A brand new 787-9, my ride to Santiago, Chile – Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter
I recently made a trip to Santiago to cover the opening of LAN’s new VIP Lounge. I was pretty excited since this gave me a few firsts. This was the first time that I was invited to do an international trip as media and my first time in South America. This was also going to be my first trip on a 787 of any variant. While the Santiago to JFK route was normally flown by a 787-8 at that time, the night before my flight I discovered that a brand new 787-9 had been swapped in. I was beyond excited!
The bulkhead row of seats on LAN’s 787-9 – Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter
Although I would say that I had a better than average international economy experience, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t encounter some challenges. Some were things that happen just because the complexities of running an airline, but others I think could be updated to improve the overall economy passenger experience.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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 email@example.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.