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My Review: Taking a LAN 767 From Santiago to Lima to LAX

LAN's Boeing 767 sits at Santiago.

LAN’s Boeing 767 sits at Santiago.

LAN AIRLINES PREMIUM BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: LAN Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER
Departed:  Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL)
Arrived: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Stops: Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM)
Class: Premium Business Class
Seat: 4L (right window), missing one window
Length: 13.5 hours

Cheers: A long flight made easy with LAN’s product.
Jeers: Lima is on my naughty list… first impressions count.
Bottom Line: A great product, but it is hard to fly on a Boeing 767 after flying on a 787.

My home for 12.5 hours - the other hour was spent in the Lima airport.

My home for 12.5 hours – the other hour was spent in the Lima airport. Too bad I was missing a window.

LAN AIRLINES PREMIUM BUSINESS CLASS FULL REVIEW:

I was excited to compare LAN’s Business Class configuration during my flight from Santiago back home to Seattle.  Only a few days earlier, I had flown down on LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner non-stop from Everett, WA. It was an impressive flight, and I was awestruck by the new 787’s atmosphere. I was looking forward to checking out LAN’s older product on the flight back home, to see how it measured up. (note: LAN paid for my trip to Santiago and flight back home to cover their 787 delivery).

A Boeing 767-300ER would carry me from Santiago to Lima, and on to LAX.  (I had to catch an Alaska Airlines flight back home to Seattle). My schedule had me reach SCL about five hours before my flight was scheduled to depart. No problem — my premium ticket gave me access to the LAN lounge which includes complimentary food, beverages, and even shower facilities.

The time flew right on by (pun intended), and soon it was time to board the aircraft. I knew the product on the 767 was not going to be as new or modern as the 787, but I was quite delighted with what I found. The Premium Business Class is in a 2-2-2 layout, and I went for a window seat. I ended up with a vacant seat next to me – I felt like I had almost unlimited space, a sensation unheard of in current-day air travel.

While everyone settled in, flight attendants came around asking if I wanted anything to drink, which is pretty standard. The lead flight attendant also went around to each customer, introduced himself, and shook everyone’s hand. This was new which I’d never seen before and I was quite impressed.

I’d never before seen Lima, so I decided to stay awake during the first leg, holding sleep off until the second leg into LAX. I didn’t think it would be easy since I was pretty tired , but I had more than enough to keep me entertained.

The food was fresh, colorful, tasty and filling on my LAN flight.

The food was fresh, colorful, tasty and filling on my LAN flight.

The in-flight entertainment system was a bit slow and cumbersome, but it did what it needed to do – it kept me entertained. The controller lived on the side of the seat, which meant I would accidentally hit it with my leg and stop my movie a few times. I’ve experienced this with other airlines, but here I could at least get the movie to easily resume where I left it. Other comparable systems from this era required me to fast forward. I solved the issue by simply pulling out the remote and letting it dangle so I wouldn’t hit it (keep it classy people).

Initially I was pretty excited about idea of stopping in Lima. I’d never been there and figured it would be a unique FourSquare check-in. I imagined we would land and those stopping at Lima would depart while those of us going to LAX would stay on. Sigh… no, it cannot be that easy.

We were told that we would have to de-plane and re-board. Okay, sure… it is 2:00am Chilean time and midnight in Lima, but I can play this game. The problem was, we didn’t just de-plane and wait at the gate area. We had to go through customs and be re-scanned – sweet.

I suggest using the pre-set buttons. I had a hard time manually getting the seat to do what I wanted it to.

I suggest using the pre-set buttons. I had a hard time manually getting the seat to do what I wanted it to.

Yeah, I am used to the process. Ask me why am I was in Chile and how long I was there. Now take out my laptop and put my bag in the scanner. The security person saw something in my bag they didn’t like and wanted to do a hand search. Sure, go ahead.

As they started going through my bag, I had difficulty getting through the metal detector. I am not a travel newbie and knew I had no metal on me, but it kept going off. After a nice little pat down, it turns out that my chip in my Passport was setting it off. They apparently have those detectors turned all the way up.

Back to my bag. The agent searches through and takes out my cork screw, while giving me a dirty look and shaking their head like it was a big knife or something. Okay, fine, take my cork screw that I have flown around the world with me.

I was a bit annoyed with the Lima security, but figured it was all over when I got to the gate. Guess what? Before we could re-board, all of our bags were hand-searched again. This time they took my nail clippers…really? Again, I have flown all over the world with nail clippers, but sure, at this point I just wanted to get back on the plane.

It takes quite a bit to get me annoyed when dealing with airlines or airports, but this did it. And when I am annoyed, it means that your standard passengers are super annoyed and upset — and oh boy were they.

Many left the plane in good spirits, but those returning were not happy. Not a great first impression Lima, might want to think about having a little better customer service, because I am in no hurry to visit again.

LAN's 767 In-Flight Entertainment product is not as slick as the 787's, but not too shabby compared to other airlines.

LAN’s 767 In-Flight Entertainment product is not as slick as the 787′s, but not too shabby compared to other airlines.

This experience was not LAN’s fault; they have no control over what happens when they land at Lima. “When we have a stop-over in Lima, the government dictates whether or not our passengers are going to have to deplane and go through customs, or just deplane and then get back on the same plane for departure,” LAN spokesperson Megan Kat Williams told AirlineReporter.com. “We realize that this can be a huge inconvenience for our passengers, but we usually do not have much notice as to what they are going to require us to do.”

I was happy to get back on the plane. I was planning to get some rest, but was almost done with a movie that I wanted to finish while we took off. Argh! Even though I had the same seat, the system must had been re-started, because I had to fast forward. Normally not a big deal, but I was pretty grumpy after my experience with Lima.

After takeoff, I finished my movie and it was time for sleep. The seats fold flat and do their job well. I slept for six hours but, I have to admit, it wasn’t super comfy. If LAN would let passengers have a padded cover to put on top of the seat before going to sleep, it would make a huge improvement.

I think that LAN provides a great business class product on their Boeing 767 and upgrading to the 787 is only better. I only wish there was no need to make a stop in Lima.

ADDITIONAL LAN 767 PHOTOS:
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6 comments to My Review: Taking a LAN 767 From Santiago to Lima to LAX

  • David

    I enjoy your blogs and posts immensely, and while commiserating with the whole deplane, customs, re-screen charade you endured, (I hate this rubbish myself) find it hilarious that you exhibit the typical limited US mindset. You find the Peruvian government´s requisites offensive, and yet fail to see that EVERY single passenger that dares connect in the US goes through a much worse process, having to clear Immigration, Customs and be re-screened, even if they are not staying in the US. Does this mean they should never return to the US, or does it just mean that because you are a US citizen, its OK what happens in your country, just not what happens in others, even if its the same?
    Cheers.

    • Hey David,

      You bring up a good point and do not worry, I have voiced my opinion about the poor service that many in US customs and TSA give not only visitors, but their own citizens. It always shocks me when traveling around the world and have local customs ask me how my trip was or welcome me to their country with a smile.

      I had found my experience in LIM probably the worse that I have had. Of course, I know that the customs does not represent the entire country of the people there, but I could imagine that if this is the first and only impression of the country that others might have, they wouldn’t want to come back.

      It has to be extremely difficult for airlines, like LAN, who are trying to provide a positive experience and to have it turn bad because of customs issues. There were a few passengers who made it very clear that they would not be returning to LIM. I for one hope to have the opportunity to return and get out of the airport.

      David

  • David

    David, nice of you to reply. I agree that a lot about Lima sucks, especially if you have the misfortune to arrive during the wee hours when LAN hubs a load of aircraft. Its probably the airport I have had most problems in, and I tend to get around a bit. It was a lot worse before they built the new terminal. As to the city, I know it well and personally, cant stand it but opinions are just that… LOL! My comment was more a criticism of the extreme measures in place in the US, even for transiting visitors, that do no real good to keep any of us safe, but make the unwashed masses think they actually are.

  • Carlos

    Transiting in LIM you should not have to go through customs (did you get a Peru stamp in your passport?), just back through security.

    Also, having them re-screen you prior to boarding for LAX is a TSA mandate for all airlines traveling to the US, not a Peru mandate.

  • Pago Flyer

    Not that it matters, we always carry a copy of the TSA Guidelines.
    However even in MBJ that didn’t help when we had a few minis in our 3-in-1 bag which is legal.

  • Bradley

    I know this is an old review but LAN really needs to upgrade their 767 business class interior. Recently flew on Caribbean Airlines’ 767 (which is an old LAN lease) and it uses the exact config as LAN does. I was a bit disappointed with the AV system given that the displays are quite old and the content options are somewhat limited. The seats were a bit slim but they worked for me especially in the completely folded out position. I think lighting as well could be worked on. They could get rid of those crappy brown lights as go with something more LED mood based.

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