Chilean airlines: Sky vs LAN

From my pre-trip reading, it was evident to me that there are 2 major airlines working in Chile: Sky Airlines and LAN.

LAN is part of the One World Alliance and is based in Santiago, Chile.  It has flights to destinations throughout Latin America.  I would equate them to the Air Canada of Chile.  The prices seemed a bit higher than for Sky.

LAN Airlines plane

Sky Airlines is also based in Santiago, Chile and is the second largest airline after LAN.  They also fly to several other countries in Latin America.  I would equate them to the Westjet of Chile, though their service might be more akin to Porter Airlines (from what I’ve heard…I’ve not flown Porter yet in Canada).  Their prices can be cheaper than LAN.

Sky Airlines plane

Context: I flew LAN from Santiago to Calama (San Pedro de Atacama).  I flew Sky Airlines from Santiago to Punta Arenas.

Travel time: The flight from Santiago to Calama took less than 2 hours (1225km).  The flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas took about 6 hours (2100km), with stops in Puerto Montt and Balmaceda.  Just to note, if you were to take LAN to Punta Arenas, they would likely make one stop in Puerto Montt, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a direct flight either, though every stop adds at least 40 minutes of stopover time.  One stop over is better than 2!

Food: We travelled over standard meal times on both airlines.  Keep in mind that both were domestic flights within Chile.

LAN provided a box of goodies (1 bag of crackers, 1 wagonwheel-esque snack, and 1 lemon square) and drink service, including free wine.

Snack box
This is the food we got on LAN

Sky Airlines served 2 full meals during the flight, which were delicious compared to what I’m used to with Air Canada’s international flights (don’t even mention Air Canada’s domestic flight service).  We got a tasty sandwich or other entree (which was actually quite yummy), a salad (veggie or fruit), a warm bun, and a dessert, with drink service including free wine.  Taking Sky Airlines was worth it, just for the food.

Meal from Sky
This is the food we got on Sky Airlines

Service: The flight attendants on both airlines were very respectful and some spoke some English.  Fairly standard level of service for airlines.

Other comments: Our flights with LAN departed and arrived on time, if not early.  Our flight on Sky Airlines to Punta Arenas was a bit late on arrival and our departure from Punta Arenas left about 2 hours late…so we were lucky because we had no connection to catch.

I should also mention that the planes that I flew in in Chile didn’t have that offensive airplane smell that North American planes have. I don’t know if it’s the smell of cleaning detergent, fumigant, or whatnot, but coach buses and planes in North America all smell the same and as someone who’s sensitive to smells, the planes and coach buses in Chile were welcomed.


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