Flight to Buenos Aires - Airlines and layover times
April 9, 2016 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone flown LAN Airlines? What was your experience? Also, is this enough of a layover for an international flight?

Hey there hivemind. I'm going to be attending a summer program in Buenos Aires, Argentina this July and August, so I'm starting to look at flights. It looks like the cheapest flights are out of DC, so that's where I'm looking, and it also looks like the cheapest airline to use is LAN Airlines. I've never flown with them before: how are they? American and British carriers are all at least $500 more expensive so I'd really like to save the money and use this carrier if it's decent.

In addition, LAN Airlines is based out of Lima, Peru, which is where I would be connecting. I'm not thrilled about a super long layover, so the flight I'm looking at is a bit shorter than most, with a 2 hour and 15 minute layover in Lima, as well as an hour and a half layover in Santiago, Chile. Is that enough? I know I'll have to go through passport control, and my experiences with this in Ecuador lead me to think that this will take forever, but since I'm in transit I won't have to go through customs, so maybe this is enough time? I've never been to the Lima or Santiago airports, so if you've done this layover before and have some advice for me, that would be great!

Muchas gracias! Next week's question will be on what to do when my sister visits me in BA for a week. :-)
posted by chainsofreedom to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I fly LAN a lot, and I go through Santiago and Lima airports a lot. The level of service is the same as any other international airline I've flown, you don't need to worry about it being dodgy or substandard.

I normally fly from Australia to Lima via Santiago (I've never transited through Lima, but it's a normal international airport). You shouldn't have to do any passport control or customs procedures during your layovers, just get out of the plane and wait for the next flight. There's sometimes a bit of a queue for the security check, which is of the standard x-ray type. As far as I know, the requirement to have a visa and go through passport control when you're in transit only applies in the USA. (I travel on a NZ passport, so YMMV if you're travelling on some other passport but in my experience in Santiago *everyone* just sits and waits for the plane, there's no passport check at all until you board the next flight.)

Your layover times look perfect, I recently had 1.5 hours in Santiago, it's enough time to relax and grab a beer or coffee and stretch your legs but not enough to get bored.

(BTW LAN has subsidiaries in various S American countries but its main base is Santiago, Chile.)
posted by nomis at 7:03 AM on April 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I flew LAN from Miami-Santiago-Antofagasta and back in 2002. My information is dated but my experiences were consistent with Nomis.
posted by cardboard at 7:05 AM on April 9, 2016

You'll certainly get better meals than on an american airline. My SO flew one it a month ago and it's as good an experience as the top European lines.
posted by sammyo at 7:20 AM on April 9, 2016

Just a personal anecdote - I flew on LAN recently a few months ago - they are indeed very cheap and I was slightly worried after my experience with Ethiopian Airlines. This trip was from Melbourne-Sydney-Auckland-Santiago-Lima. Turned out the international legs were in a shiny new Dreamliner (3x3x3 config) which was by far my best flying experience to date. Domestic legs after that were with more dated planes, but adequate. Their international airport at Lima was jam packed with travelers but they seemed very efficient at getting everyone through security and customs. I would wholeheartedly recommend using them - they seem on par with Qantas / Cathay / SIA and their ratings on tripadvisor seem to reflect that. Only hitch was the fact that some computer glitch messed up my itinerary a few months after I booked the flight and so I spent some time on the phone with them and their customer support staff English was rather poor.
posted by xdvesper at 7:20 AM on April 9, 2016

lan is about the same level as klm / air france - a bit nicer than american / delta.

it recently merged with tam (to form latam), and in my experience tam weren't as good, so i do worry they might slip. but a recent flight (internal to chile) with lan was as good as ever.

lan are not based out of lima. they're based out of santiago. they're the main chilean carrier.

it's not clear to me exactly what you're doing on connections, but you may not need to go through passport control at all. transit times look fine - especially if all tickets are on same carrier / bought together.

ps there's a very good modern art museum in bbaa you + your sister should go round (and a decent state art museum too).
posted by andrewcooke at 7:53 AM on April 9, 2016

Great to know! Thanks! I didn't know that the passport control thing was a US only policy, so that is a big relief!

Also, my sister loves modern art, so we will definitely be going to that!!!
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:42 AM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

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