Thursday, January 12, 2012

South American Adventure - SCL-IPC

  1. Booking
  3. Miami
  4. MIA-SCL
  5. SCL-IPC
  6. Easter Island
  7. IPC-SCL
  8. Santiago
  9. SCL-MVD
  10. Montevideo

I made it into Chile without having to pay the $140 reciprocity fee and was excited for my trip to Easter Island.  I had about ninety minutes to kill before boarding, so I decided to wander the terminal and then hang out in the lounge.   The ground side of Santiago’s airport is pretty small and there isn’t much to see.  I went through the domestic security and did not have to take off my shoes, remove my laptop, worry about liquid restrictions, or have a naked image of me taken.  Accordingly, the line moved fast.  There isn’t much on the domestic side of the airport, with good reason, someone can show up 30 minutes before their departure and should catch their flight.
I went looking for the LAN lounge only to find that both locations are on the international side of the airport.  There was a pay lounge (or Platinum Amex/ Priority Pass) available, but I didn’t bother.  Instead I found a nice window and pulled out a magazine I had packed.  The time went by quickly.
Santiago Chile Airport
Boarding started a little behind schedule, but went quickly.  LAN boards flights by row number and lines up everyone at the start.  Business class boarded first and I was jumping my way down the jet bridge with excitement.  I was stopped at the aircraft door because the crew was still preparing the plane.  After about 5 minutes, I took my seat and quickly settled in.  The 767 Business class to Easter Island is the same as the long haul international business class on LAN. 
LAN Business Class Meal to Easter Island
The flight boarded quickly and we were underway early.  A quick breakfast service was served soon after we crossed the coast line.  It was a simple (bland) omelet with veggies.  I wasn’t that hungry as I just had a similarly bland breakfast three hours prior on my last flight.
It is five hours over the ocean to Easter Island and I tried to sleep for most of them.  The flight attendant gave me a comforter and I quickly fell asleep.  I can sleep in United’s coach if I’m tried enough, so even though LAN’s business class seats aren't the most comfortable, I was out like a light.
Entrance to IPC terminal
I woke up about 45 minutes before landing and watched part of a movie.  I had a great view of the island as we came in to land.  Easter Island is a very small dot in a very large ocean.  We taxied to the terminal and the whole island seemed to come and meet the flight.  They use stairs at the front and back of the plane, then its a quick walk across the tarmac to the terminal.  There was a band playing and people with leis.  Before you enter the terminal building, purchase a national park pass from the small desk on the left.  It is $50 there, but $60 at the parks.  They also load you up with maps.  I quickly walked through the building and tried to find my name among the scores of drivers picking up passengers.

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