While most of my international LAN flights have been really enjoyable and punctual my recent LAN Argentina domestic flights have been a completely different story.
I had used 20,000 Starpoints which I transferred to LAN for 50,000 LANPass Kilometers. This gave me a roundtrip to from Buenos Aires to Patagonia and to Iguazu Falls. I took 3 out 4 flights so far and 2 were delayed more than 3 hours each.
Airports in Argentina are not exactly a fund place to hang out with few things to do (not even speaking of WiFi).
In both cases the flight was delayed because of mechanical issues according to the tight lipped gate agents. Much different than the LAN Peru International gate agents the Argentine domestic agents weren't exactly helpful. Rebooking to another carrier? You got to be kidding me! Check-in agents were borderline rude with minimal English knowledge.
All I got was a $5 food voucher (that's a coffee and croissant) during the time.
From my searches the horrible in-time record for these flights is a well known issue (and I should have informed myself before the flights).
I sent LAN an inquiry and received this:
Dear Mr. Jacobi,
We acknowledge receipt of your E-mail, informing us of the difficulties encountered on your recent trip with the delay of flights LAN 4431 and LAN 4024 last December.
To this respect, we would like to inform you that although punctuality is one of our main objectives, sometimes our operations are affected by last minute operational matters.
We sincerely regret that you suffered such an unfortunate experience, we understand that delays or other irregular operations can be very disturbing but we wish to assure you that we do everything within our power to maintain the itineraries. Because safety is our primary concern, there will be times when we will not hesitate to delay or even cancel a flight if the circumstances warrant this decision.
We have to state that LAN does not compensate when this type of situations occur.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review this matter for you, and we hope that we may have the pleasure of serving you again in the near future, this time to your entire satisfaction.
I find it amusing that 'last minute operational matters' continue to affect the airline almost every day. On both days the weather was sunny with minimal wind at all airports.
Given my earlier experiences with LAN I had high expectations for LAN coming through and doing the right thing but that did not happen.
Domestic tickets within Argentina are much more expensive to foreigners than locals. So the revenue tickets are expensive. However Delta can book (for 10,000 miles a segment) flights on Aerolineas Argentinas. While not a great airline they seem to have their domestic operation in order. Something I can't say about LAN Argentina.
Photo credit Planespotters.Net