Lan tips from zpaul of Santiago (SCL)

A day after zpaul (FlyerTalk and MilePoint profiles) posted a comment on this post about Lan out of JFK, he  and The Rapid Traveler were enjoying a lunch of Chilean sea bass and trading travel tales.  zpaul is expert on tax and business advisory as well as travel and it was a delight to learn from him. He agreed to share tips on flying Lan:

LAN’s service in the air is rather consistent, but their ground service can be horrible.  They’re generally very uncommunicative about delays or other IRROPS.  From personal experience, in 2011 alone I was issued five travel vouchers, which is more than I have received in my entire flying live before.  The vouchers are especially ubiquitous to those passengers in Premium Business, as LAN swaps equipment more regularly than any other airline I’ve flown and downgrades pax to Premuim Economy or even Economy when they switch a flight to a smaller aircraft.
Be ready to stand up for yourself.  LAN, like many other airlines, operates hoping that their passengers don’t know their rights and offer the bare minimum during IRROPS.  Check out the LAN forums on FlyerTalk or MilePoint where there are good discussions regarding compensation.
As widely noted, LAN has one of the best J hard products in the Americas.  They also used to have really good discounted I fares, and it pays off to do a lot of playing with dates and destinations.  My recent trip to GIG was $1,059 for Premium Business, whereas  the lest expensive Y cabin fare available was $740.
This is a secret which my fellow travelers in SCL will not appreciate me sharing, but it can make a big difference in getting through Passport Control and security when departing: located next to the Business Class check-in is a dedicated International Police and security station that is available to everybody regardless of class of service.  It is not open early in the morning and can be difficult to find at first, but if the line at the main passport control point is ridiculous it’s worth checking out.
If you’re flying SCL-EZE/AEP, LAN permits a stop-over in Mendoza or Cordoba in either direction, in my experience at no additional cost.
Chile Argentina 029

zpaul and The Rapid Traveler

The Rapid Traveler blogs to share and learn, and it is a delight to meet munificent travelers like zpaul.

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  • Dave

    I enjoy flying LAN. However, I recently attempted to fly MDZ-AEP-NQN, during the volcanic ash cloud blow over from Chile. What a joke. I was on my ipad checking the LAN Argentina site, which indicated the flight were operating normally, while I was observing the departure boards aglow in RED reflecting CANCELATO, CANCELATO, CANCELATO. I then called LAN reservations from my cellular and they told me the flights were operating on time. Bottom line, I love their new planes and inflight service, but there are so many times when LAN simply doesn’t get it right! Just my opinion.

    btw…I am still attempting to get my refund for the flight which never operated!

  • Rita

    Hm, interesting to know that LAN allows a free stopover in MDZ on the SCL-EZE/AEP flights. Last I researched, fares from EZE/AEP to MDZ were well over $250 USD (and sometimes even more). Thanks for the tip!

  • @Dave, sorry to hear about your experience. LAN really is survival of the fittest on the ground.

    LAN is not going to win you over with their digital media and web services. Even more so when it is in their Argentina region. At least in my experiences.

    I must say that many airlines in US have similar issues of updating their website and Call Center’s to reflect flight conditions in real time.

    Either way I know how frustrating LAN can be and always trust with what you see in the airport over their website.