How to get to Latin America?
Flights, especially post-pandemic, are something that concerns a lot of travelers.
Delayed or canceled flights are a huge hassle, and booking platforms and their terms & conditions and possible or impossible reimbursements can be confusing, time consuming and pretty stressful.
This guide will tell you a bit more about how to book the safest ways possible without putting your entire trip in jeopardy.
The easiest way
We at Terra Sur Travels offer to book all flights for you! Domestic or international, from Europe, the US, Australia, or anywhere else in the world, it doesn’t matter.
When you book with us, we will make sure that you have everything in order:
- The flights that fit perfectly in your travel itinerary
- Only premium airlines, no budget airlines
- Tickets issued directly from the airlines, no internet booking platforms involved
- Minimized waiting times at the airport due to booking of the best possible connecting flights
- Fares with the optimal conditions for rescheduling or cancelations
- Optimized for your needs: Booking class, seats, allowed checked baggage(s) and carry-on. Early seat selections upon request.
- If you wish, we check you in beforehand (usually 24 hours or less before departure)
- Boarding passes with QR-Codes will be directly uploaded into our app, so you always have them on hand (also offline; temporary internet connection every now and then still necessary to update the content)
If you want to book yourself
Of course you can book everything yourself. We will guide you and tell you beforehand which routes and times are best.
Also, we would advise you to book directly from airlines rather than internet booking platforms.
There will most certainly be a difference pricewise, but in case anything goes wrong, airlines usually make rescheduling, rebooking or reimbursements a lot easier than having to go through a third party.
The best methods
The more direct the better!
If there are direct flights offered, use those if possible. Every connective flight is an obstacle!
The less transfers the better!
Having to change planes in one or more airports, countries or continents can cause trouble:
Missed connections, lost or delayed baggage can happen. The airlines usually do their best to put you and your bags on the correct flight. Still, it happens and it is aggravating to go through something like that and might also cause delays at your destination, when the much needed bag is somewhere else and you have to wait for it for sheer endless hours.
Go to the airport early!
Before the pandemic, the suggested time to arrive at an airport was 3 hours for international flights and 1 to 2 hours before a domestic flight. Depending on the airport.
These times are now unpredictable and might have doubled (if not more!).
It’s very important to check with your local airport beforehand, as well as with airports you are traveling through. High season, local holidays or shortage of staff might make this even more complicated.
Enough transfer time!
We know, waiting at airports can be annoying.
Of course, the best airports in the world allow as little as 45 minutes to get from one plane to the next. Nevertheless, we would always give us 2 to 3 hours at any airport to make sure everything will be alright and also for the peace of mind.
Because there are some parameters that play a role and you might have overlooked! Like:
- You don’t know the airport and where to go immediately. Follow the signs! And with the slightest doubt, ask ground staff immediately!
- The ways between gates or terminals might be looong and take up to half an hour at the biggest airport hubs
- There’s another security check-point you didn’t know about that you have to pass
- Long lines of (already annoyed and pushy) passengers everywhere
- Ground staff needs time to forward your luggage
- Understaffed counters
- You change airlines in between and have to get your luggage from the belt, immigrate, check in again, go through security again and walk to your gate
- You have to fulfill other local requirements (like getting the TCT-Card before being able to check in for a flight to Galapagos)
The best routes
As stated before, the less connections, the better.
From Europe and the United States, there are several continental airlines that have direct flights to Latin America.
From North America
From the United States of America, several airlines fly directly to Latin America.
South American airlines also serve those routes, like LATAM or Avianca.
The major hubs are Miami, Atlanta, New York and Houston, among others.
From Europe, there are a variety of airlines going to Latin America.
Major hubs here are Amsterdam, Madrid, Frankfurt, Charles de Gaulle (Paris) or Heathrow (London).
Here is where it gets tricky!
It is almost inevitable that you have to transfer more than once. In Europe, Turkey or the Middle East.
From east, south or Southeast Asia, there are no direct connections at all.
Or, the other way around the globe: To North America and then head down South.
Yes, they do exist! From Australia or New Zealand you can at least fly to Lima, Peru, or Santiago de Chile, which makes it quite comfortable. Maybe with a stop-over in French Polynesia and only on certain days of the week.
LATAM and Qantas are the major carriers on these routes.
As far as we know, there are no direct flights whatsoever from Africa to Latin America. All travelers must transfer somewhere in Europe, Turkey or the Middle East.