by Matt McMillan.
Many travellers are surprised at the cost of internal flights in South America. It’s surprising to many people to find that flights in South America are so expensive however there are good options to save money. One good option to consider is the LAN & TAM Airlines which has recently had some important changes. The airpass used to be accessible to people arriving with a selection of airlines such as Qantas however in recent months this has changed so the airpass is only accessible to someone arriving or departing South America on a flight with a LAN Airlines flight number (ie LA 800). You can arrive on a Qantas operated flight as long as it has a LAN flight number however the opposite is not eligible. For example if you book an international flight with Qantas but the flight is operated by LAN (ie QF 321) then you will not be able to access the discounted airpass rates.
The airpass also used to be available to any travel agent, however LAN have also scaled this back so that the airpass can only be purchased via a select list of South American specialists like Eclipse Travel. The airpass can only be purchased combined with international tickets and tour arrangements.
In terms of the savings available on an airpass these range for a small amount up to savings of around 50% on internal flights so it’s certainly worth considering. LAN (route map here) and TAM (route map here) also have by far the most extensive coverage of flights in South America so on any itinerary you are likely to be using them at some stage. The prices of the airpass can only be worked out accurately in a flight system like Galileo or Amadeus and consists of a fare for each sector (ie Buenos Aires to Lima) plus taxes and any applicable surcharges charged by the airline or airport which often make up a large portion of the fare. The airpass is not available on all seats, we must find a specific class of fare in order to apply the discounted prices so the best idea is to decide where you want to go and we can quote the pass for you.
Furthermore if you have already booked your international airfare and are not arriving with LAN Airlines then we can certainly investigate a range of options to help keep your internal flight price down. Sometimes changing the itinerary order can help with this however in our opinion it’s always worth looking at internal flights prior to booking your international flight as it can make a big difference to the overall price. Contact us here with your details (number of passengers, arrival flight details, dates etc) and we’ll be happy to assist.