Getting there

Airport information

Aeropuerto Arturo Merino Benítez
, www.aeropuertosantiago.cl
, handles both international and domestic flights, and is the only airport in Chile with intercontinental connections. It is a modern, safe and efficient terminal, recently voted the best airport in Latin America from a sample of 70,000 international businesspeople. Domestic and international flights leave from different sections of the same terminal. Procedures at customs (
aduana
) are quick and efficient.

Check-in time for international flights is two hours before departure, one hour for domestic flights. Some airlines have an online check-in option, after which they require you to be at the airport just 45 minutes before departure. Remember that some airlines require you to reconfirm bookings on international flights 72 hours in advance. Airport
departure tax
applies, as well as occasional fuel surcharges, all of which should be included in the price of the ticket when bought by the traveller.

Prices and discounts

The very busy seasons are 7 December to 15 January (until the end of February for flights within South America) and 10 July to 10 September. If you intend travelling during those times, book as far ahead as possible. From February to May and September to November special offers may be available. Fares vary from airline to airline and according to the time of year. Most airlines offer discounted fares of one sort or another on scheduled flights, and discounted fares are offered through specialist agencies, but always check the reservation with the airline concerned to make sure the flight still exists.

Student (or under 26) fares

Do not assume that student tickets are the cheapest; though they are often very flexible, they can be more expensive than excursion or yearly fares. Some airlines are flexible on the age limit, others are strict.


Open-jaw fares

These are for people intending to travel a linear route, arriving at and departing from different airports. Open jaws are available as student, yearly or excursion fares. Many require a change of plane at an intermediate point, and a stopover may be permitted, or even obligatory, depending on schedules. Simply because a flight stops at a given airport does not mean you can break your journey there; the airline must have traffic rights to pick up or set down passengers between points A and B before it will be permitted. This is where dealing with a specialized agency will really pay dividends. On multi-stop itineraries, the specialized agencies can often save clients hundreds of pounds.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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