LATAM to fly Melbourne-Santiago from October 2017

LATAM to fly Melbourne-Santiago from October 2017

South American airline LATAM has confirmed the launch of non-stop flights between Melbourne and Santiago from October 5, 2017.

The route will will offer the only direct connection between Melbourne and Latin America and see three flights per week on a Boeing 787-9.

LATAM's flight LA804 will depart Melbourne at 7.55pm on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving in Santiago at 7.00pm the same day.

There are scores of onwards flights from Santiago throughout Chile and the region – including direct services to major cities such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogota and Quito – although the 13 hour flight and 7pm arrival may well favour breaking your journey at Santiago.

The LA805 return leg will be wheels-up from Santiago at 12.55pm on Monday, Thursday and Saturday to reach Melbourne at 5.55pm the next day.

PREVIOUS [2 December 2016] | South American airline LATAM will begin non-stop flights between Melbourne and Santiago from October 2017, Australian Business Traveller can exclusively reveal.

Australian Business Traveller understands the flights – tipped to be announced this month by the Oneworld member and Qantas partner – will run three times each week on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

This sports the airline's latest business class seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 layout...

... which convert into a fully-flat bed for the overnight trek.

LATAM already runs a daily Dreamliner flight between Sydney and Santiago, albeit with a stop-over in Auckland (which has proven a popular trans-Tasman option for business travellers), however the new Melbourne service will soar straight through to the Chilean capital in around 12 hours.

Travellers from Melbourne will have access to Qantas' first class and business class lounges, with a split-level flagship LATAM lounge at Santiago ahead of the return journey...

... offering a well-stocked bar...

… and a dedicated sleeping room for weary travellers arriving early for their flight or riding out a long international transit.

Photos: new Santiago lounge for LAN, TAM, Qantas passengers

Approached for comment by Australian Business Traveller, a spokesperson for the airline said "LATAM Airlines Group continues to explore opportunities to expand its presence within the Oceania region to provide our passengers with more choice and more flexibility, however we cannot comment on any new routes at the current time."

Qantas also flies non-stop four days each week between Sydney and Santiago, while Air New Zealand offers four flights a week between Auckland and Buenos Aires with connecting flights from Australia.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

19 Comments

  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    2 Dec, 2016 02:37 pm

    One of those times Melbourne gets a superior (in this case, direct) service to Sydney.
    However, I wouldn't be upset if it stopped at Easter Island, you know, just so you don't have to back track to an awesome tourist attraction.
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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    2 Dec, 2016 03:19 pm

    I think that would then defeat the purpose of a direct flight between MEL and SCL
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  • Andrew Karigan

    akarigan

    2 Dec, 2016 08:11 pm

    You can fly from Melbourne or Sydney to Tahiti on Qantas and then connect to a LATAM flight from Tahiti to Easter Island... the same plane then goes onto Santiago.  You can try this if you do not want to back track from Santiago the 5 hour flight to Easter Island.  I took the Latam flight in business class roundtrip from Santiago to Easter Island and was impressed with the seat type and service.  Full flat bed seats for the 5 hour flight.  We had just flown into Santiago the night before from Los Angeles and had just a little rest at the hotel so the flat bed was very well-received and used.  I highly recommend Easter Island... I stayed at the Noi Hotel which was highly rated and offered daily tours included in the room rate.  Santiago is good for 2 nights and then go onto Argentina and Uruguay if you have time... Mendoza (wine region), Barriloche (mountains and lakes - beautiful), Buenos Aires (stay in the Palermo Viejo or Palermo SoHo neighbourhood - I quite liked the HOME Hotel) and then take the high speed ferry to Montevideo, Uruguay or fly directly to Punta del Este, Uruguay and stay at either Bahia Vik Hotel or Playa Vik Hotel in the Jose Ignacio area.... be sure not to miss La Huella Restaurant in Jose Ignacio.  I spent over 3 weeks on this trip and absolutely loved it all.  Then there is Brazil... Trancoso is purely amazing... Casa Uxua Hotel !!   Enjoy!  
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    2 Dec, 2016 02:39 pm

    I thought there was a four engine policy with those flights which was the reason for the AKL stopover from SYD? Maybe I'm confusing it with Johannesburg. 
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  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    2 Dec, 2016 02:45 pm

    You're right, you need four engines to fly the most optimal route to J'burg.
    You can do it with two engines, and Virgin did for a little while, but you have to fly a longer route that keeps you within 3 hours of an adequate landing site.
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  • AlexT

    AlexT

    2 Dec, 2016 02:51 pm

    But based on what I knew, you needed 4 engines to fly the most optimal route to Santiago as well right? 
    So the question is has LATAM be accredited with 330 minutes ETOPS or are they flying an uneconomical route?
    Hopefully we'll find out :P
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  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    2 Dec, 2016 03:23 pm

    Not sure...if their regulator carbon-copies FAA then they probably have 330 ETOPS. I was under the impression they had it.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    2 Dec, 2016 04:17 pm

    MEL-DFW, MEL-SCL, SYD-SCL and SYD-AKL-SCL all cross into areas where beyond ETOPS 180 is needed for optimal route (discounting winds).
    240 would cover MEL-DFW. 330 is needed for the others.

    http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=mel-dfw%2Cmel-scl%2Cscl-akl-syd%2Cscl-syd&MS=wls&DU=mi&E=180&E=240&EV=410&EU=kts (Great Circle routes with ETOPS 180 and 240 areas highlighted)

    CASA has no say in ETOPS ratings given to LATAM. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Chile) and National Civil Aviation Agency (Brazil) do.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Dec, 2016 01:43 am

    @Himeno:
    "CASA has no say in ETOPS ratings given to LATAM.."
    Are U sure?

    If what U claimed is true, FAA /EASA would hv no authority to 'black-list'(They did that) carriers like PR and GA and restrict/ban them fm flying into their regulated territories(i.e. U.S. and EU) in recent yrs(bans hv been lifted since then) due to op safety-related concerns.

    ETOPS std is highly connected to op safety and is a classic turf of an aviation regulator.
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  • AlexT

    AlexT

    2 Dec, 2016 02:44 pm

    So if that means LATAM can fly direct B787-9 on CASA ETOPS certification so can Qantas right?
    That's goodbye to the Queen of the Skies :(
    I'm happy to be corrected though 
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  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    2 Dec, 2016 02:47 pm

    I reckon you're right. I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of the earlier routes that Qantas deploys 787s to.
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  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    2 Dec, 2016 02:53 pm

    Qantas is under the jurisdiction of CASA, while LATAM is not, and i have not heard of CASA extending ETOPS for Australian owned aircraft. 
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  • moa999

    moa999

    2 Dec, 2016 03:17 pm

    Puts a lot of pressure on CASA though to extend ETOPS for QF.. After-all LA has been successfully operating 788 and 789s on SCL-AKL for some time.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Dec, 2016 01:32 am

    @Angus Conventry:
    "Qantas is under the jurisdiction of CASA, while LATAM is not.."
    I thought LA will also be under the jurisdiction of CASA by virtue of LA operating into AU territory(By the same token, QF will also be under the jurisdiction of Chilean aviation authority on SYD-SCL route).  In short, each operator on an int'l route is under the jurisdictions of @ least 2 regulators, 1 fm home country + 1 fm destination country.

    So my burning question is how can CASA approve this route by LA given that the plan is to fly it with a twin but the most direct airway/path involves ETOPS beyond 180(No such op std even exists @ CASA let alone regulating such ops)?

    May be LA's 787 op will select airway to be as close to ZQN or CHC as possible(despite detouring) to remain within ETOPS180?  The approval is mysterious.
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  • drgmarshall

    drgmarshall

    2 Dec, 2016 02:54 pm

    I've never been to South America; or Chile specifically. I do a lot of business flying - Asia, US and Europe. And tend to do family holidays with wife and 2 young teens (girls) to those places also. So, here's the Question. Anyone have experience of a family type 2-3 week holiday in Santiago and wider Chile? Is there stuff to do and decent hotels or resorts. Any recommendations?
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    2 Dec, 2016 04:08 pm

    Actually, SCL is quite a cosmopolitan city - although unlike Buenos Aires, where English is spoken by about a quarter of the population - a smattering of Spanish will definitely come in handy. The area around the CBD and University Catolica is primarily the centre. This city is relatively flat and nestled at the base of the Andes. Great shopping and architectural sightseeing around Huerfanos. Nightclub life is a walk across the river, as is the Funicular and the Santiago Zoo. Interesting markets (ferriea) around the train station and University.

    The city is somewhat conservative - and quite safe for wandering around at most times of the day. Chileans - I guess because of their isolation during the Pinochet rule - are fascinated with international visitors and are keen to hear about your living / life experiences. Very friendly.

    Hotels range from 2 star up to 5 star (Neruda and Sheraton are both excellent), are generally quite affordable and are very clean. Day trips outside Santiago are a delight - skiing in the mountains, wine trips, estancias to see guachos. Also well worthwhile are day trips to Valparaiso (home of Pablo Neruda) and the beach resorts of Vina del Mar. To the north, the Atacama Desert is fascinating but requires 2 days.

    Two things to remember :

    1. Reciprocal Entry Fee on landing for Australians.

    2. Don't photograph military installations (even the gorgeous army, airforce, navy headquarters in the city) as it is forbidden under Chilean law. You'll see 'No Photo' streetsigns where appropriate.

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  • Alan46

    alan46

    3 Dec, 2016 12:21 pm

    I mainly concur with kimshep and dravid74 but would add the following, based on having lived in Chile for three years back in the late 70

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  • drgmarshall

    drgmarshall

    4 Dec, 2016 04:23 am

    Thank you. Very nice of you.
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  • dravid74

    dravid74

    2 Dec, 2016 07:34 pm

    Agree with everything kimshep has said
    Chile is a fantastic and slightly underrated holiday destination. its more expensive than most of its neighbours but still much less than europe/USA
    Great launching point to so many great countries e.g peru/ecuador

    Highly recommend the atacama.... you won't ever see a night sky like it. breathtaking.
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  • grov

    grov

    2 Dec, 2016 03:22 pm

    Once there, you're only a few short flights away from other awesome places such as Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines, Gal
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    2 Dec, 2016 04:32 pm

    Or .. a two hour flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina or a 3.5 hour flight to Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
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  • Nick Sydney 2

    neiljeram

    2 Dec, 2016 03:27 pm

    Great looking lounge in Santiago 
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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    2 Dec, 2016 03:36 pm

    Good work, LATAM!

    This will be good for Melbourne, although I admit I thought LATAM would rather use 787-8s for the route (easier to fill). I guess if they're going in with 787-9s they see a lot of untapped demand.

    Perhaps, if CASA decides to be reasonable and allow QF to use 787-9s on the Santiago routes, LATAM will downgauge to 787-8s.

    Interestingly, LATAM's product and QF's are slightly different from each other - in Economy they're roughly the same (although presumably QF has better food and service but I wouldn't know), but QF has a Premium Economy and LATAM just has an Extra Legroom Economy/Economy Space Plus type option, so that would lead to a slightly different market segmentation. And QF has a Business Class with direct aisle access (and probably better food/service too), so that would probably result in a different market segmentation also. That, plus the fact they're both in Oneworld, would suggest they're not direct competitors per se (although clearly they aren't in a joint venture together either... perhaps we should describe them as being in 'coopetition' with each other). 
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    2 Dec, 2016 03:44 pm

    Ignoring the product differentiation, most people I know would choose QF even now and go via Sydney. I'd imagine their market share will come from cheaper fares rather than added convenience of MEL departure for locals. QF has the better safety record and more trusted name so I'd imagine little transition from business and wealthy customers who'd rather stick with the flying kangaroo. 
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  • hutch

    hutch

    2 Dec, 2016 04:54 pm

    Agree that its great work by LATAM and good for MEL... but why don't we just wait and see what LATAM does, what QF does and CASA does? So much speculation, that doesn't really achieve much at all.

    Anyway, QF does not have direct aisle access to SCL. 
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Dec, 2016 01:55 am

    @StudiodeKadent:
    "QF has a Business Class with direct aisle access.."
    Not exactly and firmly not now.

    QF does hv that product but none available/installed currently on any type in its fleet capable to operate MEL-SCL in an econ sustainable manner(e.g. blocking 50-100seats on a 332 in order to lighten payload /extend range is econ unsustainable).

    J class with direct aisle access by QF for MEL-SCL will hv to wait till 2018 @ the earliest AFTER the 1st 789 join QF fleet and accumulated sufficient routine op 'warm up'.....
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  • aniljak

    aniljak

    2 Dec, 2016 05:35 pm

    LATAM will have this route to themselves. Qantas aren't interested as it doesn' serve Sydney!Qantas won't even have enough 787s for years so will probably code share and then boast about how they are providing a new service from Melbourne! LATAM has developed a great reputation over last few years for service. Good luck to them
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  • Alan Su

    alansu

    2 Dec, 2016 05:41 pm

    Having flown both LA and QF between SYD/SCL in J, I must say I prefer LA's 789 over the QF 747.. whilst neither have direct aisle access the Dreamliner felt more spacious and comfortable. I guess you don't get the 'private jet' feeling as you do on the 747 upper deck though..

    The LA staff were also attentive and catering were quite good - not on par with QF but they are improving. Not to mention the fares are a lot cheaper ;-)
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    2 Dec, 2016 06:07 pm

    I also prefer the 787 comfort wise in J but again reputation plays a big role in choosing a carrier so whilst they'll gain some pax through cheap pricing, safety and other considerations will limit that. 
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    3 Dec, 2016 03:06 am

    @ajstubss:
    "..whilst they'll gain some pax through cheap pricing, safety...will limit that."
    I didn't know LA has a reputation for unsafe ops(fm what U've implied)....absolutely new knowledge to me and quite diff/opposite of what I understand(At least relative to QF).  Care to share your insights re the safety history of LA that "will limit that"?  Or are we actually entering the preconceived notion territory about which airline is safe and which airline is not?

    "and other considerations"
    What other considerations are limiting LA but not QF?

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  • Shingi Sa

    davidzuo

    2 Dec, 2016 10:02 pm

    I have just noticed on Flightradar24 that VN now uses B789 on MEL and SYD routes to/from Vietnam. Googled and found no updates on the aforementioned, very quiet "inaugural" indeed!  
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  • Looking

    Looking

    3 Dec, 2016 06:51 pm

    VN have used the 787 for sometime down to Australia. It can be combined with the A350 equipment for a great value fare to Europe. AusBT has articles.
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  • Marcus

    desafinado74

    2 Dec, 2016 11:26 pm

    Has anyone managed to redeem a LATAM award J ticket by using AA Miles ?
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  • randompunter

    randompunter

    7 Dec, 2016 06:33 pm

    Yep booked a J ticket SCL - SYD for May 2017. I actually rang them about a QF J that was showing on their website but wouldn't ticket and they suggested the LA flight instead. I think the LA availability did show on the BA site but can't remember 100%.
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  • Looking

    Looking

    3 Dec, 2016 07:01 pm

    In addition to the new direct flight from Melbourne, Santiago airport has the benefit of being relatively compact. Making it easy to disembark and then make your onward connection with almost no chance of getting lost. SCL is a great hub, with new BA services giving the option of using it as a non typical route to get from Oz to London.
    Food and drink options are basic in the public areas - just below that of a shopping centre foodcourt - chains / processed foods / little to no fresh food.
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  • AlexTravAddict

    AlexTravAddict

    4 Dec, 2016 07:38 am

    This is great news for Melbournians.


    I

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  • CBR boy

    CBR boy

    5 Dec, 2016 03:13 pm

    Thank you AlexTravAddict for the very helpful warning about travelling with the TAM part of LATAM!
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  • AlexTravAddict

    AlexTravAddict

    5 Dec, 2016 01:46 am

    I've just noticed these flights are already on sale, and unfortunately it is not good news for people connecting to other South American cities. The outbound flight leaves Melb 19:55 and arrives in Santiago 19:00. My experience is many people fly to Santiago to connect onto other South American cities. This means a 01:15 arrival into Sao Paulo (and presumably a early morning arrival into most South American cities). Sao Paulo is not exactly the most welcoming city to arrive into during the early hours of the morning. This is a big fail as far as I am concerned and my preference would still be to fly Melb-Syd-Santiago with Qantas. The alternative is to stay the night in Santiago but the $117US entry fee is a complete turn off. Times that by two passengers and add the cost of an airport hotel and a stopover in Santiago will add $500 to your trip. Also, the connection time to Sao Paulo is quite tight. What if the flight is one hour late and you miss the connection? The next flight isn't until the next morning. Does that mean you have to stay the night in Santiago and pay the $117US entry fee?

    The inbound flight leaves Santiago at 12:55 and arrives in Melbourne 17:55. This is similar to Qantas' Sydney flight, but means a very early connection if connecting from another South American city. You would need to leave Sao Paulo at 08:05 meaning you probably need to arrive at the airport around 06:00 which means you would probably be heading to the airport at 05:00. No thanks! I would prefer sticking to LATAMs Santiago-Auckland flight which leaves at midnight.

    I was really excited by this announcement but these departure times are terrible and I don't see myself booking on these routes even if they are the most direct.  
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  • newbieADL

    newbieADL

    5 Dec, 2016 08:55 am

    Hi Alex - where did you see this? Unfortunately your photo below isn't loading.

    I would tend to agree with you, in regards to the timings not being ideal. I'd be looking at this flight as an alternative option to connect to S
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  • AlexTravAddict

    AlexTravAddict

    5 Dec, 2016 11:17 am

    Hi Newbie. I did a search on the LATAM website Melb-SP (set your country to Australia). Departing Melb 20 October. Returning 26 October.
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  • newbieADL

    newbieADL

    5 Dec, 2016 01:43 pm

    Thank you, I can also see a banner on their website officially announcing the pricing. 

    Seems cheap too! ~$5k J return vs ~$10k J return on QF (dummy booking MEL > SCL, J, 20/10/17 - 26/10/17)
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  • chap6595

    chap6595

    5 Dec, 2016 02:05 pm

    Do we think that Qantas will fill in the Gaps and do 4 Flights a week, so there is a 7 day coverage between Melbourne and Santiago? Are they Codesharing?
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    5 Dec, 2016 05:00 pm

    BNE next for LATAM hopefully
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  • Phillip Maguire

    Felipe

    18 May, 2017 09:42 pm

    Perhaps I am old fashioned, but on this type of long-haul route being so far SOUTH across the Pacific, I personally feel much more assured of flying in a 4 engine aircraft, such as a 747 or A380, or even on the A340.   No amount of convincing me otherwise will change my inner gut feeling.    I don't mind twin engine if the distances weren't so great, or more places to actually land if the unexpected happens.   But the southern Pacific between Australia/New Zealand to South America,  is a very VERY  lonely place.
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17 Dec, 2017 01:10 pm

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