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flights within South America- assistance please

flights within South America- assistance please

Old Apr 7th, 2019, 06:10 PM
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flights within South America- assistance please

Hi.
We will be visiting South America (Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia) for a few weeks between May and June for the first time. Can't wait!
We have read/heard many tales of flights within the continent that get cancelled/rescheduled inexplicably with no notice and recourse. The airlines that we may be flying with include TAME, LATAM and Amazonas (a Bolivian carrier, I believe).

1) Can anyone with experience with any of these carriers offer any insight (their reputations, safety, reliability, etc)? Should we get tickets directly from the carriers' websites or use an agency?
2) If we should use a travel agent, any suggestions besides Travelocity, Expedia or Skyscanner?
3) Should we purchase travel insurance? We never have.

Any opinions and insight are appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Apr 7th, 2019, 07:15 PM
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Of those countries, I've only traveled to Peru. All of my flights were with LATAM; I booked directly with them. I did experience some delays, but nothing outrageous -- I believe the problem is that the wind currents can create unsafe conditions, and honestly, I'd rather not fly then! The delays I experienced weren't excessive and, in the case of a cancellation, I was always put on the next flight. I would avoid booking the last flight (or two) of the day as that will increase the chances that there are no options.

I always travel with health insurance, making sure I have coverage that includes medical evacuation to a hospital of my choice and, if necessary, repatriation of remains. I do that when I go ANYWHERE. insuremytrip.com is a great site for comparing coverage.

Hope that helps!
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Old Apr 8th, 2019, 10:46 AM
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I have travelled extensively in all three countries and have flown with Latam and Amaszonas but not TAME. Latam have a good reputation for reliability and safety and run a more modern fleet. I would have no hesitation flying with them.

As far as Amaszonas is concerned, you couldn’t pay me to fly with them again!. We flew with them from Rurrenabaque in the Amazon to Sucre via La Paz. in Rurrenabaque it took them three attempts to get the engines started. when we did get going, we skimmed the treetops for miles before eventually climbing up to La Paz. We were delayed in LP for hours and we only realised why when we reached Sucre airport and saw the previous flight had crashed off the side of the runway. BOA are the government owned operator and are not the best, but much better than Amazonas. if you can, I would get a flight with them.

Flights do get delayed for many reasons, high altitude airports, in bad weather, older planes may not be able to take off. In maybe 30 flights around the continent I can only think of one flight (apart from the above example) where the delay has been more than an hour and that was due to a tropical storm in Cartagena, Colombia where all planes were grounded.


I make a point of always booking direct with the airlines, never with travel agencies.


I have a comprehensive annual travel policy which covers me for everything from medical and repatriation to lost luggage, theft, personal injury and delays etc. but then most Europeans wouldn’t dream of travelling without insurance. I have never been able to understand why that is not the case in the USA.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 07:25 AM
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We were in Peru in 2014 and had one long delay getting from Cusco to Lima, but fortunately not so long that missed our flight out of Lima. This year, in Chile and Argentina, we flew LATAM, Aerolineas Argentinas and KLM. We had minor schedule changes regularly before our trip. The only major change was a flight cancellation, where the time of the flight they substituted was actually better for us (that particular flight was Aerolineas Argentinas, which has a reputation for delays and cancellations). We booked all our flights directly with the airlines.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 06:13 PM
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I really liked LATAM but even with them . . .

>>We were in Peru in 2014 and had one long delay getting from Cusco to Lima, but fortunately not so long that missed our flight out of Lima. <<

I had a loooong delay flying from Cusco to Lima too -- I had an 7 hour layover in Lima before my AA flight to Miami. Ended up needing every single minute of it - and AA ended up re-routing me through Dallas instead because of issues with their flight too . . ..
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Old Apr 11th, 2019, 09:52 AM
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My broad experience with national flights in Peru includes exactly the one I had this morning from Lima to Cuzco on LATAM. Airport was busy but clean and orderly, security line was mobbed but only took about 15 or 20 minutes to get through. Signage was good. Gate area clean and comfortable. Boarding was done by seat letter, first window seats, then middle seats, then aisle seats. Good size overhead bins, decent leg room in economy. Flight pushed back a couple minutes ahead of schedule, arrived early as well. Was prepared for turbulence but did not occur. Hope my luck holds for return flight!
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Old Apr 12th, 2019, 01:38 PM
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Even with LATAM (supposedly the best of the bunch) be sure to check and recheck your flights. Often flights are moved and consolidated when it isn't busy. However, it does seem that May is now part of prime time, so maybe less of a risk. Airports in and around the Andes are challenging..that includes Quito, Cusco, La Paz and Uyuni. Lima is only challenged by fog in the summer, and strikes....

I also had a "fun" experience on Amazonas to Uyuni. Not as much fun as crellston, but I wondered which meaning of esperar the pilot was using (wait or hope). As in "I hope that we can land because there are heavy cross winds." or "I am waiting to land because of heavy cross winds". Sometimes you don't want any Spanish comprehension.
See if you can get on BOA instead.

Assume that any flight will be up to an hour late. Fly back to your departure city the day before your international flight home. Don't book expensive tours on an arrival day (eg don't book your train to Machu Picchu on that day you fly into Cusco).
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Old Apr 12th, 2019, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
i also had a "fun" experience on amazonas to uyuni. ... I wondered which meaning of esperar the pilot was using (wait or hope). As in "i hope that we can land because there are heavy cross winds." or "i am waiting to land because of heavy cross winds". Sometimes you don't want any spanish comprehension.
OMG!
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