Taking Uber to the airport in Santiago, Chile

When travelling abroad, I’ll often check to see if Uber is operating in the city I’m visiting. Part of it is curiosity – as a San Francisco resident, I like to see just how much Silicon Valley has infiltrated other towns. But there are also many practical reasons for using Uber, such as knowing how much you’re going to be charged in advance (thus, avoiding possibly being scammed) and being able to enter my destination at the outset, instead of having to give location using a language I barely know.

So, I was very happy when I was in Santiago, Chile and I discovered that Uber was thriving in the city. For the most part during my trip, I used their excellent public transportation system, and the weather was nice enough for a lot of walking. I also used a van service at the airport to take me to my Airbnb in Provedencia.

But when it was time to leave Chile and head back to San Francisco, I decided to try taking an Uber.

Because my location was directly above a metro stop, I decided to walk to a quiet street corner to hail my ride. One thing I wanted to avoid was having a driver call me asking for directions in Spanish, since my speaking skills are no bueno. This worked out well for me, as the driver was able to easily find me.

My driver ended up speaking perfect English, which was especially refreshing because I had gone a few days with barely speaking to anyone in person. He was an environmental engineering student at a university in Santiago, and we spoke a lot about the waste in the city (when you go to a grocery store, you get like 5 plastic bags per items you buy!), and how much I enjoyed the country.

The ride from Provedencia to the international airport was easy, and came in at around $18 for a 25-minute ride in afternoon traffic (I was picked up around 4:30pm on a Thursday).

Interestingly, at the airport, the driver dropped me off around guest parking. Apparently, Uber is not allowed to operate at Santiago’s airport, and my driver let me know if he was caught, they would confiscate his car. The drop off point he selected was fine though, and a 3-minute walk to inside of the terminal.

I would defintely d

Flight Review: Air Canada 787 Business Class | Santiago, Chile to Toronto

A few weeks ago, I took one of the best flights I’ve had in a long time.

I was hoping to spend a week in Kauai, but my plans fell through and I was in need of a destination.  Late at night, I checked the availability of flights to and from South America – perhaps my favorite continent to work remotely from – and found a business class ticket from Santiago, Chile to Toronto and then onto SFO for 55,000 United miles one-way.

Usually when it comes to South American award miles, United features Copa and Avianca which, although decent airlines, do not have lie-flat seats, although the tickets cost the same amount of miles. There was only one available date for the Air Canada flight, so I snatched it up, later booking a $235 flight from SFO to Cartagena, Colombia and then using miles to get from Cartagena to Santiago, Chile.

My first part of the journey was to head to the lounge in the Santiago Airport. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures, but the lounge was only decent. Notably, Air Canada does not have its own lounge in the airport, but you do have access to the Avianca lounge.

The lounge itself was just okay — the food was pretty bland (small sandwiches and some pastries) and they ran out of Diet Coke, so I had some beer and orange soda while waiting for my flight. There are a lot of power cords, though, so if you are need of a charge, it’s definitely a good place to relax.

As my flight approached, I headed towards the gate. When I got there, I found that it was my least favorite boarding method – the one where you board by group, but where you get onto a bus, and it’s a free-for-all once you get off. Luckily, most people on the flight were Canadian, so everyone was very nice and no one was shoving.

When I made it onto the plane, I was greeted with perhaps my favorite sight when entering a plane: a seat (that’s mine) that I know can turn into a bed!

Air Canada 1

It was glorious, particularly as it was a 9:30pm flight, and I was already starting to feel tired.

As I got comfortable in my seat, I noticed the complimentary Air Canada bag, containing goodies like lip balm (a really nice one, which I still use), a toothbrush, toothpaste, and an eye mask.

Air Canada 2

The flight attendant asked me if I was thirsty, and although I wanted to scream “YAS QUEEN!” I instead politely told her that I was, and asked for some champagne. When she came back with my champagne, I was handed a menu for dinner, breakfast, and with the specific drinks they were offering on the flight.

Air Canada 4

I decided to order the spinach and cheese filled chicken breast because, well, I love cheese and chicken.

Shortly thereafter, we took off. The TV/movie selections were great, and I couldn’t believe they had almost an entire season of The Mindy Project available to watch. I was in heaven. I kept drinking and laughing and watching TV until my first course arrived.

Air Canada 5

This was just okay. Really, it’s my own fault because I’m not much a fish person and, on that flight (and usually), I wasn’t really feeling like a salad, so I mostly just ate the bread and drank my alcohol.

I must have gotten kind of tipsy, because I forgot to take a picture of the main course. It was delicious, though, and I was already full when the flight attendant offered me some ice cream.  How could I said no?!

Air Canada 7

After finishing my dessert, I did what most sane people would do on a red-eye flight in business class with a bed – I popped an Ambien and got horizontal.

I can’t say enough good things about how comfortable the seat was, how nice the pillows and blankets felt, and the rest I got on this flight. The flight time was around 10 hours, which I think is the perfect amount of time for an overnight flight if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat in business class. It gave me time to watch some TV, drink, eat, and still have enough time to sleep to catch 6-7 hours of solid sleep.

I woke up to the smell of breakfast, and when the flight attendant saw that I was awake she asked me my choice – I picked the omelet.

Air Canada 8

It was decent, but not amazing. More than the breakfast, I needed the coffee to come to life, and their coffee was pretty delicious.

About 1.5 hours after breakfast service, we landed. The flight was uneventful, but sometimes that’s just what you need.

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One of my favorite parts about this flight was listening to the passengers talk who were on it. I know that might sound weird, but Santiago to Toronto is an interesting route, and there were a lot of people on the flight who traveled regularly between the two cities for work. I love hearing Spanish spoken with a Canadian accent, and that the flight connected two cities literally a world apart.

I very much hope I have the chance to fly this route again and would totally recommend it to anyone thinking of trying it!

San Francisco Trip Deal: $608 round-trip from SFO to Santiago, Chile on Aeromexico, LATAM

Aeromexico and LATAM are putting flights from San Francisco, California to Santiago, Chile on sale. Flights start at $608 after taxes, although I’ve so far only found this price for travel from May 8-31. Flights can also be found for the low $700’s from April through May.

Santiago is one of my favorite cities in the world, and one I’ll be visiting again in a few weeks.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between SFO and SCL.