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Posts tagged ‘LAN’

Pluna Airlines from Chile to Brazil, via Uruguay

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 (

Blue bar, AKL Auckland Airport,

The ritual 5am airport beer at AKL

Flying across the south Pacific is no trivial matter, and yet, flying time in 10-hour chunks is about as routine as … well … flying from Santiago, Chile to one of Los Angeles, Dallas, or Miami. The countless trips between North America and Chile over the years has meant that a 10-hour flight becomes one of routine.

LAN Airlines‘ “south Pacific ferry” goes Santiago (SCL) – Auckland (AKL) – Sydney (SYD). Auckland is an important junction with additional destinations in New Zealand, Australia, Oceania, and continental Asia. LAN uses Airbus 340-300 series metal on their transpacific and transatlantic routes with 2-4-2 economy configuration.

The flight leaves SCL just after 11pm, and arrives in AKL at about 4am local time for a flight duration of just over 13 hours. As I’m going through to SYD, I alight the plane in AKL, follow the signs to the international-transfer area, clear the X-ray machines, head on into the just-open international terminal, and get ready to board the same plane.

Some of the available choices open in the early hour include duty-free shops, coffee and fast-food outlets, Whitcoulls (books), and The Great New Zealand Shop. Even though the clock and departure board both show 5am, I head straight to Blue Bar.

AKL Blue Bar 5am

At 5am, I have 15 minutes …

AKL Blue Bar 5am

… to quaff this beautiful beverage.

It’s about 1pm in Chile, and I’m ready for that “lunch beer”, despite the apparent incongruity of breakfast in the rest of the terminal. It isn’t cheap, but the beer is delicious, refreshing.

In making this trip over the south Pacific a fourth time, I’ve learned the 5am beer at AKL is an essential rite of sustenance to propel me over the Tasman Sea. With the departure from AKL at 6am, the final flight-segment lasts 3.5 hours, which is enough time for the post-beer breakfast and the post-brekkie snooze, before the plane lands in SYD at 730am local time.

I made the photos above on 23 September 2010 in Auckland airport. This post appeared originally on Posterous, then moved and edited on Fotoeins Fotopress as at

LAN and TAM to merge and create LATAM Airlines Group

Yesterday, LAN Airlines (Chile) and TAM Airlines (Brazil) signed a non-binding MoU to signal their intentions to form a single company, Latam Airlines Group, which would keep both brands separate.

A sampling of news items:

HL, 2335h CLT, 14 Aug 2010.

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