Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 201,296
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,122,897





Inside LATAM’s New Santiago VIP Lounge

A view from upstairs to downstairs of the LANTAM lounge in Santiago

A view from upstairs to downstairs of the LATAM lounge in Santiago

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of LAN Airlines’ new VIP Lounge in Santiago, Chile (SCL). The new lounge impresses in nearly every way, especially when compared to its predecessor at SCL. As you may recall, AirlineReporter Associate Editor Blaine Nickeson visited the old one back in March and described it as “very crowded and a little dated.” This new lounge is none of that.

Seating area with computers for use in the background

Seating area with computers for use in the background

The new lounge occupies two floors at the west end of the check-in concourse. Located adjacent to the Priority Check-in Area, the lounge is up a few steps (or a short ramp) from the priority security screening area’s exit. Alternatively, for passengers passing through the regular security checkpoint, it can be accessed via elevators that are located just past the duty free shop.

Continue reading Inside LATAM’s New Santiago VIP Lounge

Flight Review: To Santiago & Back with LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business Class

LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Recently, LAN Airlines invited me down to their headquarters in Santiago de Chile, Chile, to check out their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. While LAN was the first carrier in the Americas to operate the 787-8, the new stretched 787-9 offers an all-new Premium Business hard product.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, the special event was called off due to “operational issues.”

LAN dreamliner entryway

Dreamliner signature entryway on LAN’s 787-8 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Since flights to Santiago had already been arranged I decided to still make the trip, which would give me a chance to experience LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business class, check out Santiago briefly, and also take a look at the airport experience on both ends. All-in, I’d only be gone from home in Denver for 55 hours – not too shabby for 13,000 miles of travel.

Continue reading Flight Review: To Santiago & Back with LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business Class

My Fav AvGeek Photo: LAN Airlines 787 Delivery Party

A party erupts during LAN's first 787 delivery flight.

A party erupts during LAN’s first 787 delivery flight.

This is my favorite photo that I have taken. Maybe not the “best,” but my favorite because it tells a story. It was taken during LAN’s 787 delivery flight. After the meal service, it seemed like people were about to settle down and go to sleep. Instead, those LEDs went into “rainbow mode” and music starting going through the cabin.

Employees from the back of the plane came forward in costumes and handed out glow sticks, leis, hats and more. Everyone started singing in Spanish (a language I do not know), but it did not matter. This was truly one of the most amazing moments reporting for AirlineReporter.com and this is my favorite AvGeek photo.

Do you have a favorite AvGeek photo? Email it on over to me to david@airlinereporter.com with a short description (about 100 words or less) on why this is your favorite photo. I might end up using it in a future story or for the #AvGeek Photo of the Week on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Tour of LAN Airline’s Maintenance and Training Facilities in Santiago

LAN's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their Maintenance facility at Santiago.

LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their maintenance facility at Santiago.

Back in the day when the Boeing 787 was allowed to fly, I took LAN’s first 787 delivery flight from Everett, WA to Santiago Chile. During my short stay, I was able to tour their maintenance and training facility and I wanted to share what I was able to explore.

Boeing 767s get winglets installed.

Boeing 767s get winglets installed.

LAN has been going through a huge undertaking of upgrading their older Boeing 767s to each have winglets to increase their fuel efficiency. When LAN started the process, it would take them about 49 days to install the winglets. More recently,it only takes them two weeks.

Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.

Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.

One of the most interesting aspects was using old-school white boards and papers to keep track of where each aircraft is at in the maintenance process. At first, I couldn’t imagine why they wouldn’t upgrade to computers, but their process absolutely works for them and why fix something that is not broken?

The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.

The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.

Typically, it takes about 12 hours to replace a Boeing 767 engine and only nine hours to replace one on an Airbus A318.

Engine

P&W4000 engine being worked on.

LAN is able to re-work up to ten engines at a time and the shop runs 24 hours per day, six days per week.

This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.

This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.

I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).

I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).

CAE training facility in Santiago.

CAE training facility in Santiago.

LAN does not operate their own flight simulators or crew training, but outsource to CAE, which is located directly next to the airport.

You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.

You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.

These may look like fun (I wasn't allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.

These may look like fun (I wasn’t allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.

Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.

Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.

A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.

A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.

Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.

Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.

Was able to sit in on two current pilots who were doing additional training on the Boeing 767. They just had one engine go out during landing and had to react appropriately — we all made it.

CHECK ALL 41 PHOTOS OF THE MAINTENANCE / TRAINING FACILITY

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

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: