Qantas Is Putting Santiago Back On Its Route Map

Qantas is gearing up to return to its sole South American destination, Santiago. Nearly one year after beginning to ramp up its international network following its 2020 shutdown, Qantas has timetabled flights on the Sydney – Santiago city pair to coincide with the start of the northern 2022/23 winter flying season.

Three times a week to Santiago from October 31

The thrice-weekly flights utilizing Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft will begin on October 31. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, QF27 will push back from Sydney (SYD) at the very civilized hour of 12:35 for the 13-hour and 30-minute hop across to Santiago (SCL), landing there at 11:05 on the same. You could have an early lunch in Sydney and a late lunch in Santiago – all on the same day! And with a bite or two inflight in between.

SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY

After a couple of hours on the ground in SCL, the Dreamliner turns around to operate QF28 back to Sydney on the same day. QF28 departs Santiago at 13:30 for a next day arrival into Sydney at 17:50. While the Qantas Dreamliner offers a relatively comfortable flight, especially for those passengers tucked away in the 28-seat premium economy and 42-seat business class cabin, Qantas still isn’t offering WiFi (paid or otherwise) across its international fleet. Thirteen-plus hours of zero connectivity could be a blessing or a curse – depending on your point of view.

Qantas Dreamliner replaces the Boeing 747-400 on the Santiago route

Still, the typically amiable Qantas service and free-flowing Shaw and Smith should help passengers along the way. This route, which got the chop when Qantas grounded its international flying in late March 2020, was the preserve of the Boeing 747-400. Qantas had flagged replacing the jumbo jet with the smaller Dreamliner before the pandemic, but it was to be an orderly transition.

Instead, like a death in the family, the Qantas Boeing 747-400 was at Santiago Airport one day in March 2020, then took off and was never to be seen there again. Qantas’ slowness in restoring its flights to South America is a little puzzling given the lack of competition between Australia and South America and the decent amount of demand. In addition to normal tourist, student, and visiting friends and relatives passenger traffic, plenty of corporates usually kick back in their lie-flat seats in business class on this route.

Qantas formerly flew its Boeing 747-400s between Sydney and Santiago. Photo: Qantas

Qantas adds some much-needed connectivity to South America

Formerly a oneworld partner but still a Qantas partner airline, LATAM, resumed its flights between Santiago and Sydney (via Auckland) in March this year. While LATAM’s economy class product on its Dreamliners flying to Sydney is fine, its premium cabin product isn’t as good as the Qantas offering. But until late October, beggars can’t be choosers – it’s either LATAM or a lengthy detour via Los Angeles or Dallas Fort Worth.

With Qantas confirmed to be heading back to Santiago later this year, the only significant holes in the former Qantas international network are in North Asia. But that isn’t isolated to Qantas. While countries like Japan and China keep borders closed to day-to-day travelers, many airlines avoid the region or run scaled-back frequencies. But at least with Santiago reappearing in the Qantas schedules, the airline will have its normal six continents covered.



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