My Easter Island Trip Wound Up Free!

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I was going to wait until I had trip reports ready to share this story, but I’m still so excited I can’t keep it in — my entire trip to Easter Island wound up free!!

At the very beginning of my trip last weekend, just as I was experiencing American Airlines first class for the first time, my phone rang from an unknown number.

I picked up and it was LAN Airlines. There had been an aircraft switch for the  MIA-SCL segment and there were no longer enough business class seats. Would I take a downgrade?

They offered me ~$2K in LAN credit or $1,000 on cash. It was tempting since I’d only paid $1050 for my ticket, but I was nervous about what seats I’d get in economy. Sitting in a middle seat for an 8 1/2 hour overnight flight wasn’t worth $1,000.

But they said they could give me exit row, bulkhead, they’d even try to get me 2-3 seats all to myself so I could rest. Ok, I was in.  A free flight in mostly business class to Easter Island. That was pretty incredible!!

Once in Miami, I went down to the gate early to see if I’d really been downgraded and if they’d gone through with giving me decent seats (I was really worried about that the entire flight before).

They definitely came through! I had the entire middle row so I’d be able to stretch out and sleep. What was even more exciting was the actual compensation – I could have $2,180 in LAN credit or $1380 transferred to  a credit card. WOW. That basically meant almost the entire trip was free, not just the airfare!! And all for just flying one out of 6 segments in coach.

The 8 ½ hours in coach wasn’t too bad. 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 Business (just missing the socks). 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.

So glad I’d picked up my phone when they called!

Stay tuned for the trip reports on one of the happiest weekends of my life.


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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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