Santiago – Mendoza
Departure Time: 2:05PM
Economy Class Seat 7L
Duration 1 hour
After returning the rental car in Santiago, we proceeded to LAN check-in. We had economy class seats on an economy only flight, but LAN “premium check-in” at Santiago still accepted us. This was a pleasant check-in because it was in its own room apart from the main terminal. Much more peaceful for check-in.
The check-in agent provided the boarding passes for Lady Tocqueville and I, and her parents, and we were off through immigration and security. We had about 90 minutes prior to boarding, so we went to the American Airlines admirals club in Santiago. They admitted us by virtue of our business class tickets issued by AA, even though today’s segment was in Economy. It is neat to check-out these American-based airline club outposts in foreign countries. This one was pretty standard, if a bit outdated, but had a great food and drink spread.
A pretty generous booze spread. Being lunchtime, we kept it simple with coke or orange juice.
Light snacks food spread. The tomato soup in the gray canister wasn’t too bad, especially with shredded cheese added to it.
View of the club from our seats.
We headed to our boarding gate, which was previously occupied by a big TAM 777. Also, at the gate next to us was a massive Qantas 747-400 Longreach getting ready to push back to Sydney.
The 747-400 Qantas Longreach as seen from our boarding gate.
We boarded, as usual now, with in the Preferente line and were among the first on the plane. The plan was new and clean and comfortable, although seat pitch was again small for my 6’4″ frame, it was manageable for a short flight.
View of the cabin during boarding.
The monster seat-pitch on LAN economy class flights.
We took-off, headed south, crossed the Andes, and cruised back North towards Mendoza. The flight was so short there was no food or drink service. We just sat back and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Andes. Pictured above is leaving Chile and crossing the Andes into Argentina.
All in all, an uneventful flight. Once in Mendoza we waited about 20 minutes to go through immigration and customs. We had to show them proof of our Argentina “Reciprocity Fee” Payment. Just like Chile, Argentina extorts $160 from each American that comes into their country. That is $160 that doesn’t go into Argentina’s private sector, and instead into the coffers of the dysfunctional government.
We picked up our rental car through Hertz. The “upgrade” was to a Chevrolet Classic LT. At first it looked pretty rinky dinky, but it worked out. And it fit right in amongst the jallopies we saw all over the road in Argentina. It was a 35 minute drive to our Posada in Mendoza. We were very excited about 5 nights staying on a living, breathing wine and olive oil farm out in the countryside.