Tried & Tested

LAN A320 economy class

12 Oct 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Check-in I arrived at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (often known as Ezieza) about two hours before my 14.55 flight to Santiago. LAN also operate flights from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport in Buenos Aires so it is worth double checking which you are departing from.

The terminal was quiet and there were no queues at either the LAN business or economy desks. I was handed my boarding pass and those for my onward connections from Santiago within a minute.

Security clearance was quick, no need to remove laptops or toiletries and I joined a queue of about 40 people for six desks at passport control. As I approached, there was a table with some departure forms on it which I struggled to complete in time. If only they had made it available earlier.

The departure area Most airports are shopping centres but this one felt just like a department store. Narrow alleyways between open plan shops on either side, and I wondered if I would ever find the departure gates

As a Oneworld Emerald cardholder I have lounge access and LAN shares the American Airlines Admirals Club. This is not signposted but is to be found near gate 10. This was very quiet and had lots of seating, a good selection of drinks, limited snacks of crisps, soup, olives and biscuits and free wifi.

Boarding Boarding started a few minutes late with Oneworld FFP cardholders first followed by those with young children. Despite being a full flight boarding was swift allowing an on time departure. Before departure immigration cards were given out. 

The seat The cabin of the A320 is fitted in a 3-3 configuration. Interestingly the seats are not ABC-DEF as you might expect but ABC-JKL. I was in seat 7J and before boarding wondered if it was an aisle seat (it was). The blue leather seats are comfortable enough but the legroom not that generous. This was an all economy flight but the plane was clearly used on flights where the first three rows were  Premium Economy (Short Haul Business by any other name where the middle seat is left vacant).

The flight Very soon after take off there was a drinks service and a snack (cheese croissant and chocolate cake).  There are drop down tv screens above the seat and after a programme on Chile there was an episode of the Simpsons followed by How to Make It.   Instead of headphones everyone was given the clip over ear earpieces.  It took a while to get used to them but I found them comfortable and by the end I think I preferred them to normal headsets.  At least I did not get off the plane with my hair looking like Tintins!

Arrival The flight landed early after an approximate two hour flight and we were at the gate within five minutes although it seemed to take a while to disembark. I was making a connection so I had no luggage to collect. Transit was easy. It was a short walk to the transit area where there was no queue at security and up escalator to the departure area.    

Verdict A modern plane with good service. Hard to fault although a little more legroom would be nice.  


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