Monday 31 July 2023

Airport Lounge Review: LATAM VIP Lounge at Santiago De Chile (SCL)

 Welcome to my Airport Lounge Review on LATAM's Lounge Santiago! 



Introduction 

I took advantage of LATAM's low fare on the business class one-way trip from Santiago (SCL) to Bogota (BOG), I decided that I need to do this now rather then later. I have a few options on this route. I could either fly direct from SCL to BOG or fly with a one-stop to BOG and since there is no difference in the airfare, I decided to choose the one-stop option, a stop-over at Lima (LIM). My original plan was to stay at the Holiday Inn hotel between the 2 terminals at SCL Airport. However, the expensive room rates (US$200) per night has made think whether it's worth paying so much just for a few hours of sleep. Later on, I found out that this new lounge has a sleeping area and eligible passengers are allowed to stay longer at the lounge as long you hold a Premium Business Class ticket or have a status with the airline’s LATAM Pass or it’s partners’s mileage program for flights departing less than 24 hours. I decided to check out the lounge and planned to catch some rest over there. The only worry I have is I might not be allowed to collect my boarding pass at the transit transfer and that means my time at the lounge would be cut short. Thankfully everything went well. 

My flight from AEP with Aerolineas Argentinas arrived at 2100 hours and my next flight was at 0830 hours, that means about 11 and a half hours to enjoy the lounge. The transit counter of LATAM airlines was opened and I had no issues getting my boarding pass, I went over to the lounge and thankfully, I was allowed to enter and manage to enjoy it until boarding time. There is also another reason why I chose not to enter the country is because at that time I wasn't sure whether selected passengers are still being randomly picked to take a Covid arrival test and I didn't want to risk the possibility of being picked and the worst scenario happened. Besides I will be spending 2 nights at this city later on.

About the lounge 

This LATAM Lounge Santiago was opened in the 2nd Quarter of 2022 with the location at the airside of the airport's new international terminal 2 building. This international terminal opened in February 2022 and I am very fortunate to be able to visit it about a year after its opening. This lounge is opened for international travellers and consists of 3 sections. The name of the 3 sections are Signature Lounge (For the VIP), Premium Lounge and the Worldmember lounge. According to the Vice President of the LATAM Group, Paulo Miranda, he mentioned that the group will continue to give the different group of passengers a choice to choose whatever experience they like before departure, changes and innovations of the new lounge are being promoted to create a space that shows off the best of the region and for everyone to enjoy whatever they like in the lounge. 

This lounge is the largest in South America, measuring over 4,000 square metres and it replaced the former lounge at Terminal 1. 

For more details of the lounge, you can visit Simplyflying's article over here.

How to get to the lounge? 

Once you are cleared to enter the airside, turn left and look out for the signboard of LATAM's VIP lounge, it is just a few minutes walk from the security checkpoint. Do note that this lounge is located at Terminal 2. Terminal 1 and 2 are not connected as both airports are used for domestic and international flights respectively. 

You can find the signboard just outside the California Pizza Kitchen. Follow it and you find the escalator leading to the lounge. 


The location of the lounge (Photo: Official SCL Airport's website) 


That is how convenient the location of this lounge, of course you need to check where your gate is at and make sure you have enough time to reach the gate. 

The lounge is located at level 4, a floor above the departure hall (airside). Take the escalator or lift up to level 4 and you will be walking through this passageway the lounge. (below).
                       

It is very strange to see the fire equipment just below the signboard of the lounge. 


Let's go to the lounge! 


There are 3 entrances to the lounges and my boarding pass allowed me to access 2 lounges, the Premium Lounge (For Premium Business passengers and High-Tier Elites) and the WorldMember Lounge (For Mid-Tier Elites, credit card holder and general public (pay to use). For the Signature Lounge, it is accessible only for VIPS. (July 2023) - Please correct me if my information is incorrect, thanks! 

I went to the Premium lounge as it was opened for 24 hours, the World Member lounge was closing soon and I didn't want to be left stranded just in case I wasn't allow into the Premium lounge after visiting the first. Besides this lounge is better as it has both showers and resting area which I needed at that time.


This Premium lounge is opened 24 hours and once you get the green light to enter the lounge, you can enjoy the facilities but do remember to keep track of your flight’s departure time as announcement of flights will not be made.

My experience

The nice staff offered to show me around in the Premium Lounge of LATAM and she went out all the way to explain some details to me, a big thank you to her! 

I am amazed by the size of the lounge. It is by far the biggest I have been so far. However, when I tried to log into the lounge's WiFi, I couldn't do so. I guess it was down for this period of time, that was the only minus point from this experience. Anyway, I came into the lounge at the right time as there wasn't many passengers and I manage to find a vacant bed at the resting area and booked myself a shower (you need to ask the staff). First thing I did was to refresh myself before grabbing some bite. Fortunately I had some data on my phone so I surfed net for a short while before resting. 

I guess I was tired as I slept for 5 hours without interruption. It was a comfortable bed and the partition does help to block out the noise so there is some privacy at the resting area. The choices of food was good and there is even a bar to order alcoholic drink. I decided to just grab my food and drink at the buffet counter and enjoyed my late supper and breakfast. The good thing is there is no time limit and no one came to check my boarding pass. I hanged around until 5.30 before I left the lounge for my gate. To be continued on my next trip report, flying with LATAM's Business Class Part 1 (Old Cabin). 

Facilities (Premium Lounge) 

- Lockers for hand luggage 

- Sleeping areas 

- Areas dedicated to family and children 

- Showers 

- Buffet service with Latin American cuisine 

- Complimentary wifi including wireless charging 

- Seats with charging ports 

- An open bar containing many different types of alcohol (Spoilt for choices over here) 

- Work space (to catch up on your work) 

- Shoes polishing service 

- Ironing service 

Inside the lounge 

There are many seating areas for you to choose from. Personally I like the interior, finding it to be comfortable for short layover. 


This was my resting area and I was able to catch about 5 hours of sleep. 


The wall socket and usb charging point. 



A bottle of water, eye cover and ear plugs are provided. 


I was able to charge my Apple devices during my rest. Do take care of your belongings while resting especially if you are travelling alone. 


Once a passenger leaves the resting area, the staff would come clean up and prepare the resting area for the next passenger. 


The shower room is available upon request. I was lucky that the room was available immediately.



Suitable for families to enjoy each other's company. 


This is the dining room and I sat around here to enjoy the food offering from the buffet counter. 


The bar offers a good variety of alcoholic drinks 


This is what the lounge offered at the buffet counter. 


Dessert bar 


Orange Juice, anyone?



There were warm food available, but at that hour, the choices were limited. 

  

This was my supper. I had my favourite gingle ale served together with the selected food I picked from the counter. 


Dessert after a decent meal. 


I enjoyed myself in this lounge. 


There is plenty of food available at different parts of the lounge.


Coffee machines are available in the lounge.  


Dessert and light snack bar 


Work space


Wireless charging 


Juan Valdez Coffee is very popular in South America, I highly recommend it. 


This was my breakfast. I had the Juan Valdez's coffee to start off the day. 


It was weird to have ice cream at breakfast time, but I went ahead with it. 


Overall I was satisfied with my breakfast. 



This is the TV room (below) 



Children's room 


One last look at the lounge 


Checking my flight, there was another LATAM flight to Lima leaving around the same time, that flight was operated by an Airbus A320 (LP2378) and would return here. While for my flight (LA534), it would depart for LAX after arrival at Lima Airport. 


Once I was fully rested and fed, I was ready to depart for my next flight. 


Back to the terminal. I decided to walk around to burn some calories so that I can prepare myself for breakfast on board. 



To be continued! 

My rating: 

Location of Lounge: 5/5 
Service: 5/5 
Lounge interior: 5/5
Selection of food and beverages: 3.5/5
WiFi: 0/5 
Shower: 5/5
Resting area: 5/5
Overall rating: 28.5/35 
Percentage: 81%

Conclusion 

As an Economy Class regular, visiting this lounge is something different from my usual flying adventure. I cannot make this a habit (Flying Business Class) otherwise I won't be able to fly as many flights as I like. Anyway, about the lounge, I am impressed with the interior and the facilities it offers. For a short stay, I think it is worth a visit to spend some time to rest, grab some food or do some work. I recommend this lounge to anyone who is eligible to pay this place a visit. You can also pay to use the lounge but that is subjected to availability. If the lounge is crowded, you might not be allowed to enter. 

Overall I had a good rest and enjoyed the food and beverages. The downside of my experience was the non-working WiFi. That is important especially when one has work to settle. I hope the next time I return there, it is working. If I do return, I hope to pay a visit to the other lounge. 

Hope you enjoy this short review. 

For my previous trip report (Aerolineas Argentinas AEP-SCL 737-800), click here
For my (LATAM 787-8 J Class Trip report SCL-LIM) trip report, click here

Thanks for reading! 
Charles 

2 comments:

  1. Great review! Glad you enjoyed the lounge at scl airport, my hometown! Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Diego! It is certainly one of the nicest lounges out there.

    ReplyDelete