After Reading many great reports and without posting an own, since now nearly 3 years, it is time to do it now... the report will cover LIM-SCL-AKL-SYD-HKG-LAX-LIM including the stay in Hong Kong and Macau.
Months ago, I saw some really great fares from Lima to Hong Kong, yes an exotic route, but hey the fares that I found were around 1400 USD in Eco all in on CX/LA combo, all what I can say a great fare for nearly 40.000km of flying! As this was basically a nice opportunity to get a bunch of miles and status on my LAN Pass account and I was never ever before in Asia, I really was eager to book.
After weeks thinking about it, finally in July I just booked the ticket, and I was even more exited that I found an even more exotic routing. LIM-SCL-AKL-SYD-HKG-LAX-LIM, instead of both ways via the CX/LA gateways in the US, LAX, SFO or JFK.
The perfect routing for me was LIM-SCL-AKL-SYD-HKG-JFK-LIM, in order to get even more miles (or kilometres as LAN Pass counts) but I think I was asking too much, hence I was already very happy with the routing that I found with the cheap fare.
The time past pretty fast by, and around 10 days before the flight I started with the detailed planning of the trip including the hotel/hostel bookings, etc.
The last 2 days before the booking I was really stressed at the office, and the night before the flight I received a phone call from LAN that my LIM-SCL will be delayed by 3 hours. First I thought not a good sign to start the trip but on the other side I was happy, as with the delay I had the chance to go the same day of flying still 2 hours in the morning to the office and finish some important issues.
Back at home, my usual cab picked me up at 10:30am in order to drive me to Callao (were our LIM airport is located) in order to catch my flight LA-2631 at 1:30pm.
Arrived at the airport I made my straight way to the LAN international check-in desks, passport was checked and my today’s final destination asked. Check in was realized but to my big surprised the lady told me that my luggage will be checked through till HKG but that LA has no access to the CX system hence it was not possible to check in and I should try it again in SYD... for my pretty strange as they always do big marketing about One World etc...
Anyway, made my way to the food court had a “healthy” Big Mac combo and went to security and emigration what was a breeze as the flight would leave around 45 minutes later than the international LA noon wave, were a lot of flights are departing (MDE, UIO, CLO, CCS, EZE, MIA, LAX, another SCL, etc. etc.).
Before this trip I was still no status flyer, but thanks to my priority pass (I would say, Latam is the region were the priority pass makes absolutely sense, as on all airports you have a decent lounge access, especially if the membership is thanks to the credit card free!)
The both lounges located at the international peer in Lima are great, maybe limited food options and only some finger food is available, but hey you have free booze, exactly what Avianca likes!
So I had my traditional glasses of scotch (Black Label or other 12 years old one scotch) on the rocks with some soda and some cheese and crackers to go with.
Time was ticking and boarding was announced, so I made my way to gate 14 were my flight was just to start to boarding once I arrived.
The A319 used on today’s flight had a load factor of around 75%, me lucky to have the neighbour seat (middle seat) free.
At the gangway LAN always is distributing some local newspapers, hence I grabbed one in order to entertain me a little bit on this 3:30h flight.
The flight was pretty fast dispatched and we made our way to the runway, after the powerful takeoff
And 30 minutes in the flight the service started.
I really have to say, and especially as I am flying a lot LAN regionally, the food service on the middle range flights with A319 out of Lima is really bad; it’s just a plain sandwich a cookie and your choice of drink (you can choose between, water, soft drinks, beer and red/white wine). I had a small glass of red. Honestly I would expect something more for a 3.5 h flight at noon. (Anyhow I was still full from my Big Mac and the snacks in the lounge)
The flight was pretty uneventful and I had after “lunch” a nice nap, and woke up, when we already started our approach into SCL. What a great approach to SCL bypassing all these nice Andes peaks.
Sorry as the flight was pretty uneventful and y used already hundred times LIM airport, I made no pictures of this part of the trip.
The approach into SCL was pretty fast and we made our way to the international peer of the SCL Airport. Also deplaning was pretty fast and I made my way through security in order to re-enter the international terminal. At security was absolutely nobody hence also it was pretty fast and I made my way straight to LA business lounge as I had 4.5h to kill, thanks again to marvellous priority pass!
This A343 was prepared for the daily SCL-MAD-FRA flight!
My connecting flight to AKL/SYD was scheduled for 11:50pm, is one of the last flights leaving SCL each day, but I was very surprised that the lounge staff told me that the lounge will be only open till 9:45pm, anyhow still 2.5h of time to eat and drink .
The facility was pretty crowded but with a decent assortment of cold food (sandwiches, cold cuts, sushi, fruits, cookies, nuts, etc) and good wine (same that are served in the International Business Class), Champagne, beer, soft drinks and self serving spirits
After several rounds of really good cold cuts, I had some Sushi and a nice red wine, to my surprise an Argentinean one!
For the healthy part, some fruits and a glass of Chilean bubble
After the fruits it was already 09:45pm, so it was unfortunately time to leave the lounge, I grabbed a can of Chilean brewed Heineken and made my way to my departure gate.
As there was still 1.5h to go for the boarding the boarding area was still not too cramped, I enjoyed my beer, and went to the restroom in order to brush my tooth after all this food and drinks, and strayed a little bit through the duty free shops.
This baby was the elected to bring me over the south pacific to AKL and SYD, actually it was my third ride on a LA 343, used them already earlier this year on MAD-FRA-MAD, connecting from LIM.
Boarding started, and first Business and Frequent Flyer (Silver and Commodore) were invited, followed by passengers with small kids, than the last eco section than the second eco section.
The process was pretty slow as a second security check in the gangway was conducted.
Reached my seat and again with pretty decent leg room, also I am not the tallest guy on earth, but on the other side, the seats in eco are already worn out. Flight had a 99% load factor tonight.
My seating made was an older Chilean guy heading to a Pacific Island via AKL (Tuvalu if I remember well)
Boarding was finalized, and pretty soon and on time our 343 made the way to the runway.
All what I can say I love A343 take offs, specially on these very long flights, it’s so smooth and they need the entire runway, and then at least 1.5h in order to reach the cruising altitude.
After the very powerful takeoff we made our way southwest heading the city of Constitucion, leaving the South American continent, straight over all the massive Pacific Ocean to Kiwi Island. The info was given by the captain, also the pointed out that today we will reach AKL around 30 min before the scheduled time.
the lovely Avod Entertainment system of LAN, also they should change from time to time the content, with already 8 long haul flights this year ... it’s getting boring.
Soon the first service started, a pretty late dinner, what I miss on LAN maybe not on these late flights, is a kind of cocktail service (for noon and early evening departures).
I had a choice between Chicken Lasagne and Beef Stew, I had the Beef and it was just disgusting. The mash, the gravy, was really good but the Beef was more fat than meat...
The starter was a mixed salad with a Lime dressing; I love this dressing really good stuff!
Also I had a caramel pudding for desert, a cold bun, butter and some chilli sauce.
To wash down I had a coke, and some Chilean cheap red wine, nice touch is that LAN still serves the wine in a real glass.
After the service the crew collected the garbage, and it was time so sleep, I tried to see “The Hangover part 1” but after 30 minutes I just dozed off.
After around 3 hours, I woke up, and went to the galley to have some water, nice surprise was that they had also in the galley some nice snacks, so I had a glass of water strait in the galley, and took another one to bring to my seat + 2 nice small ham and cheese sandwiches and a very nice cookie.
So I had this early bird snack went to the restroom to brush my tooth, in order to sleep some more hours.
Still in the middle of nowhere, but seeing already the light on the end of the tunnel.
Around 2 hours before reaching AKL the crew started to serve breakfast. Due to the time difference we were still in the middle of the night but bypassed a complete day (I left SCL on a Friday and reached AKL on Sunday)
No choice, and the standard LA Eco breakfast on long hauls were handed out.
A pretty decent omelette, with a potato cookie, some sliced peaches in sugar water, a bun, and peach jam. Some good coffee and water were the elected drinks. What I absolutely cannot understand why LA is always distributing on the breakfast tray also a wine glass, they even do not offer wine during breakfast. I can imagine that would save some nice money if they would not distribute them for breakfast.
Already to start the decent into AKL
Finals into AKL at 03:30am local time
As we were 30 minutes ahead the schedule, the security still didn’t opened, so after de boarding a long queue formed. We waited for some 30 minutes and finally security opened and everybody who was heading to SYD was cleared.
Some sponsorship of the current Rugby WC in New Zealand
The flight has a planed stopover of 1.5h. At the early morning there was beside my flight 0 departures, hence still not too much going on at that time. The first shops are opening and I had some strong coffee at Burger King. After the coffee I made my way to the gate, which was pretty crowded with all the connecting passengers + a big bunch of new passengers that are using LA due to the cheap fares they are offering on the AKL-SYD route. The biggest part of the new passengers were Rugby fans from Australia, most of them still drunk , looks like Australia had a game the day before.
Flight was again, at least in Eco fully booked, and we made our way to the runway and again a pretty nice take off run. Soon breakfast was distributed, this times a nice sandwich and some fruits and for drinks I had a coke and some coffee. The poor guy next to me was still totally hand, so no breakfast for him!
Somewhere between AKL and SYD over the Tasmanian sea.
Already starting the decent into SYD
Already on finals
Uneventful decent into SYD and finally I was the first time on Australian ground, also unfortunately for 4 hours during transit.
some nice beauties waiting for their next flights to their home bases
VS, SQ, TG, EK, UA, etc.
VAustralia, QF and CX (not my flight, this one is the first service at 07:30am), if I am not wrong CX has 4 daily flights SYD-HKG
QF A330 to PVG and CZ to Guangzhou
Garuda A330 just arrived from CGK
Hainan Airlines to Shenzhen (I was pretty surprised that SYD has so much direct service to South China)
SYD Skyline with some QF babies
UA and BA B.747-400
After 2 hours of handing around at the international terminal in SYD, including a sandwich for another breakfast (yeah I know seems to be pretty much food, but door to door I had to travel 48 hours...) I approached at the gate the ground staff of CX in order to check in for the flight, again really weird, that LA cannot check in on a One World member. She had first some problems to type in my Frequent Flyer number but then everything went well and I received my boarding pass with the requested window seat. The lady also reconfirmed my luggage tag.
Soon boarding started, and first time in my live I made a step into a CX aircraft, a nice A330-300 (last time I flew this aircraft type it was an AC, like 8 years ago on an YYZ-FRA run). All passengers had to went through Business Class in order to reach Eco, and honestly I was all other than impressed about the seating configuration in Business, this herring seating seems to me all other than comfortable.
Reached my seat and today’s load factor was around 60% in Eco, so I had 2 seats for my own. We made our way to the runway, and made powerful takeoff. Unfortunately I had a seat exactly on top of the wing, so even I was on the correct side to see the nice Sydney skyline, I had no chance and it was very limited what I could see. Anyhow you cannot always win and it least the seat was comfortable.
Soon the crew started with the cocktail service, once they reached me, I was asked what kind of drink I would prefer today, I asked for a nice cold beer, as I was very thirsty, and a nice scotch on the rocks ( I was surprised that CX was serving Black Label and Chivas12 years in Eco). To my surprise the stewardess told me that she could only offer my 1 drink per round, I was nearly shocked did not thought such an answer from a World Class Airline... anyhow, I went for the beer, which was not bad and at least ice cold.
Shortly after the first drinks the lunch service started, there were 3 choices, some Chinese pork, some Chinese beef and a Vegetarian Pasta. I went for the beef, and again like the beef dish on LAN it was pure fat.... again disgusting.
The fatty beef was accompanied by some white rice, veggies, a Chinese style salad, a nice apple tart, some delicious warm ciabbata bread (would say the best bread that I ever had in the sky), a small toblerone, and finally a mango ice-cream
Everything was washed down with water and some German white wine (for my taste to sweet); even it was a nice touch to find some wine from your country of origin
The flight was pretty nice, but I still had to work a little bit before I could really start my vacations, hence I worked on some presentations, what the airline industry is still lacking in a massive way is a real internet connection on all airplanes, would be great to have this feature not only on some selected airline.
Cruising between Australia and Hong Kong
Very comfortable leg room
Already over Philippines, what great maps CX has on the in-flight entertainment system
Soon the second round of food service started, for the afternoon snack I had two choices, some Asian noodles with chicken or again vegetarian pasta, I choose the first one.
Pretty decent the mail, some fresh fruits was the dessert. Just had a coke, I think I had enough alc the last 40 hours....
To finish some nice hot coffee and it was time to fill up the immigration forms for HKG
Some nice music from the In-flight Entertainment System
Already close from my final destination.... at that moment it was already pretty hard to sit... 40 hours in Eco is enough...
The first islands surrounding HKG
Seconds to go
Arrived some hours before us from Australia
Waiting their next flights to India
Leaving bound to Brunei, this very elegant 777
Really impressive the cargo ops in HKG, even these days are not good days for the airfreight industry...
Finally arrived our gate and I saw this beauty
I de boarded and made my way to immigration, wow I thought I am at Disneyland, only saw a never ending queue, but to my surprise immigrations seems to work pretty fast and within 30 minutes I was cleared... I went straight to luggage belt and it happened what I had already in mind, if these guys cannot even to check you through with 2 airlines than my luggage never ever will make it... and bingo, after over 40 hours of flying I was finally in HKG but without my luggage. So I went to the luggage claim area and the friendly Chinese made a report and said, ok Sir we will call you once we have found your luggage..... My first reaction was just smiling, my answer, great Sir, but you can imagine that I need at least a emergency kid (like LH if giving out in this situation, a simple toiletry bag and 2 shirts....), he was a little bit surprised and just said one moment, 2 minutes later I received 500 HKD in cash and I had to sign a receipt. Well not too bad, especially my credit card also covers after 6 hours of delayed luggage up to 200 USD for new clothes etc. I went through customs, just with my notebook bag and asked to the tourist information guy the way to my hostel via bus.
He explained what bus I would have to use and I made my way to the bus station, bout the ticket for 33 HKD and off to city
Checked in my hostel... hope that on my next trip to HKG my budget is a little bit bigger in order to avoid these hostels...
Mong Kog on a Sunday night
on Monday noon I still didn’t had any info about my luggage, finally on Monday evening after calling the third time they advised that the luggage was found in SYD and it will arrive on the late evening flight, anyhow I insisted that I need the luggage the same night, as I was leaving next morning HKG bound to Macau. So they promised me to deliver it... and yes they did it!
Some authentic Chinese beef (or dog?), it was great! 1000 x better than the fatty beef served by LA or CX
I was really impressed about Hong Kong, finally it was my first time in Asia at all
Next day, after taking a shower I took the taxi to the Ferry harbour in Kowloon in order to take the express ferry to Macau
HKG Island Skyline
The ferry service was decent in 60 minutes I reached Macau, I was really looking forward to it as I was really interested if Macau has still some Portuguese flavour,
Taken from the shuttle bus, pretty hard to make good pictures at the moment in Macau as they have constructions sides at every corner. It was really nice to compare the Venetian in Macau and the one in Las Vegas I visited earlier this year. Unfortunately to expensive in order to stay there, so I decided for the Best Western, and with 70 USD pretty good priced.
The grand Lisboa Casino, really impressive building
Some nice Dim Sum and crisp Chinese Beer
The Wynn, pretty much the same than the sister hotel in Las Vegas
Already on my way back to HKG
Back in HKG I took a cab to the hostel for my last 4 days...
Even Löwenbräu, is the worst Munich Beer, it’s still pretty decent from tab, and it’s nice to have a Bavarian Brew in Hong Kong!
This night I meet some colleagues from our HKG branch at famous happy valley, looks like I had not enough from gambling in Macau ... really cool event full of local people gambling like a hell and of course a lot of expats are coming to gamble and to have a nice party
The famous trams in HKG
On the next day it was time to visit the Big Buddha, on the way...
After a Long day it was time to meet again friends and after some drinks we had a big Chinese Dinner (this time seafood)
From the Peak
After a great week, it was time to leave HKG and to travel back all the way to good old Lima, but this time the journey only took 27 hours and the routing was HKG-LAX-LIM, again in a CX / LA combo. I took again the bus, even I was looking forward to use the train due to the check in at Hong Kong central, but as the bus was leaving just 50 meters far from the hostel, this was even more convenient.
It’s always a pleasure to see my home airline all over the world
Such a CX 777-300 was also scheduled to bring me to LAX.
Check-In was pretty fast and I spend my last HKD in some breakfast, yes again in a very nice sandwich and a big cappuccino
Boarding was thanks to the second and extensive security check a big mess. Specially that the flights on the neighbour gates went also to the US, SFO and the new ORD service.
Flight was in all classes fully booked, but at least I had again my nice window seat.
some newspaper for the long flight, even today’s flight was pretty fast with only 12 hours, as per my understanding the flight can take up to 13.5 or 14h.
Looks like that in HKG a lot of Airlines are realizing the heavy maintenance... what airline is the blue one? Looks like the new Aerolineas Argentinas colours or?
“Hasta Luego” Hong Kong, and thank you for a great week!
Shortly after take off
If I am not wrong this is old Kai Tak Airport
I really love the map futures of CX in-flight entertainment system
Food was this time better and I had the western option for lunch. It was chicken breast with mashed potatoes some veggies, a Chinese pork salad, a bun, butter and an ice cream. I was still done from the days before so I had some hours of decent sleep till the midflight service started, we had just a choice of some instant noodle soup, but which was really good.
The flight passed very fast by and soon breakfast was served, a Chinese chicken rice soup or western style, omelette, hash brown, bacon and some beans and tomato. Sorry I totally forgot to make pictures of the in-flight service...
Already entered Californian Airspace... Yes, it is the Golden Gate
SFO and OAK surrounded by its infamous fog...
Already with decent started into LAX
Long route, even pretty south, and shorter as usual
The landing was direct into LAX without waiting time, but we had a quite long time to taxi all around the airport in order to reach our gate, what was really nice that our neighbour to our right was the LA 767 already waiting for me to bring me down to Lima.
The immigration was a mess, as unfortunately 95% of the time I am entering the USA, and after waiting 45 minutes at immigration it was time to pick up the luggage and to bring it through the second mess “US Customs”, another 40 minutes went by, and with answering some questions I made it through without much trouble. The luggage was again checked in till Lima hence I could handover it over again to the airline directly after US Customs.
What was pending was my check in and boarding card, as also CX had no possibility to check me in already in HKG, looks like OneWorld has a hot issue here to resolve... it’s really a no go that using one ticket on different airlines that are both members of only one alliance, it’s not possible to check in for all legs.
I made my way to the departure hall, and went straight to LAN check in counters.
Even I had still 2 hours, I was one of the last to check in on this flight, at the pretty much same time the crew checked in, and I was very surprised to see again a steward who already served me only 1 week ago on my AKL-SYD flight.... pretty tight to be already in LAX and working a Southbound flight or?
Since my flight SCL-AKL I was theoretically a Premium member on LAN Pass. Achieving the Premium level you get 2 upgrade vouchers, which are just enough to upgrade LAX-LIM, hence I asked and crossed fingers if my vouchers are already available, I had my big doubts as till my departure from HKG they were not available at least on lan.com
Bingo, the lady at the check in was very friendly and she confirmed that the voucher are available and that she will put me on waiting list for the upgrade, but she already advised that it should be no problem.
I was really happy as after such a long flight, and a late arrival time at midnight in Lima, and the fact that I had to attend an important meeting already the next day at 8am, I thought it would be not bad to travel the last leg Business, and especially such a nice one LAN is offering.
So it was time again to cross security what was pretty fast, it took me around 5 minutes and I was surprised as this normally also takes forever in the US.
I made my way to the gate and already saw the elegant LA 767-300 today serving LA-601 LAX-SCL via LIM.
I waited about 15 minutes and yes, they called my name, Bingo my upgrade was approved! New sat 2A instead of 27A! Now I was really happy and killed the time till boarding with some spotting.
Here the baby that brought me into LAX from HKG, just on the neighbouring Gate, and it took me nearly 2 hours to cross immigration, customs etc.... I am missing the good old “not complicated” times.
Boarding started and I made my way to the aircraft with a big smile... Eco was nearly with a 95% load factor, Business around 75% but the biggest bunch was upgrade customer from Eco.
As pre departure drinks only orange juice and water was offered, I really thought that for a noon flight some champagne and pisco sour will be offered. No Alc, so I had a freshly squeezed orange juice, not bad either + a nice nuts mix.
The amenity bags were distributed, really nice once, I was surprised, the last time I travelled LAN Business (3 years) ago they handed over some pretty bad ones.
Bulgari amenity bags
Long way to the runway, but we passed a lot of interesting traffic. Powerful take off and we made our way immediately to the south.
Already over Baja California, and waiting that the service starts... surprisingly only 3 passengers received a kind of a cocktail service, maybe only the full fare passengers, and not the upgrade ones?
After zipping around the in flight entertainment it was time to start with lunch. The starter was a small salad and some crab meat. For main dish we had the choice of 4 dishes.}
Steak, Fish, Pasta or a nice big salad with ham and cheese, as I am a big fan of Italian cheese and ham I went for the salad.
The starter with already the cheese course on the tray, really great the crab meat! Also the served bread was hot and delicious. Some Champaign to start with
The main dish, yeah it was a cold dish, but really really great, gourmet style salad, one of the best mails I ever had in an aircraft, and very decent sized. The main was washed down with a very nice Argentinean Malbec and some sparkling water
as dessert some great caramel Häagen-Dazs ice cream
To finish the meal, a mug of peppermint tea and some cognac
Now it was time just to relax, and hence I slept for around 4.5h. The LAN business seat is just great and the duvet they are providing is just marvellous, you are feeling like at home in your own bed.
The time was passing by pretty fast and I woke up around 2h before arriving in Lima. So still time to see a nice movie...here we go
After some 30 minutes a steward approached me and asked if I would like to have a small dinner... even I was still full, I said yes, hey its business class food on air... no way to say no. There was just one choice.
A great Chicken Wrap, a decent Salmon and Cream Cheese sandwich, a cheesecake for dessert and a small glass of Malbec.... more than enough
Just finished the meal and we started our decent into foggy Lima.
We arrived 15 minutes before scheduled time, at 11:45pm to be exact.
Immigration was a breeze, as we arrived as one of the first flights of a whole bunch that is arriving at midnight in Lima. Also customs was a breeze and within seconds I found my cab driver how was already waiting me. A quick drive and I arrived at home were my beloved wife was already waiting me.
Just to wrap up, a great fare, for this exotic “round the Pacific” route – and finally I made it to a frequent flyer status... just reaching this year with LAN 80.000KM meaning Premium silver... or better to say Sapphire at One World.
I hope you enjoyed this report, and I really appreciate your feedback.
In case you are also interested on my older reports, please find below the links.
From North To The South - LAN Ccs-Lim-Eze In J (by Avianca Mar 15 2009 in Trip Reports)
Caracas-Curacao With Aeropostal (including Pix) (by Avianca Oct 21 2007 in Trip Reports)
Caracas - Medellin With Aeropostal (by Avianca Jan 8 2007 in Trip Reports)
Flight Over Victoria With A SeaAir Plane (Pictures) (by Avianca Jul 2 2005 in Trip Reports)
Bargain Flight FRA-YVR On DE Many Many Pics (by Avianca Jul 2 2005 in Trip Reports)
Daytrip: FRA-LPA-FRA On Condor (With Pics) (by Avianca Apr 29 2005 in Trip Reports)
FRA-MAD-BOG-MDE With IB And AV (by Avianca Jan 30 2005 in Trip Reports)
MDE-BOG-CCS With AV