With the GRU airport near-disaster fresh in my mind, I left plenty of time to get to EZE. I made it to the airport early, checked in and strolled around the shops for a bit. This was decidedly more pleasant than my last experience leaving EZE.
During that 2011 visit to Buenos Aires, I had started to feel a bit sick a day or two before my departure. In those days, before I got my tonsils out, I used to frequently get strep throat. Of course, as soon as I got to EZE to board my 11-hour flight home, I started to feel a fever coming on, and my tonsils swelling up. Not many things are less appealing than the prospect of being very ill while trapped in a pressurized metal tube for over 10-hours.
In that particular instance, I took some paracetamol, and I didn’t become particularly ill or feverish on the plane. Everything worked out ok, but the dread and anxiety while waiting for boarding wasn’t super.
This time it was a much more pleasant experience, I was well rested, healthy and excited to be on my way to a new country.
Unfortunately, the lounges at EZE are all still lousy. I had been to the AA lounge on my last swing through EZE, but in wandering the terminal then, I had seen that the United Club was no great shakes either, so I was prepared.
Still, there was free wifi, so I managed to while away the time until boarding. In addition to this being my first trip to Chile, it would be only my second trip on an Air Canada widebody aircraft. I had flown an Air Canada Boeing 777 from YUL to CDG in June (2012), but this would be my first leg on an Air Canada 767-300ER.
While the layout in Business on the wider 777’s is 1-2-1, the J seats are laid out 1-1-1 on AC’s 767 fleet. The A and K seat’s face the middle of the cabin and the middle seats face the K seats. I selected an A seat for maximum privacy.
I rather like the AC hard product, and consider it to be a superior offering to most of what the U.S. Flag carriers provide in business.
This was another short hop, and there was absolutely nothing notable about this flight. The meal service was all at once on a tray.
On the descent into SCL there was some very cool scenery as we flew over the mountains.
After landing, I got the feeling that I had set down somewhere at the end of the Earth. The airport was totally dead, and I could hear our steps echo in the hallways as we went towards immigration. As a first time visitor to Chile, I had to go to a kiosk and pay a fee. The person working the desk then stapled a piece of paper to the inside of my passport and stamped it indicating I had paid or had permission or something.
After that transaction, I had to go to proper immigration to get another stamp before entering the country.
The airport at SCL is spotless and very nice. With my bags in hand, I went out front to find a taxi and was baffled to find that there seemed to be absolutely no private cabs. The only option was to get in a shared, group van taxi.
This of course led to me being the last person dropped off, as the other patrons were locals, and I don’t speak Spanish. However, this wasn’t a bad thing, as I got to see more of the city from the road, and some neighborhoods.
When the second to last patron alighted, the driver suddenly feigned surprise that I wanted to go to the Grand Hyatt, claiming we had driven past it earlier. I told him it was no problem, and just to take me over.
Most of the day was gone by the time I got to the hotel, but it was a pleasant trip in.
AIR CANADA 767-300ER J SEAT/CABIN PHOTOS: