LATAM abandons discriminatory fare policy for foreign visitors to Peru

LATAM abandons discriminatory fare policy for foreign visitors to Peru

It’s true, Hallelujah! Peru’s tourism trade publication T-News reports that the country’s largest airline LATAM will no longer prohibit foreign tourists from purchasing economy coach tickets on its domestic flights.

“From Dec. 26, all fares on the airline’s domestic routes will apply to domestic and foreign passengers,” T-News said on its Web site.

UPDATE: LATAM and Avianca have since clarified their policies. The higher rates for foreign travelers have NOT disappeared for tickets purchased on-line. Economy coach fares are available to foreign tourists when booked through an IATA Peruvian travel agency — not directly on-line.

It is notable that T-News was the ONLY media outlet reporting this scoop. Kudos!

As of tonight, LATAM had not removed the abysmal near decade-old policy from its Web site: The Economic Cabin Base Rate in Peru for national routes is valid only for residents of Peru.

Foreigners who unwittingly purchased the cheaper tickets, but then cannot show a Peruvian ID at the airport face an additional fee of $177 or else be denied boarding.

(Any non-resident of Peru who mistakenly purchased the cheaper tickets prior to Dec. 26 will still have to pay a penalty of $150, LATAM said in a communique to travel agencies sent last Friday.)

It was in 2008 that LATAM, then known as LAN, implemented its Peruvian Residents ONLY policy, barring foreign tourists from purchasing coach tickets at the normal base fares. LATAM’s next biggest competitor, AVIANCA, followed suit soon after.

LATAM claimed the effective fare hike for foreigners represented its “commitment to the country’s development” and that it was “working very hard to promote air transportation inside Peru,” and therefore was “pushing internal commerce and tourism.”

Average Peruvians did start flying in increasing numbers, but as a result LATAM, which has a 58 percent market share in Peru, today faces ever-increasing competition from other airlines that don’t make foreign tourists pay more.

Moreover, the double standard did on occasion cause problems for premium fliers who gladly paid extra for flex tickets. After availing themselves of the ability to change the date of their flight, the airline would mistakenly reassign them to the Peruvians-only class. Then upon arriving at the airport, they would be forced to pay the hefty fee.

Invariably when they protested, the counter agent would misinform them that their travel agency had sold them the wrong ticket and was to blame. (Tsk-tsk, LATAM! Tsk-tsk!)

LATAM has done well to abolish its discriminatory fare policy and make Peru more accessible to ALL tourists.

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Authored by: Rick Vecchio

Rick Vecchio, Fertur’s director of development and marketing, was educated at the New School for Social Research and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for Pacifica Radio WBAI and as a daily reporter for newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Then in 1996, he decided it was time to realize a life-long dream of traveling to Peru. He never went back. While serving as Peru country manager for the South American Explorers from 1997-1999, he fell in love with Fertur's founder, Siduith Ferrer, and they married. Over the next six years, he worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Siduith built the business, which he joined in January 2007. Now he designs custom educational and adventure tour packages for corporate and institutional clients, oversees Fertur’s Internet platform and occasionally leads special trips, always with an eye open for a good story to write about.

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Maurice Cotton at 10:11 pm

    Trying to book a LATAM fare today “5 Jan 2018 the website still quotes “this fare is for residents only”

  2. Foreigner at 1:17 pm

    This is simply not true. LATAM and Avianca continue their discriminatory fare policy for foreign visitors to Peru in 2018.

  3. Rick Vecchio Author at 12:51 pm

    Hello Foreigner,

    Yeah, for booking flights directly via their Web portals they do appear to still maintain the discriminatory fare policy, which STINKS!

    But it’s not all bad news: If you book the tickets through an IATA travel agency in Peru (like, for instance, Fertur Peru Travel… plug, plug, plug…), the Super Promo and Econo fares are available to foreign tourists.

    That stated, very few of our clients are purchasing those tickets because of the limitations. For most domestic routes in general, and LIM-CUZ-LIM in particular, those tickets are non-refundable and you can’t make date changes. And in the case of LATAM, they include carry-on only. You have to pay $17 extra for check-on luggage when booking the ticket, or $25 per at the airport.

  4. Canadian Traveller at 3:40 pm

    Hello Rick,

    So should we just book the flights through the LATAM Peru and get the cheaper prices ?
    What if the Master Card I am using is from Canada and I am buying a flight in “Peru”
    would it still work?
    The flight from the canadian site is somewhere $500 but on the Peru site its only $210.

    Thank you

  5. Rick Vecchio Author at 9:55 am

    Hi flyerad3,

    LATAM is still enforcing its higher rates on the economy class tickets when purchased via its Web site. I would strongly advise against trying book the tickets through the Peru site for the lower fare. LATAM’s filters would most probably flag your Canadian MC and prevent you from completing the purchase. But if LATAM didn’t catch it, and you did get the lower rate, they would absolutely make you pay the difference at the airport when you presented your Canadian passports.

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