LATAM Airlines flies non-stop from Melbourne to Santiago 3 times per week using Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The route launched in October last year, and AFF member pn1 recently tried it out in Economy class.
The trip began on board LA804 from Melbourne to Santiago. This flight departs in the evening, so dinner was served after take-off. This was followed by a small breakfast before arrival in Chile.
The food was interesting and something of a new experience; a very pleasant meal served on a circular plastic plate. The “dessert” was one Tim Tam; an Australian touch for sure! That was it. There was a beverage service with the meal but again that was it.
The LATAM Airlines Dreamliner is a comfortable new aircraft, although the Economy seats in their 3-3-3 configuration are a little narrow. The legroom is reasonable though, especially if you can access one of the up-front “Space Plus” seats. One unique feature of the Boeing 787 is the electronic window shades. Unfortunately, the cabin crew can override the controls and force these shades closed meaning passengers miss out on the views outside.
A disappointment, was that almost all the electronic windows on the Dreamliner were drawn as we approached Santiago passing some incredible Andean scenery.
Australians entering Chile are required to pay a “reciprocity fee” of USD117. This is done at a special counter before clearing immigration and customs.
On arrival at Santiago airport, the first thing to do was to pay the “reciprocity fee” imposed by the Chilean government on all Australians, as I understand it, a quid pro quo for Canberra charging Chileans for a visa. My Australian credit card was readily accepted and it was only a few cents short of $A150 when the transaction appeared.
The return flight, LA805 from Santiago to Melbourne, is one of the few commercial airline routes that overflies Antarctica during daylight hours. There can be some great views, but our member had no luck this time without a window seat.
The captain had intimated the course would go close to Antarctica and I was hoping, fingers crossed, there many have been a once in a lifetime view from the plane. But, alas, it seemed a case of so near yet so far. In any case, sitting in the middle row and with almost all blinds drawn it would have been intrusive to try to get a view if we’d been flying closer to Antarctica.
It’s possible to redeem Qantas points for this LATAM Airlines flight. But also keep an eye out for regular specials. pn1 travelled for just over $1,000 return and found that the experience was well worth the price.
Our 10 days in Chile were confined to Santiago and Valparaiso. It was a very interesting holiday and good value for a Qantas fare of less than $1100 plus applicable QF frequent flyer points and status credits.
Melbourne is LATAM Airlines’ second destination in Austraila. The Chilean Oneworld carrier also flies daily to Sydney via Auckland.
Read the full member review on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Melbourne to Santiago and return by Latam