Lima – Cuzco
Departure Time: 11:55AM
Economy Class Seat 10k
After five wonderful days exploring Cuzco and the sacred valley, Lady Tocqueville and I sadly had to say goodbye and get on to our next destination, Lima. At 10AM, we took a taxi from the JW Marriott to Cuzco airport. While taxis on the street will take you for as little as 12 Soles to the airport, we contracted with a friendly driver we had earlier in the week to take us for 20 Soles ($7.15). For us the premium was well worth it, considering we wouldn’t have to haggle and had already built rapport with the driver. Alternatively, a car service was available by the Marriott for $25.
When we arrived at Cuzco airport, the check-in area for LAN was a zoo. There was a long line, stretching outside for check-in. We went looking for a Business Class or OneWorld elite check-in. Even though our flight today was in Economy, as business was not offered, we still had a Business Class ticket. We did not find a Business or Oneworld Elite check-in, but at the special assistance counter I asked the man guarding that line if business class could check in there. He said yes, and we gladly avoided at least 30 minutes of the hoi polloi check-in line. Considering that Lady Tocqueville and I are often the hoi polloi ourselves, being on Business Class tickets is quite a treat.
While we were originally in row 6, I asked the check-in agent if we could be moved to the emergency exit row. He obliged, and we were moved to row 10. Surprisingly, our boarding passes for Lima – Santiago and Santiago – Easter Island printed, even though the first of those flights was almost 40 hours away. This would benefit us as they were marked up as “Premium Business,” which would credentialize ourselves later for priority boarding.
After check-in, we saw there was a small lounge Sala VIP. This was before security. We attempted to access this by virtue of a Business Class LAN ticket. However, this lounge did not provide access for LAN tickets, only Priority Club or Diners Club. My wife has a Diners Club card through her employer, however she didn’t have it with her and we would have had to pay a guest fee for me anyways. So we exited the lounge and went through security into the Domestic Departures area.
While the security checkpoints in Peru were much better than the unconstitutional verbal thrashing and “we’re just following orders” nonsense of the TSA, they did sadly take one of my possessions. I brought with me a very small Eddie Bauer pocket knife, with a blade about 1.5″ long. I knew that if it was taken from me, I wouldn’t be too disappointed since I never used it at home and it probably came for free with a pair of socks or something. When the TSA didn’t take it from me on the day of our departure, I figured I was home-free, at least for a while. Sure enough, it also made it through Peru domestic security on our LIM – CUZ flight five days ago. Well today wasn’t my day, and the x-ray scanner security hombre snagged my bag, searched it, and found it. He took it and put it in his pocket, presumably to go to his family’s personal stash of international traveler prohibited items. I didn’t protest too much, although the thought did occur to me of going back to check-in, checking just the pocket knife, and having them wrap the boarding tag around the knife and having it checked all the way to Easter Island. Nevertheless, I let the knife vaya con Dios, or in this case vaya a casa de hombre securidad.
The domestic departures area was extremely busy, and we had nowhere to sit. We didn’t mind standing, and after an hour once our boarding gate was soon to become “live,” we stood in the Preferido Line, which was marked with OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire logos. We boarded on-time, and at first the boarding agent was confused about us boarding with the Preferidos, I flashed our onward Lima – Santiago boarding pass which said Premium Business, and she let us pass.
LAN has an 8kg limit for carry-on bags, although no one batted an eye when I brought my Eagle Creek Hovercraft 22″ weighing 32lbs (~15kg), and got it snugly fit in the overhead, wheels first, next to Lady Tocqueville’s TravelPro Crew 8 and her backpack.
Leg room was awesome in the Emergency Exit row, better than some domestic First Class leg room in the USA (US Air A319’s come to mind). We were presented with a snack basket, similar to the one we had five days prior, and we opted for some water. While Lady Tocqueville read the book I alluded to in our CLT – MIA – LIM trip report, Nostromo, I pecked away on this trip report. Overall the flight was uneventful. The scenery of the Andes was spectacular. We descended without incident and arrived on-time at a remote stand gate, where a bus quickly took us to Arrivals.