Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Flight check: Auckland to Santiago on LAN

Alanah Eriksen flies LA800 from New Zealand to Chile.

With eight toilets and few passengers aboard, there were no queues for the lavatories. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Naddsy
With eight toilets and few passengers aboard, there were no queues for the lavatories. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Naddsy

The plane? Airbus A340-300. It is the biggest in LAN's fleet, seating 260 passengers.

Class? Business class and economy class, where I am.

Price? Flights are being advertised at $2269 at the moment.

On time? We arrived 50 minutes early.

My seat? 36D, near the back of the plane in the middle row of four. I can touch the seat in front of me when crossing my legs, but for shuttle service, it's pretty roomy. It reclines far enough back that I get a little bit of shut-eye on the 12-hour flight.

Fellow passengers? No screaming babies, no loud snoring ... bliss.

How full? The flight is barely full so the two seats next to me are empty, meaning I can lift the arm rests and spread out a little bit.

Entertainment? There are dozens of newish movies to pick from in the usual on-demand video set-up. I go for the Google movie, The Internship, and get a few good laughs from Vince Vaughan's jokes.

The service? Apart from banging the seats with their trollies, the flight attendants are smiley and attentive and the captain kept us updated throughout.

Food and drink? There's a lot of it. We start with a snack of Arnott's crackers and slabs of cheese. Then for dinner it's lamb and potatoes or pasta. For breakfast, the egg and bacon frittata is a treat, along with the fruit and blueberry muffin that comes with it. The drink selection is endless.

The toilets? With eight toilets and few passengers, there are no queues for the lavs.

Luggage? You could basically take the kitchen sink with you. As well as an 8kg carry-on bag, plus "personal item" (purse, laptop or nappy bag), we were allowed to check in two pieces of luggage, weighing 23kg each. Pity this wasn't a shopping holiday.

The airport experience? Once we got to Santiago, there was more waiting for a connecting flight. We may not have actually got to leave the airport, but it was still the first South American country I'd visited. It was time to soak up the culture - the souvenir shops, the scrumptious takeaway outlets, the locals speaking in their native tongue. It wasn't your typical read-a-book-while-slumped-uncomfortably-on-a-chair-while-waiting-for-the-next-flight kind of airport experience.

Would I fly this again? Yes, although I have a feeling the Auckland to Chile route may be a little more crowded during summer.

The writer travelled as a guest of Intrepid Travel and LAN Chile.

- NZ Herald

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