Santiago de Chile Airport Passenger Reviews and Traveller Reports
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 25 April 2013 by J Jones (UK)|
Rating : 9/10
Beware leaving the airport there are people in uniform who approach you and try to "help" you onto your connecting
flight usually with the line "Are you on the connecting flight to Concepcion?" to which you panic and think there is
some problem with your flight. Almost fell for it when he asked for my boarding card and helped me with my bags. They
basically want to take you to the third floor (departures) and show you where to go for money. Don't fall for it -
just walk out confidently, veer left towards the silver lifts and go on up to the third floor. Don't be fooled by a
uniform and friendly manner. Unless of course you don't mind tipping them and want the help.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 10 November 2012 by Jill Mills (Australia)|
Rating : 5/10
This was our second trip through here this year and both times we chose to stop overnight on arrival from
Australia. We found the immigration queues not too bad and this time had carry on baggage only but had to
queue for ages to get through quarantine check. On departure this time we got caught by long lines at
passport control and nearly missed our flight. It took 30 minutes to check in and over an hour to clear
passport check. Thankfully security check was fine and ended up at the gate 10 minutes before departure
time. ( we weren't the last to arrive!) our departure was morning and couldn't find anywhere with any sort of
breakfast sceptics a very expensive buffet which was too much. Only other alternative seemed to be toasted
sandwich or muffin.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 9 December 2011 by A Mackenzie (Canada)|
Rating : 6/10
I have been through this airport many times in the last few years. Overall I would it fair to good. Arriving
international is usually ok, as other travellers noted: if you hold a Canadian, American, Australian or Mexican
passport you will have to pay the entry fee in a different line before proceeding to immigration. Lines are
generally fast in the morning but can be slow in the afternoon. Immigration and customs officials are usually
relaxed with the exception of plant/animal goods. If you are unfamiliar with Santiago, I would recommend
getting a taxi just before you exit the baggage claim area. Departing can be a little different. Depending on
when you depart, you can expect to wait. Check-in will be long in the early weekday morning and sometimes
in the afternoon. If you are departing internationally, you will again have to go through immigration. Again
they are quick, but it can take 20 min. If you are departing domestic, security is lax but can be very long on
weekday mornings due to high volume. International gate side has a decent selection of restaurants and
shopping, although expensive. Domestic side has a few stores and not as many places to eat.
Overall the airport is clean and bright. Signage is good and easily visible. You can usually find quiet areas
to relax if you have a long layover.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 18 November 2011 by K Simps (USA)|
Rating : 6/10
I must echo the traveller who mentioned the problem with immigration line vs tax line. We had exactly same
experience, we were the first group off our plane, holding USA passports in hand and airport employees
waved us all into immigration line, 20 mins later we noticed the other line for tax payment off to the left
with 2 windows open (we knew we had to pay tax so had been looking for where to pay it). Had to leave
immigration line, spend 25 mins in tax payment line, then started over in the immigration line. Spent
another 30 mins getting through that line and we were the last of our flight to pick up our baggage. Very bad
initial impression. Good news was we noticed the VIP taxi kiosk before we exited and quickly got a taxi paid
for and skipped the chaos outside the doors.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 26 June 2010 by Sergio Espinosa
Customer Rating : 4/5
Four months after the big earthquake that hit Chile, Santiago airport still looks with several
works in progress. Although al main functions are OK, inside some parts of the terminal looks
a bit aged and need to be modernized, mainly in the arrival section. Overall, the airport
remains as one of the best in the region.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 17 January 2010 by Louise Christensen
Customer Rating : 3/5
Our flight was from Seattle to The Falklands, with Santiago being a two day layover. The LAN
Chile flight from Santiago to the Falklands was direct, and we were a group of tourists
scheduled to meet a ship going to Antarctica. Out of our group, one passenger's hand luggage
and another's suitcase - mine went to Ushiuia, Argentina instead the Falklands, and we faced a
six week polar trip without our important gear. Counting in the check-in and check-out times
we went fourteen hours without any significant meal. I was glad I still had a chocolate bar.
My advice is to wear everthing you've got, even if it means two bras and four underpants. On
a second trip, the Santiago customs agents confiscated smoked fish and jam from the luggage.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 19 November 2009 : by A Domeyko
Customer Rating : 4/5
A first class airport with one major exception. The line for paying the airport tax is not
clearly marked, and 90% of passengers go through the entire immigration line only to find that
they have to go to another line first to pay the tax. The tax line usually has only 1 or 2
windows open, so it takes forever, then you have to do the immigration line all over again!
There are airport employees herding people through the immigration line, but they do not warn
passengers that they have to pay the tax first. I was first off the plane but ended up one of
the last to leave the airport.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE AIRPORT customer review : 29 April 2008 : by S Koenig
Customer Rating : 4/5
A modern, clean, somewhat austere business-oriented airport. Virtually no place so sit in the
cavernous check-in hall. There are several kiosks for various airlines, though not for all. For
some (eg Avianca) you need to ask or know to walk to the 4-story office building next door. Very
few dining options outside of security. For any shopping at all you need to wander over to the
domestic wing where there are some small stores, including a pharmacy. Saw no central location for
info on transportation options into Santiago. There are two different companies offering busses,
but you need to talk with both to get full info on prices and options on where you can go. New
Holiday Inn across from the terminal is a bit pricey, but nice, and offers an alternative, if
somewhat expensive, dining option.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by J Lea
7 March 2008 Customer Rating :
Generally a good modern airport but there can be confusionwith respect to payment of departure taxes
for transit passengers. Although all of us were in transit some were charged tax and others not.
Signage between domestic arrivals and international departures needs improvement.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by R Baker
21 January 2008 Customer Rating :
All round excellent experience. Particularly impressed by exit formalities, quick security
processing with almost no line ups. Many airports could learn from this one.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Rudy Herta
17 October 2007 Customer Rating :
We arrived in Santiago early morning from MIA on AA. At the time we landed there were two other major
flights arriving. I saw people from Iberia, LAN and Delta. Immigration lines were long speacially
on the foreigners lane. People had to do two lines, one for paying the reciprocity fee for Americans
and then the regular line to enter the country. We paid the visa tax on prior trip so we proceeded
straight to the immigration officer. Immigration a bit of a mess, but Baggage claim went without
problem. Signage is good and exiting customs was very quick and easy. Once arrived is a bit
confusing to get a cab to get downtown. Clean, ordered and modern building.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Brett Watson
9 October 2007 Customer Rating :
Modern bright and clean airport. International arrivals easy. Signs to pay visa reciprocity fee clear
and easy to follow. Quickly moved through immigration. Baggage arrived quickly and easy to pass
through customs. Options to transfer to city available before leaving secure area, so easy to
organise and reasonable prices. Domestic departure was smooth and easy. There are a couple of
eating/drink options available after domestic security, although prices a little high by Chilean
prices. Overall, probably one of South America's best airports with modern facilities and very easy
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Byron Scott
10 April 2007 Customer Rating : n/a
Flew Atlanta-Santiago-Puerto Montt and Buenos Aires-Santiago-Atlanta in
March 07. Connecting to domestic flight required going through passport
control and customs in Santiago. As you come down the stairs to
arrivals, the desks for paying the reciprocity fee require something of
a U-Turn. Don't go directly to passport control. There are two areas
for passport control, but both lead to the same baggage claim area.
After you pick up bags, they will be scanned before you leave the secure
area into a fairly cramped meeting area. There are several ATM's.
Signs for domestic connections not that clear. You have to go upstairs
and find the airline - LAN is a bit of a hike. Check-in area bright and
open. After security for domestic flights, there's one boutique, a
Starbucks, and a local cafe. That's it - it's pretty sleepy. We had to
ride a bus from domestic departures (very few gates) to plane parked at
an international gate. Connecting from an international flight to an
international flight much easier. Bags checked through. You exit
passport control (if boarding in Santiago) into large duty free area.
Good variety of restaurants in international terminal, including Ruby
Tuesday's, Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts as well as local options.
Some construction is going on to expand the terminal. I found the
dining options better than Buenos Aires, and in general, the airport was
pleasant. Surprisingly few airline staff spoke English though.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Roger Stokell
15 October 2006
Immigration at Santiago's international airport is a slow and painful
process if you arrive in peak periods. We have recently twice arrived
at the midday to 1pm period and had to wait over an hour to reach an
immigration officer. After a long flight this is a dreadful experience.
It must be particularly bad for people who are elderly, sick or with
children, as there is nobody to assist give such people priority. Our
suggestion would be to wait airside with a good book until the queues
subside (as they do seem to do) and then go through. It is not a good
welcome to Chile, and here's hoping that the immigration authorities in
Chile will remedy this simply by putting more officers on during peak
Santiago de Chile Airport review by S Dale Hancock
20 January 2006
Arrived at Santiago after an all-nighter on Delta. Arrivals was very
simple – US citizens veered to the left (at least in the terminal we
arrived in) just before immigration to pay the $100US reciprocity fee.
The booths were clearly marked and the lines went very quickly. They
will staple a receipt in your passport good for the life of the
passport. Immigration followed, also very efficient. We exchanged
$100US for Chilean pesos before we left the secure area. A subsequent
ATM withdrawl showed we had paid a premium of about 3 ½%. Certainly not
a big deal. Next we picked up our bag & exited customs. All luggage,
including carry-on was x-rayed & you turn the customs declaration form
in as you pick up your freshly x-rayed bags. We probably took 20 minutes
from the time we left the plane until we were in the free world,
including making the reciprocity payment, passport control, money
exchange, luggage pick-up & customs. Once outside it was a hectic mess.
Everybody & their little brother wants you to arrange a taxi through
them. We picked an official-looking fellow with a portable radio and
agreed upon $25 US to the Marriott. There was no need to have exchanged
money at the airport – the cab driver was happy to get the $27US I gave
him. The exchange rate at the Marriott appeared to be exactly the same
as at the airport. Departing was a little different. My wife went ahead
and the bellman put our bag in the “hotel taxi”. I asked how much & was
told $40,000 (about $80US). I said no way, took the bag out of the
trunk & said I just wanted a regular taxi & pointed to one on the
street. The bellman said it would cost $50,000 to the airport. I said
no way, I’d only paid $12,000 when I arrived. A little Spanish between
the parties and I was offered the hotel taxi (down-scale limo?) for
$16,000 (about $32US). Okay. Based on posts here and other places we
elected to get to the airport about 3 hours ahead of flight time. Good
choice, though this will probably not apply to you. We booked our South
America itinerary (SCL-ASU-MVD-EZE-GIG) through TAM for $1253 (two
tickets) in Miami. We had called 4 times in the previous 3 months to
make sure there would be no issues & every time we were told the tickets
were electronic & all we had to do was give them the number at the
ticket counter. Don’t know why we were suspicious, but it was an issue.
After 2:45 screwing around with every TAM rep in the building and
calling Miami twice we finally got paper tickets issued. TAM doesn’t
use e-tickets throughout most of S.A. I was perhaps most perturbed when
the TAM manager came down & said it was our fault because the “agency”
issued the tickets incorrectly. The “agency” was TAM. He finally
understood & I was happy to tell him exactly what I thought of his
professionalism. Other than TAM related issues the departure was fine:
about 10 minutes to go through a courteous immigration control, plenty
of duty free shops (though we didn’t have time to even stop for a
bathroom break) and it appeared there was plenty of seating. Couldn’t
tell about eating places – again because of TAM. Overall a very good
airport experience and a rather poor airline experience.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Mac Chen
Beautiful terminal. Very airy and contemporary building though it lacks character. The shops
landside convenient, but airside totally disappointing - bland and overpriced - even for airport
shops. Check in took forever, but other formalities fairly quick and efficient. One of the best
airports in the region.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Kenneth Mackie
I would agree about slow check in procedures I arrived to check in for a Saturday afternoon flight
to Buenos Aires and there were just 4 desks open, they were checking in a total of 3 flights at that
time. Duty free is very expensive. On a positive note the arrivals area was excellent, very fast
immigration and the hotel information desk was very helpful - down to advising me to pay for ground
transportation - bus or mini van in US Dollars, and to change my money downtown
- as the change
facilities at the airport charge high commission. There are also NO money changing
facilities after immigration, on the way out of the country which is very annoying if you only realise after it´s too
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Martin Becher
Santiago airport has been an architectonical mistake from beginning. Not
only that the national and international terminals are unnecessary separated by several 100 meters
where no fast transportation service is offered for handi capped passengers, but also the "airport
hotel" is located approx 4 kilometers from the terminal itself.
After the first time, I desisted even to take a look to its duty free shops or coffee shops after
passing customs - prices are just ridiculous!
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Gerald Lembervon
I disagree with the previous feedback about SCL Int'l and one of the worst travelling experiences I've had
has been at that airport. It was two months ago when I had to travel to Buenos Aires and I chose
which is the local airline on my flight from Frankfurt. The flight with LAN was not that good, the flight
attendants are terribly rude. First of all checking with LanChile at SCL can last forever, people at SCL
seem not to care about other's time and are incredibly slow. Immigration staff are the rudest I've seen -
once inside the departing area, there are not many duty free stores and the few I saw, were ridiculously
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Norman Clark
SCL is one of the best-managed airports in South America.
There can be considerable backups at arrivals immigration, but the crowds move through very quickly.
Immigrations inspectors seem to appear out of thin air whenever the lines get long. U.S., Canadian,
and Australian nationals need to pay the one-time reciprocal fee at the window to your right before
approaching the immigration barrier. Be prepared: it's expensive - $105 for US citizens. But
it is a one-time charge that is good for the duration of your passport.
Arriving passengers can book taxis into the city while waiting for their luggage before going
through customs; and a driver will usually be waiting in front of the terminal when you exit.
In the morning, when most of the long-haul flights arrive, the arrivals hall outside customs can
appear good-naturedly chaotic. It will sometimes seem as if every resident of Santiago has come to
greet someone. If someone is meeting you, be sure to specify whether you should turn left or right
when you exit customs. The two exit channels end up a significant distance apart, making it much
more difficult to spot your greeter or driver in the crowd.
The only negatives, such as torturously slow check-in for coach passengers, are airline related and
not due to the very spacious, well-designed departures hall. If you are flying coach on one of the
US carriers, such as American, expect that your checked baggage will be hand-searched before you
check it. Allow an hour to get your boarding pass. LAN Chile is usually much faster.
I have used two of the airline lounges at SCL. LAN Chile's Pablo Neruda Lounge is one of the very
best in the world. I have been in almost every one of American's Admirals Clubs, and their club at
SCL is easily their best. Airport and airlines staff at SCL are among the most courteous and helpful anywhere in the world.
Moreover, these attitudes are genuine.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by M Reynaud
Santiago de Chile airport is very efficient and comfortable, immigration is quite quick and
efficient. Unfortunately this airport has the worst air quality that I have experienced. Smoking is allowed
everywhere, there are not smoking areas, people smoke next to you as do not care if you like or not
or even if you are with children. You must be there when morning flights are delayed one winter morning due to the haze, better if you
run outside and resist the cold weather than breathing its poluted air.
Santiago de Chile Airport review by Martin Peters
21 August 2002
Pudahuel is a relatively small but very efficient and friendly airport. Immigration is
quick and courteous, and I was quickly through to the arrivals area where all the
usual facilities can be found. Airport buses into the city are very cheap at less than
US$2 (the airport bus is a good option for non-Spanish speakers, who will find it
difficult to communicate with taxi drivers). Departure lounges: the Lan Chile Pablo
Neruda lounge is good, and recently refurbished. It has plenty fresh food on offer,
comfortable quiet areas, and adequate internet access.
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