund me, but I still enter my request. Who knows. The special arrangements during the pandemic might be of help.
Request submitted. Thanks for contacting us!
And it works! Exactly one month later - on August 30 - I am informed that my request was accepted. Sky Airline rocks!
But I don't know that at the moment, so I just mourn my 110 USD and drag my feet to my (new) gate…
…unaware that I'm in for an av-geek treat!
Gate 20B has no jetbridge…
…and we'll walk on the apron.
CC-BAB is 11 years old…
…and has spent…
…his entire life in LAN/LATAM.
Safety measures such as wearing masks…
…and disinfection are commonplace down here, too.
Ah! The soft seats! Another treat.
Even though the seat seems to have been cleaned recently…
…I give it a good rub with some disinfectant towels. Is that dirt, or is it the blue of the seat??
I sit there feeling stupid… and poorer.
Time has been rough on CC-BAB.
Some additional information about this flight.
We leave SCL and CC-BAB's brethren on time.
This old building hosting domestic and international flights…
…will be the domestic terminal…
….once all the new piers are in service.
On our way to the runway we pass…
…this somewhat heart wrenching view…
…of LATAM planes that had to be…
…mothballed because of the pandemic.
The construction of the new terminal seems to be in its final stages.
Both west piers are in service already, as you can see here.
I grew up in this area. Everything used to be green and beautiful this time of year. It's brown now.
It's really sad. With every flight I see how drought brings this lagoon closer to its demise.
Very soon after takeoff, our male FA merrily announces "El servicio de alimentación comenzará en un momento."
It sounds promising! The choice of words must mean something. Alimentación comes from alimento, which means food. So there WAS something to eat in Y, after all! I was wondering ever since I flew W some weeks ago. So you see, LATAM is concerned about its image of leading Chilean airline and wants to improve its onboard service. Let's see…
Let's see what the servicio de alimentación brings.
I stare at my alimentación in disbelief for a minute.
I eventually decide that something is wrong. My Spanish might be getting rusty. But I'm sure everyone understands me at home these days. Or so I thought. Just in case, let's look up alimentación in the dictionary.
According to wordreference.com:
Alimentación: diet, food, feeding, energy source… It can also mean supply as in power supply.
My conclusion: LATAM is redefining food, and wants to convince us that ten cubic centimeters of water make for a good energy source/power supply.
[sigh] I'd better lay back and enjoy the rest of this (painfully expensive) trip. On the bright side, the middle seat is empty.
The 90-something passengers.
Very soon we are descending above Nueva Imperial and river Chol Chol. Auntie Nieves is down there.
I was lucky to see one of the very last patches of nothofagus forests in the midst of pine plantations right north of Valdivia.
A very pleasant flight, but…
…don't forget to bring…
…some cookies or anything…
…that will save you from LATAM's…
…servicio de alimentación.
More av-geek treats??
Yes! Another stroll around the apron.
I still dislike the new livery, compared to the old star and red ribbon. But it's not the worst.
I wonder when the work will start…
…in order to enlarge ZAL.
Though some things should be kept in a museum…
…like this old board…
…depicting the catastrophic landing of a 747 at ZAL. Something that never happened.
No baggage to claim today…
…and nobody is waiting for me. Aw. This arrival always makes me feel lonely. Snif.
Luckily, the transfers service at ZAL…
…whose vans are parked right outside, to the left…
…is still one of the cheapest in Chile. About 5 bucks for a 30km ride.
The driver turns out to be…
…a great talker…
…and he confirms what that lady told me…
…when I taking the outbound flight. That there are plans…
…to enlarge Valdivia's airport, and that it will look like those of Puerto Montt or Temuco.
As we enter the city, I am transferred to another van that will spare me a tour of the whole city. And as the van doors get closed…
…so is this report.
Thanks for reading!!
They say you may look thinner in photos if you surround yourself with fat people. LATAM is trying to do exactly the same with its bad W service. They're trying to make it look good by placing it next to an even worse Y service.