With a planned trip in the next few months to visit a friend in southeastern Brazil, I’d initially priced some fares with LAN and TAM.
Of course, I remembered that LAN and TAM are planning to operate under the same merged and umbrella organization (re. LatAm Airlines Group), which means they each have in effect a monopoly or, at least, a serious stranglehold on many of the routes within Chile, within Brazil, and direct non-stops between the two countries. For the fares I sought, prices reached $1000USD with taxes, which is essentially equivalent to a significant amount of a fare to either Europe or Australia. Ouch.
For a couple of days it was difficult to get around this, and I was having difficulty thinking about the alternatives.
Fortunately, I spoke with my friend and work-colleague from Brazil, and they reminded me of smaller airlines, namely Azul and Pluna, flying in and out of Brazil, and offering lower fares.
Pluna (*) Airlines is based in Montevideo, Uruguay, and it makes sense to fly from Santiago to Montevideo in order to reach southeastern Brazil. Sure enough, the fares I now found were half as much as they would be on TAM. Moreover, the total travel time between Santiago and southeastern Brazil would not be significantly different with either TAM or Pluna.
According to their website, Pluna uses the Bombardier CRJ900 series of planes, which look pretty sweet. It’s too bad, however, I’ve been unable to find the seat-pitch or seat-width numbers for Pluna. I’m still looking forward to seeing how good the ride is in the newer RJs.
(*) thanks to Wikipedia, PLUNA is a Spanish acronym for “Primeras Líneas Uruguayas de Navegación Aérea”.
HL, 2300h GMT, 20 May 2011.
Initially published on Posterous, this post has moved and now appears on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).