Lan is the major airline in Peru. They have a flight from LAX non-stop to Lima but for me, it wasn’t the cheapest, so I didn’t take it long haul. My Gap tour included a flight from Lima to Cusco and they put us on Lan flights. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to check in. The airline allows one checked bag up to 20kg included on the ticket! Oh the good ‘ol days! And that isn’t the only difference. After we passed security, the terminal was PACKED with flights leaving for all points around the country. They kept making unlistenable announcements in Spanish, which I couldn’t understand anyway.
I kept an eye on the screen with our flight and right when we were supposed to board, the flight disappeared. I didn’t think much of it immediately until they started announcing names and I realized that some people from my tour were heading to the counter, so I followed. Apparently, our flight was canceled (well, actually not canceled, just skipping over stopping in Cusco and heading straight to Arequipa) and we were all being rebooked on a flight 2 hours later and they were just calling up group by group for our rebooked tickets as well as food vouchers to get something to eat at the only place to eat in the terminal. Luckily, the ticket agents spoke perfect English and was writing out my ticket right when I happen to approach the counter and I just handed in my old ticket and was issued a new ticket. Funny enough, between the time some other group members tickets were issued (less than 5 minutes earlier) the gate had already changed. Typical! Luckily, we all pretty much gathered in the one place to eat and I informed the other members of the gate change. Something we needed to keep an eye on anyway, just in case of another change. Luckily, all the gates were pretty much in the same area, so it wasn’t too much of an issue if there were any changes. I found out later, that one of the Norwegians on the tour was booked on an EVEN later flight then the rest of us and had to kick up a minor issue to be placed on our flight. Annoying! I would have freaked if that was me. Because of that, she sat totally separate from her partner on the plane. I groaned when I realized that I was in the last row of the plane and in the middle seat (kill me now), but luckily, the seats went back and I was in between the British couple, who for some reason was separated as well. Very weird!
We sat on the runway for about an hour, which would have been annoying except I was chatting and getting to know my group mates the entire time so I barely noticed, but just an FYI, that things just run a little different in Peru.
The flight was pretty awesome! I took a peek out of the window as much as I could and the left side of the plane was pretty amazing, seeing all the snow-capped mountains. Even though the flight was slightly over an hour, we got beverage service (you must drink the Inka Cola!) as well as a snack box! The chocolate was the best part but actually getting food on a domestic flight is always a treat.
So between the 2 hours delay in the terminal and then an hour on the runway, when we got to Cusco, the snack box helped a lot but I was still starving. The airport in Cusco is tiny (though you actually do exit onto a jet-way) the baggage carousel is half inside, half outside. And the touting starts at the airport, but easy to brush off.
Moral: Lan was awesome! I met some people who had taken it from LAX and it sounded really great, with individual screens at each seat (my fav!) but the price is usually a lot more than some other carriers. But when our domestic flight was canceled, which either must happen all the time or we were given sort of special treatment because we were on a tour, they quickly rebooked us on a later flight with no fuss or muss from the client. And besides the delay, the flight was very enjoyable and the employees were nice and all spoke English. I would defiantly look into booking with them on my own to fly with them again.