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Easter Island (a.k.a Rapa Nui) belongs to Chile country and it is one of the remote locations to fly into. Going from North America, you will have to go through Santiago Chile to get to the Easter Island. To make matter worse, airfare from Santiago to Easter Island is outrageously high. LATAM airline exclusively operates this route and unless you use partner miles to book LATAM flights, one-way ticket can be more expensive than a round-trip tickets when it comes to the revenue tickets.
With that being said, we were looking for tricks to get to the Easter Island with reasonable airfare from Santiago. Throughout our research, we came across an awesome trick to purchase the ticket at a great price round-trip from Santiago to Easter Island, and it is even booked in a Business Class seat. LATAM operates their new amazing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on this route, so it’s a great opportunity to try out the product. The price for the business class ticket is actually just a little bit more than economy class ticket, but you have to be aware of a few things to do this trick.
|LATAM 787-9 From Santiago to Easter Island|
Steps to Get Started
Step 1: Head to Google Flights.
Step 2: Plug in your itinerary airports round-trip and then look at the calendar to determine the dates that have the cheap fare. From our search as example, it shows $344 for a round-trip tickets in economy class.
|Price in Economy Class|
Step 3: Change the class from Economy to Business class. The price jumps to $453 for the exact same ticket. As you can see, the difference in price is only $109. For that amount to experience the LATAM’s 787 business class seat in almost 5 hours, yes please. Please also note that this price is just for an example, you may be able to find even lower price based on the dates of travel.
|Price in Business Class|
What is the Catch?
The catch is, the low fare that you are seeing is actually for Chile residents. Google Flight does a good job at telling you this:
Local price subject to Chile regulations: $454
Local price subject to United States regulations: $1,136
|Different Fares Based On Country|
As you can see, the price subject to US regulations is outrageously high. No wonder US travelers think how expensive it is to fly to the Easter Island, but that’s because they do not know about the following trick.
What is the Trick?
Note down the dates from Google Flights and head over to LATAM airlines website with Google Chrome or whichever browser that can perform translation. Once there, make sure the country on the page is “Chile” or try go directly to this link. The page will be displayed all in Spanish. If you access the site in the US location, the site will automatically pick the country based on where you are at, in this case it is United States. So change that to Chile and use the browser to translate the page to English. Start searching for the flights based on the dates that you want, you will see the low local price for Chile residents in their currency CLP. Continue and finalize the booking process as you normally do when you book a plane ticket.
Will you get in Trouble?
This is not a jail time type of trouble. There are some data points that you may be asked to pay for the differences in price subject to United States at the airport if the agent at the airport’s check-in desk determines that your ticket is not eligible for the price subject to Chile. This only happens if you interact with LATAM’s agent at the airport’s check-in counter. So to avoid that, do everything in your power without talking to them on the phone especially at the airport’s check-in counter. We live in the 21st century that everything can be do-it-yourself type of era. Here are some suggestions:
- Do not go to the airport’s check-in desk unless you absolutely need to such as an emergency type of situation.
- Easter Island is considered “domestic” travel within Chile country, so no LATAM agent is going to ask for your passport until boarding time at the gate. If you go to the airport’s check-in desk, they will ask for your passport in order to issue you a boarding pass, and if they see you are not Chile resident they *may* demand you to pay for the fare differences that’s subject to your country. Your mileage may vary.
- Use Manage Booking online to select seats.
- Check-in through mobile to get mobile boarding pass, or check-in online and print out the boarding pass (find a printer somewhere if you are traveling, pay for the service if you must).
- Don’t rely on the self-service check-in kiosks at the airport to get the boarding pass. Santiago airport is probably okay but at the Easter Island airport (Isla de Pascua airport IPC), the kiosks were out of order when we were there. The Isla de Pascua airport is not as developed as the Santiago airport. So just to be safe, assume that the airport kiosks are not available for boarding passes.
- Do not check bags. You are flying in business class, lots of overhead bins are available.
- Easter Island also requires visitors to fill out an entry form before entering. The form is checked at the Santiago airport by the officials before you can go to the gate to board the plane. You can fill that form online and print it out to show it to the officials at the airport. The form is also available at the airport’s check-in desk when the agent verifies your passport and gives you your boarding pass, but avoid all that together! For more information on the online entry form, this blog does a good job on explaining the entry requirements to Easter Island.
Based on our experience, mobile boarding pass or print-out boarding pass got us through the security and boarding gate just fine without interacting with a single LATAM airlines agent. No one stopped us or asked us to pay any fare differences at that point. At the boarding gate, the gate’s agent only verified our boarding passes and our passports, then let us walk onto the plane with no questions asked!
Last but not least, business class tickets will also accrue good amount of miles. LATAM has a few partners that include Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, etc. so you can deposit the miles into the program that you prefer if you feel that there’s no good use of crediting them to LATAM’s own frequent flyer program.