Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easter Island/Santiago November 2012 - LAN Airlines 2609 Economy Class (SFO-LIM)

***This post is part 2 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

I arrived at San Francisco International Airport two hours prior to departure, and the lines for check-in at the LAN counters were already quite long. LAN is not known for their customer service, efficiency, or timeliness, so while there were approximately five agents assisting economy customers, the line still moved at a glacial pace. Business passengers didn't fare much better.

Once I got up to the counter, however, the friendly agent checked me in without issue and tagged my bag all the way to Easter Island. She also reconfirmed the seating assignment I had already selected on LAN's website. Once my boarding passes were printed out, I headed over to Boarding Area A security check. Lines weren't long, and I was through the nude-o-scope and airside within ten minutes.

With plenty of time to spare, I purchased a bottle of water and walked around the terminal taking some pictures of our Boeing 767-300ER. As boarding began, I headed down to Gate A4 and waited for my row number to be called. Lines were a bit chaotic, but people were mostly polite. My boarding pass was eventually scanned, and I filed down the jet bridge.

LAN Airlines 2609
Boeing 767-300ER
San Francisco (SFO) - Lima (LIM)
Saturday November 3, 2012
Departure: 12:45 PM (scheduled) / 1:05 PM (actual)
Arrival: 12:05 AM (scheduled) / 11:55 PM (actual)
Duration: 9h 20m (scheduled) / 8h 50m (actual)
Seat: 27C (Economy) 

Making a right turn into economy class, the familiar look of the two-toned seats greeted me with memories from my last trip on LAN in 2010. They have since introduced a refreshed version of both their business and economy seats, but the older incarnation still maintained its clean, simple look.

I really love 767s, as they truly give you the most generous amount of space in terms of passenger density. I chose an aisle seat on the left side of the plane, which still afforded me an excellent view outside while providing easy access to the restroom and galley. The seat pitch felt comfortable enough at 32".

Although I enjoyed the AVOD system, I found the interface to be incredibly slow in response time (much like my experience with it two years ago). The updated version, which I had the opportunity to test out on the IPC-SCL segment, ran a lot smoother. Once the movie started, however, I didn't notice any serious glitches. I caught a few episodes of Friends, and then watched P.S. I Love You, which, by the way, wasn't a very good movie.

Lunch service began about an hour after takeoff, starting from the front of the cabin. I've always enjoyed the food on LAN, even in economy, and this flight was no exception. While the choice was a simple beef or pasta, the beef dish with mashed potatoes actually tasted great. The cheesecake dessert was also light and tasty. Flight attendants came by with red or white wine, and I tried a bit of the nameless red, which went well with the meal.

After lunch, I played around with the AVOD some more, and then decided to rest for a bit. It usually takes a miracle for me to fall asleep in economy class, but I did managed about two to three hours of tepid shuteye. Approximately two hours prior to landing, a second meal service began, although this was definitely more of a snack. A sad-looking half sandwich filled with cheese and mushrooms sat on the tray along with a small container of fruit. While the presentation left a little to be desired, the sandwich actually tasted fine.

Flight attendants were friendly and straightforward even though I didn't have much engagement with them beyond the meal service. As I mentioned, LAN as a company doesn't seem to place a heavy emphasis on service, but at the very least, I found almost everyone working this flight to be smiling and respectful.

Preparation soon began for our descent into Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport. We had a beautifully smooth night-time landing and arrived ten minutes early at the gate. Despite a very long wait to deplane, I wasn't too worried since I still had more than an hour before my departure to Easter Island.

I followed the signs to the security checkpoint for transit passengers, and with very few people in line, got through in less than ten minutes. After a quick stroll through the small terminal, I headed downstairs to the departure gate to meet up with my travel buddy, who had arrived in Lima earlier in the evening on a United flight via Houston.

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