Great LATAM Business Class Fares To Easter Island

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While I’ve been to Santiago, there are quite a few places in Chile I’d still like to visit — in particular, Easter Island and the Atacama Desert.

As a miles & points enthusiast, getting to Chile in a decent premium cabin product can be challenging. That’s because LATAM is pretty stingy when it comes to releasing award space, at least if you don’t have miles with their own program — partner award space is nearly non-existent, especially for two seats.

Perhaps the best way to get there is to book a paid ticket to Santiago. As an Executive Platinum member with American I can book economy and upgrade to business class, or maybe I’m even better off just trying to fly premium economy, so I can finally review it. Then it’s not too tough to book flights within Chile.

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LATAM Will Fly Between Santiago And Melbourne In 2017

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LATAM has a new fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft. I had the chance to fly one of them on their fifth freedom route from Madrid to Frankfurt earlier in the year, and enjoyed my flight with them.

As it stands, LATAM has only one flight to Australia, which operates with a stop. Specifically, they fly from Santiago to Auckland to Sydney, which creates yet another cool fifth freedom route on which to fly them, from Sydney to Auckland. Anyway, the airline will nicely be expanding their service to Australia late next year.

LATAM has just announced that they’ll be launching a nonstop flight between Santiago, Chile, and Melbourne, Australia, as of October 5, 2017. This route will operate 3x weekly using a Boeing 787-9, with the following schedule:

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Qatar Airways Buying A 10% Stake In LATAM

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It seems to be increasingly common for the Gulf carriers to buy stakes in foreign airlines. For example, Etihad owns a stake in several airlines, including airberlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, etc. Meanwhile last year Qatar Airways bought a 9.99% stake in IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. Earlier in the year they announced that they’d be increasing that stake to 15%.

I suspect the motivation for Gulf carriers investing in foreign airlines is primarily twofold:

— The Gulf countries are looking for ways to diversify their assets and develop economies that are sustainable long term, long after oil runs out (decreased oil revenue is already impacting Gulf countries); the Gulf countries, much like China, like to invest abroad
— The Gulf carriers are constantly fighting political battles when expanding, given how many foreign airlines selectively don’t want to compete with government owned/subsidized airlines in the Gulf; by buying stakes in other carriers, the Gulf carriers are increasing their soft political power

With that in mind, Qatar Airways has just announced their newest major investment. Qatar Airways will buy a 10% stake in LATAM, a deal valued at $613 million.

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Review: LAN Lounge Bogota Airport

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Our Bogota to Miami flight was scheduled to depart at 3:09PM, so we got to the airport at around 1PM. Since traffic in Bogota was so terrible, we wanted to leave plenty of time to get to the airport.

American check-in at Bogota Airport was efficient, though security took about 30 minutes.

Once through security we found ourselves in the fairly modern and spacious departures hall.

At check-in we were given invitations to the LAN Sala VIP, which American uses for their business class passengers. We followed the signage towards the lounge, which was located in the same area of the terminal as the Avianca lounge.

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Is This The Secret To Booking LAN Business Class Awards?

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Over the past week I’ve been doing something which is very uncharacteristic of me — planning travel in advance. Usually I plan travel day-by-day given that I’m on a never ending journey, but I’m trying to plan my actual destination-oriented trips more carefully.

I’m presently finalizing the details of a trip to Longyearbyen and Russia, and am simultaneously working on a trip to Peru. I wrote about planning my hotel stays in Peru in a previous post, which is the easy part, given Starwood’s excellent Luxury Collection properties there.

Usually I find booking flights to be easy, while I get a bit annoyed with hotels. This experience is the opposite — booking hotels was super easy, while I can’t decide what to do with flights.

I should note that I’m taking this trip with Ford. I’m an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, while Ford is a Platinum member with about 75,000 elite qualifying miles. On one hand I don’t want to fly coach if I can avoid it, but at the same time it would be nice to earn elite qualifying miles. He’d end up qualifying for Executive Platinum eventually regardless, but it would be nice to make it happen faster. 😉

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Review: LAN Business Class 787 Madrid To Frankfurt

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I arrived at Madrid Airport Terminal 4 shortly after 1PM, plenty early for my 3:15PM flight to Frankfurt. I already had my boarding pass in hand (as it was printed when I started my journey), so I headed straight to security.

Like many airports, Madrid Airport has a dedicated fast track security area, though it’s one of the best executed ones I’ve ever seen. It’s completely separate from the other security checkpoints, and almost felt like you were using a private checkpoint. There was no wait, and I was through in a couple of minutes.

Once through security I followed the signage towards the R Concourse, which the signs indicated was a 22 minute walk away. While Madrid Airport is beautiful, everything is so spread out. I can’t think of any other airport where it takes 22 minutes to get from the security checkpoint to a concourse in the same terminal (I’m sure there are some, but I can’t think of them).

After walking a while I took the escalator down a couple of levels to the train.

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5 Coolest Fifth Freedom Routes In Europe


I’ve written in the past about fifth freedom routes. For those of you not familiar with fifth freedom routes, these are flights where an airline from one country has the right to operate between two other countries.

These are often operated in conjunction with longhaul flights back to the airline’s home country. To give a few examples:

— Cathay Pacific flies from New York to Vancouver to Hong Kong, so the flight between New York and Vancouver would be a fifth freedom route
— Singapore Airlines flies from New York to Frankfurt to Singapore, so the flight between New York and Frankfurt would be a fifth freedom route
— Korean Air flies from Seoul to Los Angeles to Sao Paulo, so the flight between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo would be a fifth freedom route

Those are just a few examples, and also happen to be among my favorite fifth freedom routes in the US.

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Introduction: O-man, IB Crazy AF

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To those of you who have been asking for more creative trip report titles, there ya go. Punny, eh? 😉

The motivation for this trip started with my desire to fly Oman Air. I’ve flown most of the other major carriers in the region, including Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, etc.

But when it comes to business class products, Oman Air has always intrigued me more than any of those airlines. They’ve historically had a business class product which looks a lot more like first class than business class, though their new planes are being delivered with a different business class product. So I really wanted to try their old product before it eventually disappears.

Fortunately that opportunity presented itself when I stumbled upon some great Oman Air business class fares between Frankfurt and Bangkok (routing via Muscat in both directions). Unfortunately the time I had to take this trip was very limited, as I hoping to squeeze it between my trip to Changsha on Hainan, and my trip to Colombia, which gave me only about a week to play with.

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My LAN 787 Business Class Flight In 10 Pictures

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Guten Abend aus Frankfurt! Yesterday I shared a teaser of the Iberia flight I took from New York to Madrid, in their new business class. After spending several hours in Madrid, it was time to connect to Frankfurt. But rather than taking the next available flight, I waited for LAN Chile’s afternoon flight, which is operated by a 787.

LAN Chile has a flight from Santiago to Madrid, and then they offer a connecting “tag” flight from Madrid to Frankfurt. There are many “fifth freedom” routes out there, though they’re somewhat limited in Europe. Off the top of my head I can think of Singapore Airlines’ Munich to Manchester flight, Air China’s Athens to Munich flight, Garuda’s Amsterdam to London flight (which will soon be discontinued), and this LAN flight.

What makes it so special? Intra-Europe business class typically consists of an economy seat with a blocked middle, along with improved service and food. So it’s really quite underwhelming. For example, I’d take first class on a US carrier with no food over intra-Europe business class any day.

So it’s such a treat when you get a flat bed and almost unlimited space on a quick two hour flight within Europe, especially given what the alternatives are.

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Great Deal: LAN Business Class Awards From Los Angeles To Santiago


Several days ago I wrote about LAN restarting 3x weekly nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Santiago. As of now the route has just been announced for the peak season, between October 16, 2016, and March 25, 2017, but I imagine it has the potential to be extended beyond that if it performs well.

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787, featuring 30 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. They’re all fully flat.

This flight complements LAN’s existing service between Los Angeles and Santiago via Lima, which is still fairly direct but does prevent a good night of sleep, given that you have to make a stop before the last three hours of your journey.

While the flight was first available for booking a few days ago, I didn’t initially see any award availability. However, it looks like LAN has finally gotten around to loading award availability, and it’s excellent. LAN has seven business class award seats on many flights between Los Angeles and Santiago.

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LAN Restarting Nonstop Los Angeles To Santiago Flights


LAN Chile announced today that they’ll be restarting nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Santiago. The flight will operate 3x per week between October 16, 2016, and March 25, 2017. As of now the flight just seems to be operating in the Southern summer, but I imagine it has the potential to be extended beyond that if demand warrants it.

This complements LAN’s existing flight between Los Angeles and Lima, which offers connecting service to Santiago. This will shave 2hr20min off the travel time between Los Angeles and Santiago compared to the airline’s existing one stop service, which takes 13hr southbound and 13hr30min northbound.

LAN’s 787s feature a total of 30 fully flat business class seats, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. So while not cutting edge, it’s a perfectly nice product. The plane also has 217 economy class seats.

The flight should become bookable as of later today. Hopefully LAN releases a decent amount of award availability on the route. If booking through American AAdvantage, this route would cost just 50,000 miles each way in business class. Meanwhile after American’s March 22 devaluation, the flight would cost 57,500 miles each way, which isn’t too bad compared to some of the other price increases.

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I’m Booked: Iberia, LAN, Oman Air, And Air France Business Class!!!


Yesterday I wrote a post entitled “Which Oman Air Business Class Itinerary Should I Book?”

As I explained in the post, my goal this year is to review as many new airline products as possible. I’m off to a good start with that goal, as I already flew Finnair business class and Air India first class, and shortly will be flying Hainan Airlines business class, which I’m excited about.

Yesterday my post was about the decent Oman Air fare I saw between Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur. For ~1,750EUR I could fly from Frankfurt to Muscat to Kuala Lumpur, which would allow me to sample Oman Air’s new and old business class products (Oman Air is one of the few airlines where the old product is what I’m more excited about).

Well, I’m a complete idiot, because what I failed to realize is that I could actually fly roundtrip business class for less than the price of one-way business class, as pointed out by a reader in the comments section. I looked at a few potential routings, and eventually decided I’d rather fly to Bangkok than Kuala Lumpur, given that Oman Air has their own lounge in Bangkok, which I’d like to review.

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What Are The Implications Of An American & LATAM Joint Venture?


There are several levels of cooperation airlines can have, ranging from interline agreements to alliances to codeshares to joint ventures. Over the past few years we’ve seen a trend where the alliances have become less of a priority, and joint ventures have become more of a priority.

Why is the significance of the major alliances decreasing? Because while they were a fad for a while, nowadays the alliances have so many members that airlines can’t always add that much value for one another. Delta doesn’t issue you elite qualifying miles for flights on Korean Air, even though they’re both part of SkyTeam. And Qatar Airways is constantly threatening to leave oneworld over their battle with American.

Joint ventures are much more serious partnerships, as they truly align the goals of two airlines. This allows the airlines to coordinate schedules and fares, and involves full revenue sharing between airlines.

American already has several joint ventures. These include:

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Redeem Miles For LAN’s New Flight To Washington Dulles


LAN Peru, the Lima-based carrier, recently announced that they would launch flights between Lima and Washington Dulles Airport. This represents LAN Peru’s fifth US destination, after Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Orlando. The new route finally become bookable yesterday, and award space is readily available on it.

LAN Peru will launch flights between Lima and Washington Dulles as of May 2, 2016. The 3x weekly flight will be operated by a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, featuring 18 business class seats.

Via, the new flight will operate with the following schedule:

LA2800 Lima to Washington departing 9:00AM arriving 5:50PM
LA2801 Washington to Lima departing 11:30PM arriving 6:20AM (+1 day)

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