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FLIGHT#40 LAN#570 Bogota, Columbia - Santiago, Chile 767 Biz with Pics

FLIGHT#40 LAN#570 Bogota, Columbia - Santiago, Chile 767 Biz with Pics

Old Oct 3, 11, 6:26 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
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Posts: 957
FLIGHT#40 LAN#570 Bogota, Columbia - Santiago, Chile 767 Biz with Pics


FLIGHT#40
LAN #573
Bogota, Colombia (BOG) - Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Date: June 28, 2011
Departure 23:55
Arrival: 06:35
Length: 05:40
Miles flown since start of trip: 77,403 mi.
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seats: BUSINESS



This flight was the first of long journey back to the United States. We had spent the month of June in Cartagena as part of our year long travel entitled Fifth Grade The World. We had spent a few days enjoying Bogotá and now our trip was over and we were on our way to our new home, the Bay Area in California.

We checked out of the Embassy Suites and noticed they padded my bill by $100 for our two day stay. They were only able to refund the money in Colombian pesos which I really didn’t need since I was on the way to the airport. Ugh. It’s always good to check those bills. I had even booked the reservation through the Embassy Suites website and they still overcharged for the room rate.

I had read several reports about a crowded airport experience at BOG so we left the hotel for the airport at 8:00 pm for our 11:55 pm flight. We were NOT going to miss this flight. All of the elevators had signs mentioning that the traffic to the airport was horrible since they were replacing the road. We figured four hours was plenty to deal with crowds and traffic.

The 25,000 peso journey was indeed a wild ride. The traffic was crazy and the road was nonexistent at times. It took a about an hour and I would have been biting off all my fingernails if I hadn’t left enough time for the transfer.


Arriving at Bogotá International Airport

CHECK-IN:
LAN was not listed on the board of departing flights because it was still a while to departure. We finally found it at the far left of all the counters. As we approached that end, we could see that it was pandemonium there and at the neighboring Air Canada. The crowds were so thick little space remained for us to pass. We finally pushed our way through and found that the entrance to the LAN Premium Business queue. Luckily there were only two other people in line so we were quickly helped.


The LAN Check-In desks


Corbin and Carl in the Business Class line

Unfortunately our agent was not the most useful employee in the LAN system. We had a sixteen hour layover in Santiago and LAN was providing us with a day room at the airport Holiday Inn. Because of this I wanted to retrieve our bags to have in the hotel with us in Santiago. The agent did not want to do this because we were continuing on to Los Angeles the next day. I knew in my mind that it was possible so politely insisted that she contact her supervisor for clarification. She was not pleased with this. Finally after much tapping on the keyboard, she figured it out. Then she announced that we had not paid our tax. What tax? We were missing the departure stamp for Colombian taxes. Ugh. She finally noticed that we were in the country less than one month so we needed the tax waiver stamp and did not have to pay anything.

She gave us vague directions that involved navigating the pandemonium one more time! As we began Corbin shouted out that we should exit to the street and use the outdoor sidewalk instead of fighting the crowd! THAT’S MY BOY!! His idea was wonderful and we found the window after re-entering the building. The tax agents simply looked at our passports and then stamped them and four other pieces of paper. As we travel the world, we often encounter people working questionable jobs. India was full of them. This was another.

Taking Corbin’s outdoor path, we easily made it back to the LAN desks. After showing the passports she handed over our boarding passes and baggage claim tickets checked to Santiago. I didn’t see the bags anywhere but I trusted they weren’t in her cousin’s truck on their way back into Bogotá. She also gave us a map to the AA lounge used by LAN. It was past security which is always preferred.

While there was no premium passport clearance or security, we passed through the whole thing in about twenty minutes. The passport agent was especially friendly, the same as when we entered. They have obviously all gotten good training.

Once past security I was on the hunt for a foreign currency exchange. I found NONE. Most of the shops were closing up and the whole place looked fairly abandoned. We hardly ever end up with extra currency. In the one country where we had a significant amount, we were stuck leaving with the Monopoly money. Thanks again Embassy Suites. Hilton would be getting a letter about THAT one.

LOUNGE:
It took us a while to find the AA Admiral’s Lounge. The map that we had been given was useless. Corbin could have designed a better map. Finally we spotted the doorway and soon we were safely ensconced inside.


The hidden elevator down to the lounges


The entrance to the Admirals Club

The agent welcomed us and said she would be announcing our flight. We walked through the entire lounge and finally set up camp in the far end. The Bogotá AA Lounge is NOT the strongest in their system. It’s worn and tired looking. Luckily it was not very full so it was comfortable enough.


An empty AA lounge


Lots of empty seating


It looks like a smoking room but it isn’t


Some basic cubicles

The bar was fine. I made us some vodka tonics. Corbin found some juice. He’s a pro by this point at airline lounges. He grabs a drink and nibbles and then goes off to find the computers. He finds it’s easier to play games on their computers than try to connect his laptop to their wifi.

The food offerings were bAAsic. In addition to the traditional cheese, crackers and carrots/celery/dips, they had skewered fruit and soup. The weirdest thing about the lounge was they were playing Lady Gaga fairly loudly! This was a first for me in a lounge.


The food offerings


Booze, baby, booze


Typical AA hot beverage bar

As our departure time grew closer, more people arrived but it was never crowded. After that check-in experience, this was well appreciated. At eighty minutes before our scheduled departure, our flight was announced and we packed up. This seemed a bit early to me but hey, I’m not in charge!

Last edited by olafman; Oct 3, 11 at 6:40 pm
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Old Oct 3, 11, 6:27 pm
  #2  
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BOARDING:
The gate area was a mob scene. Luckily the Premium Business side of the podium was open and we boarded immediately. Our 5:40 hr flight was a night flight so we all changed into our comfy sleeping clothes to convince our bodies to sleep. The load down to Santiago was only about 50% in C so it was quiet throughout the flight.


The C cabin tonight


A view forward from our seats


Our bed tonight


Dressed for bed

I chose a Pisco Sour and Corbin a pineapple juice as our pre-departure beverages. These were served with the typical mixed nuts and small dried fruit. I love a pre-departure snack. It had been MINUTES since we had eaten in the lounge.


A pineapple juice and a Pisco Sour

The flight attendants came by with lots of newspapers and I grabbed El Pais from Spain. It’s a decent Spanish language newspaper with good international coverage. They also handed out their basic amenity kit and menus.

IN-FLIGHT SERVICE:
The crew was very friendly throughout the whole flight. We only had one bad crew out of our six 767 flights on LAN. The meal was billed as “express dinner” since it was after midnight and most people wanted to sleep. My two boys skipped the meal and instead went to sleep. I on the other hand ordered the meal being a true frequent flyer geek. I could sleep later!

The whole meal is efficiently served on one tray. I thought about ordering the Conger Eel with Chilean abalone sauce but chose the filet thinking I would sleep better after beef. It often makes me sleepy.


The Express Dinner


The main of the Express Dinner

The all the food was delicious. I had a great Chilean red with my meat. It’s hard to beat Chile for food and wine.


The food menu


The drinks menu

I don’t think any breakfast was offered because they woke us up just prior to landing maximizing our sleep time. Thanks LAN!


My boy fell asleep right away

LANDING:
We said goodbye to our great crew and were first off the plane and into passport control. LOVE THAT! In no time we were standing at the baggage carousel waiting for our bags.

And it was a long wait. Our bags were among the last to come out thanks to the agent in Bogotá forgetting to add the Priority tags. She just transitioned from a bad agent to a REALLY bad agent, not the best face of LAN.

Our pre-arranged stay at the Holiday Inn was about 50m from the baggage carousel so we arrived immediately. I’ll write about our stay there as part of our next leg: FLIGHT#41.

Finally we found a FOREX counter to exchange all the left over Colombian pesos given to us by the Embassy Suites. I knew we’d be picking up some Pisco to bring back to California so I didn’t mind getting some Chilean pesos.

OVERALL:
LAN offers a top-notch product along this route. I find the 767 flat seat very comfortable especially when you make an additional mattress out of two duvets. That’s when a 50% load comes in handy.

Up next: 18 hours in Santiago and our final flight back to the States!

Previous reports in this year of travel:
My Son’s Fifth Grade Year, 97,737 miles, 40 flights, 6 continents, 16 countries
FLIGHT#39 Copa Airlines #7471 Cartagena - Bogotá Economy with Pics
FLIGHT#38 Copa Airlines #7478 Bogotá – Cartagena Economy with Pics
FLIGHT#37: LAN#570 Santiago, Chile – Bogotá, Columbia 767 Biz with Pics
FLIGHT#36: LAN#842 Easter Island-Santiago 767 Biz with Video & Pics
FLIGHT#35: LAN#814 Santiago-Easter Island 767 Biz with Pics
FLIGHT#34: Air Canada#412 Buenos Aires - Santiago 767 Biz with Pics
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Last edited by olafman; Oct 6, 11 at 2:56 pm
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