Around 5:00 am the shuttle picked us up, for a 30 minute drive to the airport. SCL has two terminals, one side international and one corner for internal flights.
With our boarding passes already printed from the previous day (I don’t like to use the check in machines at the airport, don’t like to feel rushed at all since there are always lines of people waiting for the same), we make our way to the counters with nobody in the line.
The agent only requests your boarding pass and no ID, something new, I requested new seats since I did not want to sit on the wing, especially if I want to take some photos, so nicely she re- assigned us to row 3. One thing I have to mention is LAN is charging around $8 for choosing any seats located in the first 4 rows at the moment of doing your online check in, but at the airport there is no charge. I think Emerald World Members are free to check these seats online.
The terminal was really empty at that time since it was a Saturday, any business day will be completely packed of people, weekends are a breeze
Security process fast, efficient, friendly and smooth. Then made our way to VIP lounge which is open 24 hrs, this lounge is not part of any airline, is a Priority Pass, so thanks to my bank’s credit card I can use this lounge all over Chile at no extra cost all the time.
|VIP lounge entrance, SCL airport internal flights|
The lounge on weekdays is impossible to find an empty seat, the entire place has been completely renovated and updated increasing the area in more than twice the original size.
With the new extension now you have a view to the tarmac and cargo area, there is a TAM 320, Sky Airlines 737-200, LAN (I think it is the 777 Cargo) and a Martinair MD-11 on the route SCL – UIO – GYE – MIA
Food selection is limited, but the coffee machine is nice with different types of hot chocolates and coffees you can make. To be honest I don’t go to the lounge for the food, I like to sit and relax in a nice comfy chair, read the newspaper, check some few emails and go to my gate.
Gate 26 is my departing flight, after this one will be in the same gate the flight to the Falkland Islands LAN 991. This flight departs from the internal section since it makes one stop in the southern city in Chile PUQ and is then when travelers do immigration.
Date: 01- October-2011
Flight: LAN Airlines LA121 (1,104 k/ 686 m)
Aircraft: Airbus 320-214 (CC-BAN), first one to arrive the second week of July 2011 from the order of the 50 signed during the Farnborough Fair in 2010.
This new type is using the new engines CFM 56-5B, replacing the IAE V2500 used in all the previous Airbus fleet 318, 319 & 320.
Depart: 07:00 am, actual 07:10 am
Actual Load: Y 67% (one class only)
At 6:26 started the first boarding, due to the low number of people, boarding process was fast and everyone was ready around 6:45 am.
6:50 am distribution of earphones and welcome by the purser.
6:58 am doors closed, then captain gave everyone on board a nice welcome and let us know we will be holding our departure for 10 minutes. Around this time of the morning is the peak of arrivals with long haul flights from LAX, MIA, MEX, NYC and an hour later flights from Europe.
Even with two runways still happens small delays, but in my travel experience from Santiago I have not see one time they operated both runways at the same time.
By 7:11 am we were at max power with the new engines in the 320, and in a few seconds we were leaving the ground heading south to make a U turn heading north for 1hr 35 minutes until our destination.
Around 2/3 of this airport wing is used for international flights, local flights use the down corner in the picture.
Cargo tamarac, Martinair MD- 11heading to Quito and LAN 777
Central valleys, where Chile produces some good Chardoneys since the cold wind from the Pacific Ocean gets trapped in the low hills allowing slow growing grapes, this Casablanca Valley is sister with Napa Valley in California.
Sunrise over the Andes… no much to say.. just enjoyed it!
Time is not right, we changed to daylight saving time like a month ago but the system is not updated yet, actual time was 8:09 am
This is Paranal Obervatory in the Atacama Desert, here was shot some scenes from the 007 Quantum of Solace movie.
Atacama Desert view, sorry I could not get many good pictures since it was pretty cloudy.
Approaching to land, famous rock formation called "La Portada"
My plane for this ride, Airbus 320-214 (CC-BAN)
My hotel for the weekend
View from my room
Some other pictures from Antofagasta, the copper monument (we are the Wolrd's largest copper exporter)
View from town
Feel free to comment!!!