Monday, 01-09-2014. Day 13.
Pacific Club and Flight Delays.
We had breakfast at the hotel, then packed up and headed out to the airport in the rain. The Santiago's Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is a great airport. There are plenty of stores and restaurants right near the check-in area before you even get through security, which seems like a pretty civilized way to operate. We couldn't check our bags until 12:40 p.m., so we did a little shopping until then.
One of the crazier things we've seen on our trip so far is SecureBag, where for 8,000 pesos you can have your bag completely wrapped in colorful plastic. Not really practical, but one can't argue with the fact that no one, not even you, will be able to get into your bag.
Our flight wasn't until 5:40 p.m., so after check-in, we we spent our time in the Pacific Club, a side benefit of Samantha's business travels. Our tickets said boarding would begin at 5:05 p.m., so we went to our gate at 4:30 p.m., only to find that our flight was delayed for two and a half hours. The collective groan that goes up when everyone learns that their flight has been delayed sounds the same in any language.
The time went by pretty quickly, though, and we didn't have any connections to make, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Our main concern was that the people from our B&B on Easter Island who were picking us up knew we were going to be late. But there was no free wi-fi at the airport and the roaming data connection was spotty, but we managed to send an email. By 8:00 p.m., we were on the plane and heading for Isla de Pascua.
Again, the late departure notwithstanding, the flight was fantastic. The whole LAN Airlines experience was top-notch. Everything was free, the food was good, and the service was great. No wi-fi, though, but that was all right. They use a big plane for the flight to Easter Island, a 767-300.
We didn't arrive at Easter Island until midnight. The flight we took continued on from Easter Island to Tahiti, another six-hour flight. About half the plane was continuing on, but we were glad we were done flying for the night.
Easter Island is home to about 6,000 people, and most of them live in Hanga Roa, the only town on the island which is right next to the airport. Everyone on the island knows when a plane arrives, so it was no surprise that our hosts from the Cabaña Rapa Nui Orito were waiting for us with leis. They drove us about a kilometer or so up the road to the cabaña where we quickly checked in, got to our room, and got settled in. We heard the plane depart the island for Tahiti at 1:05 a.m., then drifted off to sleep.
In the last 24 hours, we'd flown for 11 and spent eight in an airport. Ah, the thrills of international travel.
- Hours in flight: 6
- Hours in airports: 8
- Leis worn: 4