My flight to Santiago would be 12 hrs and 30 minutes with a stop in Lima. I had redeemed 40k British Airways miles for the one way business class flight to Easter Island. I scheduled an allowed stopover in Santiago for three days. It was a long flight to prepare for both mentally and with respect to my snacks (I always bring a snack bag). As the flight departed after 11pm and i already had a memorable ride to the airport, i was ready to sleep on the flight if possible. This was my first LAN experience and I had done some research by reading various trip reports on FlyerTalk and Milepoint so had seen photos of the business class cabin, seats and other aspects such as menus and in flight entertainment (IFE).
As I’m not one to take photos of the plane cabin, there are other people who do that full time like Brian (The Points Guy) and Ben (One Mile at a Time). For me, the award ticket in business class with a flat seat and amenity kit is exciting enough. What i can talk to is the cabinet experience. LAN staff, at least on my side of the aisle, were non-existent outside of meal time. I was given one bottle of water for the whole flight (thankfully, my snack bag contained a few bottles of water). Considering i generally hoard bottle water on flights at every turn, having one bottle of water wasn’t going to last until morning. So on my many trips to the galley in search of an attendant, I resorted to my first B&E (breaking and entering, which while a crime on land, not sure what international jail rules are – LOL!) into the latched metal storage cabinets in the galley area after waiting for someone/anyone to help me. This surprised me especially in business class, it was a disappointing cabin crew experience.
A few nice things of note:
1. The amenity kit by the luxury Italian Bvlgari brand contained toiletries in a dark grey shaving bag with a reusuable LAN tote bag. This is one of the nicer amenity kits I’ve received. I won’t be sharing this one.
2. The wine list had Chilean Carmenere which was great to try for the first time (and subsequent flights after)
3. The duvet was thick and warm and with the late flight, I actually slept for part of the flight which is a new experience for me.
We stopped in Lima for about an hour without changing planes – this provided time to get up and stretch. Arriving in Santiago, I had pay the $160 reciprocity tax to enter the country. After paying my fee and getting the tourist card stapled to my passport page (a sticker would have been better – save the staples!), The card is good for 90 days and if you pay your hotel in U.S. dollars (credit card ok) then the 18% hotel tax is waived. After retrieving my bags, I had to go through the agriculture scanning of bags. All i heard on the loudspeakers, while in line, were the items not allowed into the country – some made sense, a few others gave me pause such a feathers – how many problematic feather smugglers have there been to make it to the announcement list?
The hotel concierge (as well as the SPG app) had recommended that i just reserve an official taxi at the blue desk before leaving the secure area. This was quick and easy and the driver met me on the other side of the security door for our drive into the city. As it was Easter Sunday and everything but the airport seemed closed, there was little traffic on the highway. The twenty minute ride cost about $30-$40. My hotel, the W Santiago, is in a residential area downtown called El Golf, which was deserted on this Easter Sunday morning.
Now let’s check-in to the W Santiago