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Chile Travel / Atacama Desert Travel / CJC / LAN / SCL / Adventure Travel / Oneworld / How to Get to / Only in South America / South America Travel / → All Tags
The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the driest place in the world with some of the craziest scenery. It's no wonder it often features high on traveler's bucketlists. We've just crossed it off our own, and all week we'll be sharing our top tips to making this dream destination a reality vacation.
Listen for the whirr as the landing gear of the LAN Airlines A320 descends. In a few minutes more, you'll be on the ground that now, at a few thousand feet, looks like a stretch of rusty orange nothingness. From that nothingness appears a runway, and a few bumps later you've entered the oldest desert on Earth.
Although the Atacama's arid expanse seems peaceful, it's actually only a thin veil disguising the truth of the regionthat its volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, salt lakes, towering sand dunes and whipping winds mean the very ground underneath your feet is extremely alive and active. It's often said that the terrain resembles the surface of Mars more than anything you'd expect to find here on Earth and, in fact, NASA maintains testing sites here.
As you can imagine, reaching such an extreme place requires some equally extreme travel, but it can be done. Pack moisturizer and come along...
Travel Snapshot / Chile Travel / Atacama Desert Travel / Adventure Travel / Only in South America / LAN / CJC / Wish You Were Here / → All Tags
A sand dune and the "amphitheater" rock formation at Valle de La Luna
Any attempt to describe the wild terrain of Chile's Atacama Desert is an exercise in futility. To friends, we've likened this "driest place in the world" to the desert in Arizona or southern Utah, but we must admit the Atacama is actually quite indescribable. Forgive the oft-used idiom, but it has to be seen to be believed.
Flying into El Loa Airport (CJC) in Calama, the snow peaks of the jagged Andes fall away and the landscape transitions to a rusty palette of parched volcanic earth. You'll wonder: "what in the world have I gotten myself into?" The striated cliffs, towering dunes, and salt lagoon oases don't resemble anything that should be in this world. Mars maybe, but surely not Earth.
South America Travel / Chile Travel / Argentina Travel / Colombia Travel / LAN / Travel Photography / Only in South America / Galapagos Travel / Tourism / SCL / AEP / IGR / PUQ / MIA / BOG / GYE / GPS / CJC / Atacama Desert Travel / Adventure Travel / Airports / → All Tags
If you think the above photo is beautifulit's our Andes view from LAN Airlines flight 158 from Santiago to Calamathen get ready to have your mind blown and your bucketlist overflowing.
South America is a land of such staggeringly varied terrain, from desert to glaciers and rainforest to snow-capped peaks, that flying over it without requesting a window seat is one of the biggest travel mistakes one can make.
Now, which route? Get your camera ready because, using our own past travel knowledge and a passion for experiencing the extremes, we've laid out the Six Scenic South America Routes to Fly Before You Die:
Travel News / Frequent Flyer Miles / Travel 101 / Virgin America / Alitalia / Singapore Airlines / British Airways / LAN / → All Tags
"Direct" and "non-stop" mean the same thing, right? Wrongwhich is why we're taking today to do some travel 101 with a refresher on these terms. Why is knowing the difference so important? Well, you can clearly state your flight preferences to airline reservations and gate staff when making bookings or changing plans, and you'll also just generally sound like the clued-in traveler you are.
Oneworld / Airline Alliances / Airline News / American Airlines / US Airways / LAN / TAM / LATAM / Qatar Airways / Malaysia Airlines / Sri Lankan Airlines / → All Tags
There's been some big, exciting news in the aviation world, and some bankruptcies and some mergers that cross the lines of traditional airline alliances. These shake-ups will redraw alliance lines and might affect your ability to earn and burn frequent flyer miles to your dream destination. Let's discuss Oneworld since the recent American and US Airways merger will mean the most for US-based travelers.
We already know that the New American will be sticking with Oneworld, which means the inevitable departure of US Airways from Star Alliance. In general, this doesn't open up a wealth of new US destinations, but it actually expands an already thorough South American network and opens a few new European cities to Oneworld.
Airline Lounges / Oneworld / LAN / Cathay Pacific / Business Class Travel / LAX / Qantas / Los Angeles Travel / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
You're at Los Angeles International AIrport and preparing to wing your way to another continent and you'll be spending those in-air hours in either Business or First Class. First off, that sounds like you planned an excellent tripcongratulations. Second, you'll want to hit up the lounge for a last-minute tipple or email check, and if you're traveling on a Oneworld alliance airline (like Qantas, LAN, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Japan Airlines), then the lounge for you is on Level 5 of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
As it's a combined lounge, the amenities here are generic but plentiful. This means more than 10 shiny Mac desktops, a long buffet bar with both and hot and cold food options, two extensive self-serve beverage areas plus a full bar with bartender, private shower rooms, and plenty of modern, comfy chairs nearby power outlets. The design isn't exactly revolutionary or even notable, but it is clean, modern and spacious.
Jaunted Reporting Live / Aviation / 787 / Airplanes / New Routes / Flight Reviews / Boeing / Boeing 787 / LAN 787 / Photo Gallery / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / LATAM / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / LAN / South America Travel / LAX / Los Angeles Travel / SCL / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
It flies! It actually flies!
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a headline hog. You can read all about it and its drama (lately more than ever) throughout major media, but there's nothing better than actually stepping onboard with a ticket to ride.
After more than a year of hanging out with the 787 on the tarmac, we finally flew the darned thing as South American airline LAN celebrated the inaugural flight of their new Los Angeles-to-Santiago, Chile 10-hour non-stop with the spiffy new bird.
So, what actually happens onboard a 787 flight? Is it really so different from any other airplane? Having just stepped off of this, our first 787 flight, we can finally answer those questions: lots of stuff and yes.
To describe a 10-hour flight is akin to boring neighbors with photo slides of a water park vacation. Instead, we're breaking it down into the hourly highlights ("the short of it") and, for those rapt with pleasure for every detail, the long of it, in first-person:
Jaunted Reporting Live / Aviation / 787 / Airplanes / New Routes / Boeing / LATAM / Photo Gallery / Boeing 787 / LAN 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / LAN / South America Travel / LAX / Los Angeles Travel / SCL / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
While this week hasn't exactly been all sunshine and rainbows for airlines flying their Boeing 787 Dreamliners around the world, last week sure was. On January 2, we stepped onboard aircraft CC-BBC, the gleaming new third 787 delivered to South American airline LAN for what would be a monumental inaugural flight, non-stop from Los Angeles-LAX to Santiago, Chile-SCL.
Our ticket read seat 1L. As the first row, first window on the right, that's practically a cockpit jumpseat (though our legroom and recline would be better). This would be more than a first 787 flight from LAX; it would be our own, personal first 787 flight. To say we were psyched is a gross understatement. The energy and optimism rippled through the line of waiting passengers in all classes, holding all types of tickets, as a special party for the full flight began at the gate.
Jaunted Reporting Live / Aviation / 787 / Airplanes / New Routes / Boeing / Boeing 787 / LAN 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / LAN / South America Travel / LAX / Los Angeles Travel / SCL / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
How do you say "787?" Seven-eight-seven or seven-eighty-seven? Though technically both are perfectly acceptable, the language may vary depending on the country to/from which you're flying the new airplane. And, since United is the only US operator of the airlines with Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the international names for the bird are more prevalent.
Before we set off on last week's LAN inaugural flight from LAX-SCL on their newest Dreamliner, @PointstoPointB tweeted us to ask: "how do they call the plane in Spanish onboard? Siete Ocho Siete? Siete Ochenta y Siete? El Sueñoliner?"
Well, dearest @PointstoPointB and future flyers of the LAN Dreamliner, we cleared up the issue firsthand with LAN's flight attendants. Their answer:
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This is the future.
There may be no personal jetpacks or hoverboards or even cheesecake in pill form, but at least we have advanced enough as a civilization to install self-closing toilet lids in airplane lavatories.
Onboard the inaugural flight of the LAN 787 from LAX non-stop to Santiago, Chile earlier this week, we had 10 hours to explore the 787 in-flight, in both Economy and Premium Business class, and made the question of the lavatory a priority. Check back Tuesday for our full review and photo galleries of the flight, but let's resolve this important issue right here and now.
Jaunted Reporting Live / Aviation / 787 / Airplanes / New Routes / Boeing / Boeing 787 / LAN 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / LAN / South America Travel / LAX / Los Angeles Travel / SCL / Santiago Travel / Social Media / → All Tags
Hello from LAX! Today we're off to Santiago, Chile (our 2012 Destination of the Year), though this time it's not the city we're checking out; we're flying 10-ish hours each way simply for the airplane taking us there. That's rightit's the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and this is yet another huge entry on its history timeline as LAN inaugurates a fresh route with their spanking new wings.
LAN Airlines was the fourth carrier to receive a Dreamliner, but first in the Americas. Today they tack on a few more records, as this inaugural flightLAN 603 LAX - SCLis...
· The first 787 scheduled service from LAX
· LAN's first 787 route to North America
· The first 787 service overall between North and South America
· The first non-stop service from LAX to Santiago, Chile (a new route that'll operate 3x/week, Wednesday-Friday-Sunday)
Events / Free Stuff / Miami Travel / Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 / Design Travel / LAN / TAM / Street Art Travel / Art Basel / → All Tags
YAYit's Saturday! Let's talk Art Basel Miami Beach. The annual contemporary art event—which encompasses several art fairs, art installations around the city, and a gajillion parties—brings in the big spenders and the struggling creatives alike for four days of fun in the sun.
The official dates are Thursday-Sunday, December 6-9, but it's this weekend that sees the most interest from people outside the art & design industries. Yes, even regular people can attend. Though tickets to hit any of the main fairs cost double digits, there's plenty gratis happenings for a sweet taste of this infamous event.
Here's our four favorite free events, open to all: