Steve (DOS) and I are currently in Mendoza, Argentina for the Memorial Day Weekend thru Wednesday. We left on Friday evening, and will be back on Thursday morning. For the quick long weekend, we made sure we had enough luggage to last us our 4 hotel nights and two overnights aboard flights. As we’re both Executive Platinum members on American Airlines and flying in Business Class, we are allowed three 70 pound bags each, plus our carry-ons. DOS just bought this heavy-duty wine case for the trip, which even empty weighs 25 pounds, but we are looking to fill up with a case of vino for the way home. No one can ever accuse us of under-packing!
After checking four bags to Mendoza, we relaxed for a bit in the Orlando Admiral’s Club before our short first flight to Miami. Fortunately the weather cooperated with us this trip, and we weren’t delayed by the potential Florida summer thunderstorms.
After our 45 minute flight to Miami, we had a couple hours before our international flight to Santiago, Chile. DOS and I spend the short layover in the new American Airlines Flagship Lounge. We previously would go to the Premium Lounge in terminal E when we had international flights out of Miami, but now that the Flagship Lounge is open, we gave it a visit. We were both very impressed with the spaciousness of the Flagship Lounge, as well as the complimentary food and drink items offered. They actually had some nice wines, including one of my favorite reds, Textbook. I also had some assorted cheeses, a beef dish, and some pulled pork.
Our flight from Miami was on a Boeing 777-200ER, and we had seats 3A and 4A in this two class configured plane. There was an aircraft swap at the last minute, so the seating was slightly different, although DOS and I both had the nice single seat aisle/window combination in the 1 X 2 X 1 Business Class configuration. The difference in seating was the forward/backward alternating seat arrangement, instead of the all forward-facing seating. Dos had the backwards facing seat, while I had the forward facing seat. I normally take lots of photos aboard international flights, but on this flight, I slept almost the entire flight (tired out a bit from my work-week in Houston) and skipped both dinner and breakfast aboard which is unusual for me. DOS had dinner aboard and said I didn’t miss too much, especially since we had quite a bit of food in the Flagship Lounge before the 11pm late night flight.
We arrived into Santiago, Chile 8 hours later at 7am, and had a fairly long layover (6 1/2 hours) in Santiago.
We’ve been to the Santiago airport several times, so we knew to go to the LATAM Lounge (instead of the American Lounge) as it is the Flagship Airline of Chile, and is multi-level and spacious. It was quite foggy upon landing in Santiago, as you can see from these photos of the lounge.
At the early arrival hour of 7am it was virtually empty, but was much busier by the time our connecting flight left at 1:50pm. DOS even planned ahead and brought new sheets so we could really stretch out and rest on the chairs and ottomans in the lounge. We also had both breakfast, and later a light lunch in the lounge before our flight from Santiago to Mendoza.
Our flight from Santiago (SCL) to Mendoza (MDZ) was aboard a LATAM Airlines Airbus 320 in an all coach configuration. DOS and I were seated in row 2 and I had a nice view of the Andes Mountains which we flew over on the short 40 minute flight from SCL to MDZ. As on previous flights, there is no cabin service and you must remain seated the whole flight due to potential turbulence flying over the Andes Mountains. This flight was fairly smooth compared to others, but did have it’s share of bumps, and I took a few photos along the way. It’s the Fall Season now in Argentina, and there wasn’t as much snow on the mountains as our previous visits there in the Winter.
Once in Mendoza, we were happy to see all four of our bags made it on the three flights with no damage, and we headed quickly thru customs and on to our pre-arranged driver to the hotel. As on our previous two visits we are staying at the Mendoza Park Hyatt, and we have the same Diplomat Suite on the sixth floor. The hotel staff (and people in Mendoza in general) are so friendly, and the Front Desk agent who checked us in remembered us from last year, and warmly welcomed us back.
When we got to our suite, we had a nice basket of fruit, red wine, bottled water, chocolates and a card signed by the General Manager, nicely arranged on our living room table. As in typical Hyatt fashion, they always aim to please, and this was no exception.
After settling in and unpacking, we made a visit to the hotel’s wine bar and had a couple glasses of Malbec and the signature Argentina item – the empanada!
Welcome back to Mendoza!