Wednesday, January 12, 2011

LAN-tinas! Flying Lan Premium Business Santiago to New York

Trip Report
After four weeks in lovely Buenos Aires, drinking, clubbin and catching up with old friends (the EZE part of handle), it was time to head back to NYC. Instead of flying AA NGBC, a product that while sufficient and due to all my long haul on AA and eVips, a home away from home. I wanted to go back to my girl on the side, LAN. AA is my wife-y, but lately this young and smooth LAN-tina has got me under her spell.

I decided to take LA 532, with a stop and change of plane in Santiago but same flight number operated by a Boeing 763 from EZE to SCL and then to JFK. SCL to JFK is served by the non-stop LA 532 and also LA 530, which stops in LIM. The hard product is identical on all 763 in the LAN family, but new 763s heading to XL (Lan Ecuador) will have a smaller J Cabin.

I selected 2D, aisle seat in the middle section. While windows are nice, I love easy access to and from the aisle, since I like to walk around the cabin a bit and sometimes even explore that mysterious land beyond the mesh curtain... hehe

Pre-Flight: Ahh, EZEiza, lovely terminal, but it can be a mad house. The Business lines were almost hidden behind the Y line, for some reason LAN lined them all up in one line instead of using the serpent type line that the other airlines were using, so I was able to make my way to the Business desk, and confirmed that my luggage would go all the way to NYC. LAN uses the Admirals Club in Buenos Aires, again a pretty generic outpost lounge, just some cheese and Dorito-type chips (not that common in Buenos Aires). Beer was Isenbeck (yuck) so I had some Navaroo Correas Sparkling Wine. Boarding is not announced so I made my way to the gate and found my seat.

Ezeiza Admirals Club

Seat 2D
Meal: Cold dish, no options,  Cheese Plate with a touch of Dulce de Membrillo, Main Salmon with Sald and a couscous type side. 

This was an uneventful flight, a quick hop across the Andes, watch an old Simpsons episode (for some reason, the number of Simpson episodes on LAN used to be 3 or 4 episodes, only one was available on this flight)

Santiago lounges: I made my way to the Neruda lounge and it looked identical to the pre-Earthqauke lounge, I knew SCL had been damaged in the February 2010 earthquake but didn’t see any sign of damage. Immediately went and pigged out on the LAN sushi and Champagne. Checked my email and headed to my JFK gate. 
Champagne and Sushi! :)

Santiago Lounge during the afternoon rush

LA 532
Seat 2D
The usual anti-water security theater is still in effect, but they don’t seem to care, they do a quick glance and ignore a half full bottle of lounge contraband water…
I sat down, again in 2D and a lovely LAN-tina introduces herself , sayin she’ll be serving me all the way to NYC… one of these days, I’m gonna get myself a FA, it’s on the to do list for 2011. ;)

Time to eat:
LAN serves a cold nuts/raisins mix, that’s the one thing I like about my wifey AA, the warm nuts make you feel at home at times…
Dinner: To start:  Ecuadorian Shrimp with Mediterranean Cous cous salad. Served with a 2009 Ventolera Sauvignon Blanc.

Main: Options include Beef, Salmon Cannelloni and a light Chicken salad. I picked the Beef.
Grilled Filet of Beef with golden semolina and sautéed asparagus, tomatoes and pears. My LAN-tina suggested a Syrah (and while I really like Syrahs), I picked a Merlot, gotta stay true to my Argentine side.. 

Desert: Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream, several Chocolate flavors.

Conclusion: Food smaller portion than AA, but slightly tastier. Ice Cream, AA kills ya with the Sundaes or Frozen Ice balls, a heavier option (hard to believe) than the HD Ice Cream.

IFE/Seat: Huge 15.6 inch screen, 180 Flat bed seat, several different positions and easy to use/sleep.

Overall, the only bad part was JFK, Immigration was a breeze, but my bags decided to take a vacation in Santiago and after a decent amount of complaining with Ground Services, I was given a tracking number and a cash payment of $150 to cover emergency expenses (This cash payment seems to only apply to Business passengers)

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