LAN Airlines is hands down my favorite airline in South America. If you didn’t know LAN is based out of Chile and they have just begun a massive expansion strategy.
They have three affiliates; LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, and LAN Peru, that operate in those countries respectively. They recently purchased the Colombian airline Aires and are currently in a merger with one of the largest airlines in Brazil, TAM.
This will give them over 20% market share in Colombia and the new combined airline, LATAM, will be on of the largest airlines in the world.
There is one reason why I love LAN: Efficiency. Chile has long been considered the Switzerland of the south and it’s not just because of the Andes. Chile is the most developed and efficient country in South America. Keyword: Efficient. In a Latin American culture where 2 o’clock means 3 o’clock and everyone is always late, LAN is breaking the rules.
I usually would try and get a flight via LAN or its affiliates even if it would cost an extra few hundred dollars because time is money. In some countries like Argentina, there are rampant strikes because of an economy thats falling apart. While LAN can’t control the economy, they can control how they treat their passengers. They are very good about taking care of your accommodation and transportation and more importantly, reimbursing you.
The international flights are what impressed me the most. The airline industry at the moment is flying around planes that were built during the Roosevelt administration. I don’t know if you have noticed how the inside of these planes resemble your grandmother’s living room?
LAN since it has expanded just recently has one of the most modern fleets in the industry; TV’s in every seat, more leg room, and free headphones! One thing that absolutely blew me away was the airline food they serve. This isn’t your typical undercooked cardboard tasting chicken or beef.
Nor do they give you plastic silverware that breaks when you try to break the beef thats tougher than Arnold in his prime (see picture here). The meals that they served on my international routes was better than I have had at restaurants. It really was a pleasant surprise to receive actual medal silverware, no plastic. Medal silverware to me really says what LAN thinks about their customers.
To save you money they offer a South American Air Pass (prices may change with oil prices) where you can book flights for a set amount per fare which saved me a ton of money. Since I day trade in the stock market I always need to be back home to work. I always took day trips and flew almost everywhere I went on the weekends.
If I am traveling to a destination where LAN flies, I try to book with them and get credit for my miles.