October 5, 2009

Why LAN Airlines Sucks


They are dishonest. They mislead you. They do not offer customer service. They do not complete what they commit.

I purchased a round-trip ticket from Medellin to Quito in July. I only flew the first leg. Their website clearly states that they will refund airport taxes for any flights not taken.

I have been to four different offices in two countries a total of 12 times. I have made multiple phone calls. I have written emails.

The Medellin office said the Manta office would help. Manta said that I could call the Refunds department, but that they would not help. In July, Anthony Valensuela promised me $74.64 as a refund. I asked him if he needed to double check with his supervisor, Leslie. He said he was certain of the refund, and to call him if there is any issue.

I received $13.64.
Back in Quito in the office on Orellana, Maria Alexandra Echeverria said she would resolve the issue. She called his boss Leslie. Leslie would not help. Maria Alexandra told me to email the refund team. I did so. Supposedly they respond in 72 hours. I wrote them in August. They never replied. Know what's funny? I sent them another email last night with this text. In 46 minutes LAN Chile logged onto my blog. 46 minutes. After two months of waiting for a reply. Right.

Maria Alexandra then conveniently went on vacation.

In September I returned to Quito. I asked to speak to the manager. I spoke to Juan Carlos Barreiro. He said he would email Refunds and ask for help. I returned to the office yet again over a week later. He said they emailed him the night before... Asking for my personal information (He neglected to include my plane ticket number. Genius.)

I asked him about his power as a manager. He informed me he was not a manager after all. I was being pawned off yet again.

He promised to call or email me with his response. I agreed, and let him know that if he did not, I would create this blog. He neither called nor emailed.

I returned to the office today, October 7. The manager Aida Morales informed me that I would not be refunded. She made plenty of excuses, and took no responsibility for customer service ignoring my emails, the office staff lying about Juan Carlos' status as a manager, and Juan Carlos not contacting when he said he would.

Is this blog vengeance? I do not know. But is it acceptable that a company make a promise and force their customer to literally make a dozen office visits, phone calls, etc for them to... NOT make good on their word? No.

It has been more than three months since LAN stated they would refund my funds.

Travel wisely.

See the two comments posted below. Read the second.

Interestingly, although LAN never took the time to reply to my many (polite!) emails, they did take the time to hire Altius. The comment posted on October 27 from "." is from LAN - They pay Altius to save their image from monsters like me.

Good grief. Here's to ethics and great client service. One point for you, LAN!

(Let's see how long it takes for Altius to retract their comment...)
Within 12 hours of emailing Altius on their behavior, I received 14 hits on my site from LAN all over the world. Including offices specific to those named in the blog. I wonder how much of their money I have wasted on their salaries alone???

This blog is viewed over 400 times weekly.
This specific story will be directly emailed to 1,500 people, many of whom regularly travel in South America.

(The following is intended to allow LAN customers to google LAN and find my blog. Internationals find the blog every day through Google.)

LAN Airlines airline Chile South America Peru Argentina Ecuador Venezuela Colombia Brazil fly plane airplane customer service awful bad unhappy refund tax taxes return boss supervisor unfair lie lied misrepresent misrepresented no responsibility unhelpful help helpful vuelos promociones servicios estado de tu vuelo informaciones informacion international internacional nonstop ida y vuelta oneworldTM oneworld LAN alliance: LAN Airlines LAN Peru LAN Ecuador LAN Argentina world's leading quality global airline alliance providing the most extensive network to and within every major city in South America departure city arrival city lanvacations lan vacations special offers check-in reservations and services multi-ciudades destino destination fecha de regreso return date e-ticket re
serve check in check-in lancargo 1-866- I FLY LAN 1-866-435-9526 Mesa de ayuda 1 866 435 9526 Sugerencias y Reclamos,,, verificar reserva lan ecuador


  1. gross. so sorry. this sucks.

  2. For more details on LAN Chile Airlines like Information, history, baggage details, check in, destinations, fleets, images and more visit "". This URL may be useful.

  3. I am also having a difficult time getting LAN to refund my tickets. LAN Airlines owes me over $700 for tickets I cancelled 6 months in advance to the trip. The tickets were fully refundable. Each time I call LAN I get told my refunds are "in progress". First I was told it would take 30 days to get the refund. The next time I called LAN, I was told 40 days. Today I called again, and this time got told 60 days! After the 2nd call, I filed a dispute with my credit card company. A warning for anyone doing business with LAN Airlines: By USA law, all credit card disputes must be filed within 60 days of the charge. Do not postpone doing this.

  4. exactly the same problem, they overbooked my plane and offered me money. They do not pay you back and tell you to work things out at the destination counter. Obviously at destination they don't know anything and dismiss you quickly. They have these lame excuses that their system takes 60 days to process refunds etc etc. Word of advice stay as far away from LAN as possible, like the plague. They cheat, mistreat and lie.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts, guys. And I'm certainly sorry this has been your experience as well.
    This blog has about three international hits daily from people Googling "lan customer service" and similar web searches. My little blog! Good grief. If I get this kind of attention, we know we have a much larger problem than appears.

  6. LAN didn't hire Altius. Altius is just a directory site trying to draw upon some of your traffic, particularly because travel-related traffic is valuable traffic because transactions like ticket booking offer nice affiliate fees.

    Don't read anything more into that....but thanks for posting your experience.

  7. This is certainly discouraging. Lan Airlines has refused me a refund for over $1,500. over a visa problem that kept me from boarding. They told me that Expedia should have told me the tickets were non-refundable and that next time I should not use an agency! Without the refund my wife and I are stuck in China. That money is two months income for me. They don't care. Nice!

  8. Last year, I was so annoyed by bad-faith behaviour on the part of LAN that I registered to collect stories such as yours. Basically, they make sure ticket holders have no way to contact anyone who will actually help them, giving them the eternal runaround instead. LAN sells tickets and flies planes. That's all they do. Forget refunds. Forget any kind of customer service. Those interested may find more stories about LAN here:

  9. Anonymous -
    Thank you! It sure gave me a good chuckle to read over. I can certainly identify with the emotions felt from a company with horrible customer service. I finally started publishing my thoughts and company feedback on my blog -

    Cheers, and feel free to pass around these links!

  10. Unfortunately I can only confirm the bad experiences.
    And unfortunately the most hits you get on your page will likely be of people for which it is too late because they have already chosen LAN. :-(

    A consistently terrible service experience from the booking on:

    1.) For weeks (start to end February) different flight search engines (ITA Matrix, Kayak, Expedia, skyscanner) offer you cheap flight prices to be booked directly through LAN webpage. Once clicking through to those offers, those fares are sold out, it seems LAN is simply attracting booking traffic by providing wrong fares to the search engines.

    2.) You arrive at airport 90 min before your international flight? No chance to get a Check-In. There's one person for business class, taking 5 min per passenger check-in, while people queue up for economy and baggage drop... (Quito International, 3rd of March, 5o'clock AM)

    3.) Your plane can't start because of bad weather? Can happen. But only LAN let's you wait for 3 hours in the plane without even offering water to the passengers.

    4.) Your flight (scheduled to take 8 hours, take off 6:40 AM and Landing 4:30PM, 2 hours time shift ) finally takes off with 3 hours delay? Nice, but don't expect to get more than the breakfast scheduled at 9, served at 12. Yes, there are somewhere some little snacks in the plane. Go to the back, ask your cabin stewards to get some. After half of all passengers asked for something to eat they still don't get the idea to serve something...

    5.) You arrive at Ushuaia? Your baggage lost, because by LAN put onto the belt in Buenos Aires and expected to get picked up for customs... How do you know if in Quito they confirm, that baggage is checked through to Ushuaia? Not their business...

    6.) You want to get your baggages back? Don't expect somebody to tell you where your baggage is. In Ushuaia there's simply no personnel at the airport one hour after the flight landed. And the call-center number provided (once answering) tells you: Oh so sorry, yes you're baggage will be sent to you, somehow, somewhen...
    Baggage finally arrived 3 days later, not a single notice before...

    You take a glimpse into the board magazine and this smiling CEO let's you know:
    "Our passion is making every of your travel experiences unique. Lean back and learn to enjoy the moment."

    Oh yes... certainly unique.
    Certainly you have to learn how to enjoy.
    And certainly this was the last time wis fucking LAN if somehow possible...