Australia to South America: Which Airline?

Australia to South America: Which Airline?
Valparaíso, Chile

There are several airlines that fly from Australia to South America. Which offers the best service and overall value?

Have booked an Antarctica cruise for 4 of us and it appears to come with a nights accommodation in Santiago. That seems to suggest flying either QF or Lan. It would be in business class. Any ideas as to which is better in J or is there not much difference?

There are two airlines flying non-stop from Australia to South America. Qantas flies 4x weekly from Sydney to Santiago, Chile. LATAM Airlines also flies 3x weekly from Melbourne to Santiago, and daily from Sydney to the Chilean capital with a stop in Auckland.

Our member Flying mermaid is looking for Business class flights to Santiago and is considering both Qantas and LATAM Airlines. Both airlines have similarly-priced tickets, but there are two key differences.

Firstly, Qantas operates older Boeing 747s on the southern route to Chile. The Business class seats are lie-flat, but some of them are beginning to show their age.

QF will be an (old) 747, so if you are a fan of that, and understand the hit-or-miss QF service, then that’s for you (also a direct flight Vs stop in Auckland on LATAM

By comparison, LATAM Airlines flies to Australia with near-new Boeing 787s. The lie-flat Business seats on these aircraft are very comfortable, but slightly smaller than the Qantas Sky Beds. Neither airline offers direct aisle access for every Business passenger; LATAM Airlines runs a 2-2-2 configuration in Business.

Secondly, the service on each airline is different. Qantas crew are Australian, but the service can be somewhat inconsistent. LATAM crew typically offer very good service, although non-Spanish speakers may experience a small language barrier.

As for the soft product, I love being amongst australians, but the LATAM service is as a rule so much more consistent and better.

Air New Zealand also flies to South America with convenient one-stop connections from major Australian cities. Air New Zealand’s service from Auckland to Buenos Aires, Argentina runs 5 times per week. Air New Zealand’s Business class has a great reputation and prices are competitive, so it’s worth considering. However, one member warns that Chile is a better hub than Argentina for entering South America.

And another comment, unless you specifically want to visit Argentina, avoid it. Aside from language barriers, Chilean customs/ police/ admin is much more clear and corruption-free than Argentina.

Which airline do you use from Australia to South America? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Flying to South America


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
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