Easter Island: Beginning the Trip of a Lifetime

After successfully completing my Global Entry interview, I headed to Terminal 8 to check in for my flights. The Premium area looked impressive but only had 2 people staffing it.

American Airlines Premium Class Check In JFK

It took a little while to check in, although fortunately I got the lady who was super helpful and not the agent who seemed determined to take issue with everyone checking in.

Once through security (no TSA pre-check yet), my plan was to visit the flagship lounge, so I headed to the Ambassadors Club at the far gates, (wrongly) assuming that was where it was. As I was signing in the person helping me mentioned someone else in the club was also headed to Easter Island. I shouldn’t have been surprised and yet I was :) She also mentioned that as a British Airways Gold I could access the Flagship lounge in the other club, and I, in fact, should consider trying it.

SAM_2225
An hour later it was time to board. My first time in American Airlines First Class and I was quite impressed with the 767 configuration. Lots of under the seat storage and comfortable seats. I don’t think I could have done it internationally (little did I know what was in store for me on the next leg) but domestically it was one of the better experiences I’d had.

American Airlines First Class Welcome Drink
We arrived at Miami early, I walked what felt like 2 miles from the D to J terminal and found the Club America J lounge. They only had one shower, but the wait was short and I was able to take a quick shower to freshen up before the next 14 hours of flying.

America Club J Shower amenities

America Club J Shower

The downgraded Miami-Santiago flight wasn’t bad. 8 ½ hours with three seats to myself was worth the entire trip being free. The food was basic, but I had 3 pillows and blankets, and was able to sleep a couple of hours. And the amenity kit of headphones, sleep mask, and ear plugs was almost as good as the one you get in Premium Business (just missing the socks) daytime flights.

LAN economy amenity kit MIA-SCL

I did wind up with bruises in my arm and rump where the armrests had jutted out, but for $1,380 I could afford to be uncomfortable.

The connection in Santiago was tight. Fortunately I’d already paid the $140 reciprocity fee on a previous trip and sped through immigration in about 20 minutes. Once I cleared agricultural inspections, I booked it to the domestic gates. There were a lot of people in security, but 8 lanes were open and I got through quickly.

Note: Anyone who has also booked this trip – once through customs, take the exit on the far left and head left. Take the first elevator up to the 3rd floor and head right to the very end, following the signs for the domestic gates.

I made it through so quickly that I even had time to stop in the duty free and pick up an opportunistic bottle of Carmenere to drink on my porch at sunset in case the island prices were extravagant.

The flight to Easter Island was in their old business class and quite comfortable, although they only fed us the once for a 5 hour flight, which in the end, wound up making my day a little harder.

LAN old premium business class

LAN premium business class breakfast

As we approached the island we flew over the north end giving me a great view of Anakena beach and Tahai before we landed. Like Moscow, my face was pressed to the glass straining for my first glimpse of statues!!

North End of Easter Island

The airport has one “gate” (not surprising since there’s only one flight a day) and no jetbridge.

Arrival at IPC

Easter Island Airport

Climbing down the stairs with my carry-on (in heels) was a little tough because I was so tired, but I was soon making my way through the tiny open air airport to find my B&B host and start one of the happiest trips I’ve ever taken.

Next Post: Making the Most of an Afternoon

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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