Date: August 11, 2019
Aircraft: A320-200 (CC-BFT)
Airline: Latam Airlines
Flight: Latam 337
Video Link: https://youtu.be/g0nSMwqZZec
I just recently moved to Chile, where flights are generally really cheap. I was able to find a weekend trip flight to Antofagasta for $37 round trip, which I promptly booked. This specific trip report is about the flight on the way back (ANF-SCL).
I arrived to the Antofagasta airport at 5:45 PM via Uber and walked in directly to the check-in counters. Three airlines fly to Antofagasta: Latam, Sky, and JetSmart. I was originally in an aisle seat towards the back of the plane, but I was flying with someone who has status through OneWorld. Supposedly, that would result in us being able to freely select seats online, but some issue in Latam's system resulted in this not working, and customer service through the phone was rude and didn't do anything about it.
Thankfully, the staff I met at the counter was extremely nice and helpful, and switched us to an exit row, where I was able to get the window seat. I'd heard a lot about Latam having terrible customer service through phone/online, but great service in person, and this description fit my experience perfectly.
The Antofagasta airport is fairly small, with only 4 Jet Bridge gates. I went up an escalator which led to the security checkpoint. Security in Chile is insanely simple for someone like me who is used to TSA. Just put your bags and anything from your pocket in a bin, and then walk through a metal detector. I had no problems and was through within a couple minutes, and that was with a fairly lengthy line.
Despite the airport being so small, there was a pretty big variety of businesses. There were a couple stores, 4 or 5 restaurants, and a VIP lounge. One thing which I thought was interesting was the overall setup of the airport. None of the gates are branded, rather they are just a generic color and have a tv screen which changes depending on which plane taxies to that gate. If you look behind a counter, you can actually see every airlines 'carry-on bag size' boxes which they just roll out when needed.
The airport also has 1 international gate, which is closed off by glass separators, but a doorway can be opened to make it function as a normal domestic gate, as it was when I was there.
I arrived several hours early, so I had a while to sit around and watch planes come and go. I was lucky enough to see planes from all three airlines land, de-board and board, and leave, all before my flight. Just before 9:00 PM, the plane which I would take to Santiago arrived. About 20 minutes after it's landing, I was able to board. As you can imagine, the legroom on my seat was great. Unfortunately, the window at the emergency exit was really dirty, and so I ended up spending a lot of my flight awkwardly turned to the side recording through the window behind me.
Before taking off, we had to taxi from the south side of the runway up to the north, so we could take off to the south, towards Santiago. This is pretty normal, however we taxied on the runway rather than the parallel taxiway, as there was construction around gate 4. We took off from runway 19 at 9:44. Since it was a night flight, there wasn't very much to see through the window, so I ended up sleeping most of the flight.
The only free food or drink offered was a cup of water, which I got. In the seatback pocket was a menu showing the snacks they sold, which looked decent and weren't particularly expensive, but I was able to get by with the snacks I brought myself. I was honestly surprised by Latam's inflight media- It had a really great variety of TV Shows and movies, and the map feature functioned perfectly.
We landed in Santiago at 11:56, and taxied towards the domestic part of the terminal. On our way there, I was able to see the two new international terminals which have already opened. There are currently two more international terminals under construction, as well as one big central building connecting all 4 of them. The current terminal, which is used partially for international flights and partially for domestic, will soon serve 100% domestic flights. We taxied past some more Latam planes, mostly in the old LAN livery, before getting to our gate. I didn't have any checked bags, so I was outside of the airport within 5 minutes of stepping off the plane. Overall it was a great flight, and all the airport staff and flight attendants were really nice and helpful. Definitely worth it for the $18.50 this flight cost me.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to respond