IPC-SCL-LAX (with stopover in Lima)
Dep 22:35 (actual 22:45)
Arr 07:05 (actual 06:45)
It was time to leave Easter Island. The place does grow on you but 4 days was long enough. The biggest problem I had with the place was the inability to get good food (with the one exception of the Sushi place) even though it has a lot of restaurants that serve what I presume to be fresh fish. They always seem to be able to screw it up by overdoing the cooking. Keep it simple guys!
The sushi chef in front of his bistro
If you ever get to Easter Island, check this place out!
The IPC-SCL flight is notoriously oversold so everybody comes to airport the moment check in opens (10:00 in this case). When I was there at 10:30 there was already a line. When I called the BA RTW desk in the US to request a window seat they said there was none available and that only seat 3C was still available. Of course that was rubbish. The check in agent assigned me seat 1L without any problems and there was one other empty seat.
The airport at IPC
Since I had some time to kill before boarding (to put it mildly) I decided to explore the volcano and see if I could get a shot of the plane as it came in. I checked Flightstats so I knew it would be early. This is how that turned out...
It might not be SXM but still.
This by the way is the end of the runway.
Another way to get to the island...
And of course the volcano...
By now it was time to head for the airport again. You never get to the airport before the plane has actually landed in IPC. In my case I went there 40 minutes prior to departure. Boarding had not yet started. Here are some shots of Easter Island International Airport...
Outside waiting area with a little restaurant/bar.
Queuing for what? There is no hurry!
The IPC fire department
The twin engined plane I discussed in an earlier TR. Will this make it to IPC from SCL?
The plane that would take me back to civilization
And a little closer
And very close
Boarding was swift, especially for preferred passengers. You just show your boarding pass and walk to the plane. As someone rightfully pointed out we were never asked to show our boarding pass together with some form of identification.
Last shot of Easter Island
I was in seat 1L and the lady next to me had pre-boarded because she had broken her ankle on a hike in the volcano. She had continued hiking on it for 2 more hours before she got medical attention. Her foot was in the worst cast I ever saw and I strongly recommended her to seek immediate medical attention when she was back in France. I pampered her for the whole flight with blankets and pillows under her leg. I have earned my badge on that flight.
Otherwise the flight was boring. It is 4 hours over nothing but water. My video screen was also defect so I eventually dozed off a little. Those LAN Executivo seats are so darn comfortable!
We arrived perfectly on schedule in SCL. I had to cross from the domestic to the International terminal. I had under two hours and having seen the lines earlier I was a little worried. It turned out that there was an enormous line for customs. No express lane in sight. I asked one of the staff and it turns out there is an express lane but you really need to know about it otherwise you will never find it. It is next to the LAN ticket sales office on the mezzanine. Pass the regular customs on the left and you will see it on your right after 10 meters. It took me 1 minute to pass.
The international terminal is not that impressive. There are several LAN lounges but you need the one near gate 20. They say it is the nicest. I interpret that as it being the least horrible. The lounges are dark, windowless places with absolutely no atmosphere. The food was all right but nothing special. The Chardonnay was very nice.
After that not so impressive stop at the lounge we were called for boarding. To my surprise they were actually boarding when I arrived at the gate. So it is possible. You can make a boarding call whilst they are actually boarding instead of 10 minutes prior. Amazing.
Again the BA agent had told me this plane was full and there were no seats. The load factor in J was maybe 20%. I had 1A and 1B all to myself. I love that. The crew was extremely friendly and informative. I expected them to be changed in Lima (4 hr flight) but no, they would stay on board for the whole 14 hour experience. Talk about a long working day...
Yep BA, completely sold out...
Home sweet home
I have done a review of the LAN business seat in my earlier TR on the SCL-IPC flight so I will not bore you with a discussion. I will show you some pictures.
The control for the AVOD
Man in seat (optional extra)
Seat in semi flat position (it goes perfectly flat)
Dinner was served quite early after leaving SCL. The passengers boarding in LIM would only get a snack.
Here is the menu
I chose the scallops as a starter. They were the smallest scallops I have ever seen but they were tasty-ish. The accompanying pasta was a cold pasta salad. I was a little bewildered by the cheese at this point in the meal. I could not stop myself and ate it anyway.
The main course was fillet of beef stuffed with mushrooms and vegetables. It was bone dry and barely edible.
For desert I chose Tarte Tartin. It has a strange flavor and consistency but it was not really bad.
After dinner I settled in for my flight. Now is this or isn't this every a-nutter's dream: movie on the left, moving map on the right...
Cabin by night
I love the way the seat controls are illuminated
Bad night shot of the cabin
When we landed in Lima about 50% of the Y passengers disembarked. They cleaned the plane quickly and efficiently without being obtrusive. Good work. I tried to take some shots of the airport but the windows on the LAN planes are very reflective and they do not dim the light for landing or takeoff (weird don't you think?) so this is what you get...
I did manage one
About 8 pax joined us in J for the onward journey to LAX. I also took a snack and I must say: that was a nice surprise. Some small 'burger' of beef and cheese (hey, it is Chile!) that was extremely tasty. I even had seconds and thirds...
After that I decided to sleep. I was gently awakened about 90 minutes before touchdown as requested so I could have a full breakfast. I was too groggy to remember to take a picture, but it was nice. Eggs, cereal, etc.
Also I could not take picture of the descent into LAX because of the window problem I mentioned earlier. That is a real shame since that early morning landing at the moment just before sunrise is very beautiful. Maybe some other time.
We touched down about 20 minutes early and I made sure I was the first one of the plane. US customs being what it is and all. After 2 minutes of walking I realized I left something on the plane (coat) and I headed back making my way through all those people who I would now be behind at customs. The FA had already identified my jacket and gave it to me within seconds.
I headed back dreading the long lines at customs. But what do you know... 10 stations or so were open and we were the only plane. No line. None. I was through in 1 minute. I am still in shock. I got my rental from Alamo (Cadillac STS) and headed toward Santa Monica where the Marriott actually allowed me to check in at 08:30. Kudos to them.
Last shot is that of the LAN kit. I took two.
So, another part of my trip finished. I hope you enjoyed the read and the pictures. Feedback is always very much appreciated.
All I can say now is: HAPPY 2009! Make something out of it and do at least one unforgettable thing this year!
[Edited 2008-12-31 15:41:36]