South America Living

International Flights to South America

If you are looking for tips on how to find the best airfare on your next trip to South America, read: How to Find a Cheap Flight. Below are the major airlines that fly to the continent from Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S.

Tails of British Airways and Iberia Whom Merged in 2011 Into the “International Airlines Group”

Checking the airline’s website can give you a good idea of what the cost will be and is the safest way to purchase a ticket.

Most online consolidators such as cheapflights.com or farecompare.com often have poor customer service and charge insanely high fees if you have to cancel or change your dates of departure or return. If offered, it is always smart to purchase flight insurance.

Visa information for Americans, Canadians, Australians or UK citizens, including whether you need to pay a reciprocity fee to enter is located here: Visas & Fees for South America

  • Delta Airlines
    Website: www.delta.com

    Based in the U.S., Delta is now the largest airline in the world after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008.

    Flights to 58 destinations in Latin America including Buenos Aires, Quito, Santiago, Montevideo and Iguazu Falls (Argentina side). You can find Delta flights to South America here.

  • Air Canada
    Website: www.aircanada.com

    Canada’s largest full-service carrier providing international service to and from Canada. They fly to all major South American destinations such as Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Guayaquil, etc.

    Offers flight insurance through their ‘On My Way’ service – just $35 USD for protection against unexpected delays, etc. Includes complimentary hotel and meal allowance for any delay. The way things used to be when customer service was king, now you need to pay a bit extra. More information here: Trip Protection.

  • British Airways
    Website: www.britishairways.com

    United Kingdom’s largest carrier with flights to Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. Merged with Iberia in 2011 to form the International Airlines Group, yet retains its brand.

    Fares checked on the website such as from London to Buenos Aires were comparable to fares found online. Again, it is always best to book direct with the airline, and ensure you have flight insurance, as opposed to booking through a generic site like CheapOAir.com.

  • Quantas
    Website: www.qantas.com.au

    Australia’s largest and oldest airline. Guaranteed flight insurance for International flights: “If your flight is cancelled, we will offer an alternative flight on our services to get you to your destination at no additional cost to you.” They also provide complimentary meal, hotel and transfers in the event of a delay as well as full refund. Quantas customer charter information.

    Their website also offers low fares. On flightcentre.com the lowest fare from Sydney to Buenos Aires, was on LAN Airline at $5,682 USD for the 28-33 hour flight, purchased two weeks in advance. I went directly to the Quantas website listed above and searched the same dates and found a $4,097 USD ($3,963 AUD) fare.

    Note: Price search done November, 2012.

    In addition, here is the fine print for purchasing via flightcentre.com:

    Some fares may be non-refundable, but may be exchanged for a fee of up to $200, plus any additional airfare costs due to difference in new airfares. The prices do not include baggage fees or other optional fees charged directly by the airlines.

Yikes. One friend of ours wanted to extend their stay in Ecuador. They spent hours on the phone trying to get help via an 1-800 number, to no avail. The ticket change charge was so outrageous it was cheaper to buy a new ticket.

If they had bought directly through the airline, or purchased flight insurance, they would have been able to change their departure date for a reasonable fee and spent another week on the beach in Southern Ecuador.




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