Review of LAN Airlines flight Castro Puerto Montt in Economy

Airline LAN Airlines
Flight LA68
Class Economy
Seat 28A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 00:30
Take-off 10 Apr 16, 14:15
Arrival at 10 Apr 16, 14:45
LA 65 reviews
Pilpintu
By BRONZE 149
Published on 10th November 2022

After some changes at flight-report.com, the photos of my first two reports were lost. I'd hate to see these memories falling into oblivion, so I'm reposting a backup of my second report here.



I am enjoying my weekend getaway in Castro, on Chiloé island, where I arrived yesterday after a 16-minute flight.

I slept like a log after walking all day and eating some not-so-healthy but delicious milcaos yesterday. Now I'm ready to catch some views of this little town before taking my plane back to El Tepual airport (PMC) in Puerto Montt, where I will take a bus back to Valdivia, the city where I live.

48 hours before ETD I check in using LAN's mobile app. I check in successfully, but when I want to see my boarding pass on the screen all I get is this message: "This document is not valid for travelling. On the day of your flight, come to our airport counters and we will give you your boarding card."

That's weird. For the PMC > MHC flight I was able to access an electronic version of my boarding pass via the mobile app. I can't understand why things are different for the trip back. The only difference between my previous check-in and the present one is that I used my PC the first time, and now I did it via LAN's Android app. Might that have anything to do? Some kind of security concerns perhaps?

Anyways, I am given the option to get the printable boarding pass on my email (the large green button), so that's what I do.

My boarding pass, with some practical additional informartion for people with special needs and baggage allowances.


photo 003


First thing in the morning, I leave my backpack in baggage custody at the local bus station. Then I head for the long avenue that runs along the waterfront, surrounding downtown Castro. The other side of the bay is flooded by the first golden rays of the morning sun.


photo 004


I keep walking until I get to see what is considered Castro's trademark within Chile—the palafitos (stilt houses).


photo 005


They stand along the seashore in some points of the town.


photo 006


Most of them are still inhabited by their owners, but more and more are being turned into restaurants, cafés and shops aimed at the tourists. Beyond the palafitos the town keeps evolving, and new residential areas pop up everywhere, just like in any other Chilean town.


photo 007


If you pay attention to their outer walls, you'll notice that they are covered by wooden shingles. These are called tejuelas, meaning "little shingles" (from teja = shingle) and most of them are made of alerce wood. Alerces (Fitzroya cupressoides) are the South American equivalent of sequoias. Needless to say, alerces are an endangered species now.


photo 008


Many houses in Castro and other towns in the south of Chile are covered with tejuelas, and they come in a huge variety of shapes, like these:


photo 009


Time is passing quickly and I need to get to the airport soon. Instead of taking a transfer, I go and get my backpack at the bus station and take a small bus that leaves me at the intersection of the main road leading to the north coast of the island and the road leading to the airport. This welcome sign stands at the edge of the road at that intersection.


photo 013


From there I have to walk some 400 mts to the airport. This lady walking ahead of me came in the same bus. I presume she works at the airport.


photo 014


The road is bordered by fields on both sides. All of a sudden, a flock of noisy tricahue parrots (Cyanoliseus patagonus) take to the sky from some nearby trees and I'm lucky enough to catch this picture of them.


photo 015


Some meters ahead, these black beauties are resting on the branches of those trees. They are mirlos (Turdus merula).


photo 016


I finally make it to MHC.


photo 017


Here's some technical information about the airport.


photo 018


And this sign informing about some maintainance work at MHC lets us see its airside front, which is now partially covered by scaffolding.


photo 019


Can you see the tejuelas?


photo 020


This is what you find when you enter the building.

On your left, baggage claim, which has one carousel and a transfer stand. I remember this from my arrival the day before.


photo 021


On your right, the waiting area and security check.


photo 022


In the middle is baggage drop and two check-in counters.


photo 023


Across the room from baggage drop are these machines and two car-rental stands.


photo 024


I noticed that the ceiling lights were flickering wildly but it is a sunny day and the place is well lit. Most passengers don't even notice what is happening above their heads. Have a look at the video.




But this electrical problem is a bit of an annoyance if you enter the restrooms.

The restrooms are next to baggage drop.


photo 025


Everything is clean and tidy inside, but I have some trouble taking these photos because the lights keep going on and off.


photo 026photo 027


Two more shots of the action inside the airport before I go to security check.


photo 028photo 029


Believe it or not, this minuscule building has enough room for a 3mts x 3mts café! (Well, maybe a bit larger, but not much) It's embedded in a corner, between baggage drop and security check.


photo 030


Smoking rules are tough in Chile. No smoking in closed public spaces at all. This sign is quite emphatic about it. It reads "This is a 100% tobacco smoke free environment." We usually say "100%" meaning "completely" or "absolutely".


photo 031


I go through security in a matter of one or two minutes. Once airside, I find myself in the little area that's called "boarding room", which is nothing more than the far end of the building, isolated from the hall and the other dependencies by a glass panel. The same as baggage claim.

The place is small indeed. So much so that the seats have been aligned by the walls in order to optimize the space, leaving the center of the room free. Of course, there are't many seats, and the room is soon filled with standing people, me among them. I'm tired after walking all morning, so I sit on the floor. This is the view I have from my position. Not very dignified, is it?


photo 032photo 033


For some reason, instead of checking our boarding passes as we go out to the apron, a LAN agent goes around the crowded room carrying a scanner, and gives a transit card to each checked passenger, like this one:


photo 034


This is something new for me. I guess this is intended to optimize the waiting time while the plane is being prepared for the flight back to PMC. But the fact of staying there, cramped in that little area, standing for long minutes while the agent goes in and out of the room to get more transit cards from that counter outside the boarding room, and seeing that the queue is not moving makes us feel that we are wasting time.


photo 035


I start a conversation with a senior Argentinian tourist standing in front of me. He's very annoyed by the supposed delay, and starts to get vocal about it. But right then we are invited to proceed and board the plane. Phew!


photo 036photo 037


A last look at MHC. A nice little airport. But I am deeply concerned about the near future. The weekend of my getaway was not a especially busy one at MHC, but it was crowded all the same. I don't want to be here during the summer holidays.

Café, security check and boarding room on this end…


photo 038


…and baggage claim on the other.


photo 039


I have seat 28A, so I have to use the rear stairs.


photo 040


As soon as I board I can see and feel the difference between this plane and the one that brought me here (CC-BAY). The passengers from PMC have long deplaned, so the air is completely renewed. And the legroom… is fantastic!


photo 041


I inspect the table tray. Oops! Coffee stain.


photo 042


The inflight magazine celebrates its twelve years of life, and a cover flap informs about LAN's online IFE, which, unfortunately, I can't try because I'm not carrying an appropiate device. Besides, it's a 16-minute flight!


photo 043


Can you believe that the couple sitting next to me is thrilled to learn that they can watch movies while crossing the Chacao strait? That's sick!

One of the articles shows the attractives of Bariloche, in neighboring Argentina. I was there last December with some of my students. A wonderful place!


photo 044


All this time we enjoy some nice background music while a video promoting some South American destinations is played.


photo 045


Nothing new about the armrest and the overhead panel. They are the same as in CC-BAY.


photo 046photo 047


Ground staff come and pull the stairs away.


photo 048photo 049


The safety video is playing.


photo 050


A male FA is carrying a tray of candy, and is trying to deliver it as fast as possible. I don't really like the way this is done. The FA just puts the tray in front of you and asks "Want some candy?" Then he has to wait until each passenger grabs the elusive pieces that keep dropping between their fingers. I know I'm flying cattle class, but… doesn't it feel a bit unpolished, unrefined? In my opinion, they would go much faster through this task if the same candy was portioned in bags. This would also help them avoid that childish "Want some candy?" question by replacing if with a simple "Your candy, sir" as they hand the treat.


photo 051


And now, the moment that many of you have been waiting for with your fingers clamped around your knees and sweat drops running down your temples. It's FOOD PORN time!!

Well. This is what LAN's 16-minute flight menu looks like. Take that, Singapore Airlines!


photo 052


The safety video comes to an end. After a short taxiing…


photo 053photo 054


…we take off.


photo 055photo 056photo 057


This is the road that I didn't travel thanks to this flight.


photo 058photo 059


I saw these windmills from the road to the national park the day before, but they were very distant. Now I take this photo at full zoom.


photo 060


I'd love to live down there!


photo 061


Leaving Chiloé. I'll be back!


photo 062


Chacao strait.


photo 063


At full zoom, ferries crossing the strait.


photo 064


Reaching the continent. Are those salmoneras (salmon farms)?


photo 065


We are flying above Calbuco. More salmon farms on the left.


photo 066photo 067photo 068


About to land.


photo 069


The Ruta Cinco (Highway No. 5) also called Panamerican Highway, runs from Chile's border with Peru, down to Chacao strait. Some 3,400kms in total.


photo 070


Touchdown on time.


photo 071


Here's the flight route as registered by Flightradar24.com




I emerge from the jetbridge… at the restaurant! Very convenient in case you only got some candy on your flight.


photo 072


A last look at CC-BFG before I leave.


photo 073photo 074


I walk across the boarding room…


photo 075


…and find the stairs/escalator leading to baggage claim.


photo 076


And here is where I miss an important detail. I had a little inconvenient yesterday when I had to get back into baggage claim at MHC to buy my transfer ticket. This is PMC baggage claim now. Can you see the transfer stand in the photo below? Well, I can't either. I just go through those glass doors without noticing that the transfer counter is right there, in the corner, behind that glass panel on the right.


photo 077


I make it to the main hall and look to the right. Estacionamiento (parking).


photo 078


I look to the left. Car rentals.


photo 079


I go outside, where I meet this group of young men. Later I learn that they are conscripts and are being taken to some godforsaken position in Patagonia for their military service. To fight penguins, I guess.


photo 080


I ask the transfer driver and he explains that I have to go back to baggage claim to get my ticket. The problem is that the baggage claim door is automatic and does not open if you are standing outside, so I have to wait for someone to open from inside, which takes some time because nobody was at the transfer desk at the moment.

Am I missing something? I have been to other airports like SCL and ZAL (my city), and the transfer desks are right at the exit, along with car rental desks, which makes much more sense to me.

Of course, I lost the transfer andhave to wait 25 minutes for the next one. Meanwhile, I stroll around the main hall.


photo 081


The PIDs inform that Sky Airlines flights are cancelled. As explained in my previous report, their workers are on a strike until next Tuesday.


photo 082


At Sky Airlines' counters I see this message "To our customers" explaining the situation.


photo 083


I finally leave the airport and make it to the bus station in Puerto Montt, where I get my ticket to Valdivia. The bus leaves in three hours, so I have time to go downtown and get something to eat.


photo 084


I stroll along the waterfront.


photo 085


A sight of the residential area Punta Pelluco.


photo 086


A seagull is bravely facing the cold breeze from the sea at the top of a flag pole.


photo 087


I really wanted to watch a movie at the shopping center, but it's Sunday today, and modern parents usually give their little nanny-raised offspring two or three hours of the so-called "quality time", indulging them with all the calorific stuff they want and taking them to the cinema, so it's full of little noisy critters today. I desist and head for the food court, which happens to be a perfect watching deck. I get this photo of downtown Puerto Montt.


photo 088


One hour later I walk back to the bus station (the blue building in the background)


photo 089


At the bus stop I turn around and take this last photo of Puerto Montt. Unlike the day before, when it was so dark and cloudy, it's bathed in the evening sunlight now. My weekend adventure has come to an end. It's time to board my bus home.


photo 090


Thanks for reading!

See more

Verdict

LAN Airlines

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.0

Castro - MHC

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

Puerto Montt - PMC

9.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

This flight back was a much more pleasant experience than the first leg of the trip.

Of course, you can't expect a miracle from a 16-minute ride in economy, but it was a nice experience overall.

I loved PMC and MHC airports.

I'll never forget to check if the transfer desks are in baggage claim before going landside!

Related

8 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 615418 by
    NGO85 GOLD 1871 Comments

    Hola Nelson, thanks for re-sharing this FR!

    After some changes at flight-report.com, the photos of my first two reports were lost.

    Maybe it took awhile for Y2K to catch up to the site^^

    The other side of the bay is flooded by the first golden rays of the morning sun.

    What is in the water? Rowing lanes or fish/crustacean traps?

    My boarding pass

    They only recommend that you to show up to the airport 15 minutes before boarding? Okay, nevermind, I saw the answer to my question later on with the dismal conditions inside the terminal…

    A nice little airport. But I am deeply concerned about the near future.

    What is the construction achieving then? A refreshed facade?

    A male FA is carrying a tray of candy, and is trying to deliver it as fast as possible.

    In Japan, it’s usually just in a bowl in the galley that passengers can grab one out of as they are in line to make their way into the plane. Seems much more efficient then sending a FA down the aisle…

    All in all, I think the seat comfort and “catering” is good for this flight. Excellent aerials (helps having such a low altitude the entire flight). And the lofted ceilings with natural lighting in both terminals is quite a stark contrast to the way airports are constructed here in the US.

    Thanks again!

    • Comment 615422 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 890 Comments

      What is in the water? Rowing lanes or fish/crustacean traps?

      Traps. Not sure what species for.

      What is the construction achieving then? A refreshed facade?

      I think the whole building is new. It was built in 2012. But I it's strange that they made it so small! Barely enough room in the boarding room for the passengers of one flight... standing! What will happen if they have to deal with two flights at the same time one day??!!

      In Japan, it’s usually just in a bowl in the galley that passengers can grab one out

      Hahahahah That would NOT work in Chile. Just leave me alone with a bowl of candy and see what happens. XD

      Thanks for commenting!!

  • Comment 615724 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6051 Comments

    It's too bad we couldn't fit in a day trip to Chiloe to see the palafitas, the churches, and penguins while in the area. The 3h drive from Puerto Varas and having to take a ferry would have made for a tiring day which would have made it less enjoyable. Next time!

    If this PMC-MHC flight still existed that would maybe have made a day trip easier, but then we'd have to rent another car in Castro. You should've told me about the photos, they maybe could have been retrieved. There were some server migrations happening so that may be why, as some photos were temporarily unavailable during the migration (we had a banner on the home page about it). Unless they were already gone from a long time ago.

    Either way, thanks for re-sharing this report on this now defunct route!

    • Comment 615736 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 890 Comments

      Next time!

      Always welcome!! :D But that next time has to be a little longer!!

      You should've told me about the photos

      It's OK. I keep a backup of all my reports. It was easy to fix. Yes, they had been gone long ago.

      this now defunct route

      It's a real pity. And now a bridge is under construction, so no hopes to revive this route. :(

      Thanks for commenting, Kevin! :)

  • Comment 616668 by
    Chibcha SILVER 501 Comments

    Hola Nelson, gracias por compartir. Chiloé está en mi lista de sitios por conocer, se ve increíble.

    ¡¡No sabía que tan al sur habían cotorras!!

    • Comment 616728 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 890 Comments

      ¡¡No sabía que tan al sur habían cotorras!!

      Aparte de las viejas parlanchinas (que aquí se pueden llamar cotorras) sí hay!! Se llaman loros tricahue y son verdecitos enteros. Habían estado en peligro de extinción, pero parece que ya no. A veces pasan en bandadas. Son súper bulliciosos! Y parece que también son medios ladrones. Mira esto que ocurrió en Santiago hace poco: https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2022/nov/05/pesky-parrot-steals-reporters-earphone-live-on-air-in-chile-video

    • Comment 616729 by
      Pilpintu TEAM BRONZE AUTHOR 890 Comments

      Miento! Se llaman "pericos cordilleranos." Los loros tricahue son otros.
      https://www.avesdechile.cl/312.htm

Login to post a comment.