This dumb airline has been the biggest thorn in my side since moving to Chile. LONG GONE are the days of safe, reliable and feasible commercial flight alternatives such as Southwest, Jet Blue and Virgin.
Sure, there’s random airlines like Sky, but they certainly don’t get me where I want to go most of the time (namely outside of Santiago.) Southwest and the other airlines I mentioned didn’t do that either but at least they gave me options to get to ANOTHER major city, where, nine times out of ten, there would be some option for a larger carrier taking me out of the country.
Here’s the thing about LAN:
1) it’s basically the ONLY real option in Chile for national and ESPECIALLY international travel. Thus, they’re basically a monopoly. That means their prices are always the most expensive. And since there are usually lack of other options, you are forced to pay exuberant prices.
2) they have the worst – THE WORST – online customer experience EVER. 8 times out of 10, you can’t accomplish ANYTHING on the dumb site and when you call to figure it out with an actual person, they want to charge you for not having used their site in the first place.
3) their award travel is ridiculously hard to redeem and forget about MOLDING it into what you might need … if you want to book a one-way flight anywhere, you simply can’t. It will automatically charge you for an Round Trip flight, no matter what. Whereas American let’s you do whatever the hell you please, so long as you have the miles to do it and if not, the $$$ to buy the miles to do it.
4) The flight attendants are stiff and overly made up. It’s like talking to Mormon’s and watching them flinch when you say something they don’t like. They may bat their eyelashes a bit harder but their plastic smiles never waver. I’m sorry, but that freaks me out.
Now, of course, with the bad and the ugly comes the good:
1) Piggy backing off the flight attendant comment, I do commend them for having generally attractive flight attendants who aren’t disgruntled and who aren’t old enough to be my grandmother. While having flight attendants of ALL AGES is what I personally think would be best, they do have an extremely lopsided crew… leaning towards 35 and under. And also, Chile certainly isn’t a monument for fights against age discrimination laws. In fact, I’m sure LAN’s executive board is the one promoting the age range acceptance in job descriptions.
2) The planes are squeaky clean and very new. And they have TV’s with a laundry list of movies (old and new) and TV Shows, as well as games and music. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up! It made my 17 hour flight go by entertainingly fast!
3) Free food and free alcohol on all flights. Enough said.
Yet despite these three oh-so-fabulous points, LAN remains a thorn in my side for so many reasons and most have to do with just being the only option you really have in Chile. I hate lack of options. Especially when I come from a country where I had a million airlines to choose from to get from Point A to Point B. And here I find myself with just LAN…just good ol’ LAN. With their fake customer service and its circa 1999 website. Because they’re the only option, they can’t be bothered to fix their website, their travel award nuances and their scary, Valley-of-the-Dolls flight attendants.
And thus, I can’t be bothered with coming up with more than three good points about them.
Also – side note – one of Chile’s current presidential candidates used to be the President of Lan Chile. Is that good or is that bad given what I have just laid out for you here? Discuss.