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Fly to South America

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View of Aconcagua from plane, Argentina

Andean Trails’ Alan recently flew out to South America. Here he lets us know how he got on.

He says:

Being a canny Scot I was looking for the best deal to get me from Edinburgh to Santiago. Routings and airlines vary depending on times of year, how busy the airlines are on your chosen dates and so on.

My bargain ticket was on Iberia via London and Madrid. However, although all my flights had Iberia flight numbers, in fact most were code shares so it was British Airways to Heathrow, then Iberia to Madrid and LATAM to Santiago.

With my convoluted ticket it meant that checking in was not a breeze. I was able to check in about 20 hours before departure on the British Airways website from Edinburgh to London and on to Madrid , but no joy trying for the Madrid to Santiago flight.

At Edinburgh airport I managed to check in my bag all the way through to Santiago but they were unable to check me in for my flight to Santiago. I asked again on arrival to Heathrow and once more no joy and finally I had to do so at the gate in Madrid. So much for the seamless One World Alliance.

Latam 787 Santiago Airport, Chile

LATAM 787

New tendencies – Pay to pre book your seat and food for purchase

It is also worth noting that the tendency now is that if you wish to pre book a seat before check in, you will have to pay extra for the privilege,

The Edinburgh to Heathrow flight is up and down in one hour with food for purchase from Marks and Spencers.

The Iberia flight from London to Madrid was longer, two hours with food for purchase as well. The lady next to me paid 2 euros for water in a nice blue bottle. I had bought a sandwich at the supermarket before leaving but I did wash it down by paying on board 5 euros for 187 ml of Rioja.

Long haul Madrid to Santiago – LATAM new on board service

The main flight though was the 14 hour flight from Madrid to Santiago.

LATAM Airlines (the fusion of Chile’s LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM) have just launched a new meal service on longhaul flights of over 7 hours.

The service is a radical change from that most airlines have been offering the economy longhaul traveller over the last 30 years. Gone is the tray with the salad, main, desert, coffee cup and cutlery, bits and bobs.

Now, shortly after take off you are given a menu that has three options for lunch/dinner: an international hot dish with local ingredients, a hot vegetarian option and a cold healthy option.

Latam new menu 2017

Menu

The crew will then come round with the meal service with the main dish, 50% larger than the traditional, served on a small flat tray with a bread roll and a sweet as well as a plastic knife and fork, salt and a napkin.

Drinks offered are water, soft drinks, juices, wine and beer along with the meal.

Latam new longhaul economy main meal presentation

New meal presentation LATAM

After the trays have been collected a second service offers tea, coffee, water and the option of a Ballantine’s whisky. All included in your ticket.

Excellent seat back in flight entertainment, Touch screen, good film and music selection. I just found the map a bit disappointing – compared to that you will find on the airlines like British Airways. I must add, So much for the seamless One World Alliance.

I can’t sleep on flights and after watching a film, at around 5 hours into the flight, I went to the back galley in search of water.

Well, well well. Not only was there water for me to help myself to but also ham and cheese sandwiches, muffin type sponge cakes, Haagen Dazs ice cream, juice and

Breakfast on the new LATAM service, which on this flight started about 2 hours prior to arrival ,was a choice of a savory omelette or sweet pancakes with yoghurt or fresh fruit. Coffee and tea as well as fruit juices were de rigeur. LATAM are one of the few airlines that offer a breakfast service in economy – must just hand out a snack box.

Latam new longhaul economy breakfast presentation

LATAM longhaul breakfast

Alan’s verdict on the new LATAM meal service: Meal was very tasty. I liked the new service. It feels a step up from the previous – even though the cutlery is now plastic and the wine is served in a plastic cup instead of a small glass. Magnifico!

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