What are the experiences with airlines in Peru?

What are the experiences with airlines in Peru?

When we were looking for a reliable and cheap flight operator in Peru we got lost in a web of positive and negative reviews. Therefore, Bunch of Backpackers (BoB) decided to provide an overview based on recent experiences from other travelers with different airlines in Peru. In the overview we present a short review of each airline company incorporating: safety, reliability, punctuality, booking process, service and price.  This way you are able to compare the operators and make a well-considered decision (Latest update: June 2014).

Domestic airlines

There are a few airlines in Peru available for domestic flights:

–       LAN Peru (part of LAN Airlines)

–       LC Peru

–       Star Peru

–       TACA airlines

–       Peruvian Airlines

Review: Experiences with LAN Peru (part of LAN Airlines)

Background LAN Peru: LAN’s homebase is in Chile, but LAN’s flight network includes destinations in Latin America, North America, Oceania and Europe.  It is in general known as the best airline in Peru.

Flights to/from: Arequipa, Lima, Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Cuzco, Iquitos, Juliaca, Piura, Puerto Maldonado, Tacna, Tarapoto, Trujilo and Tumbes.

Safety: Excellent safety record according to Aero International: 2 accidents since 1983. Latest 21 years ago. Safe airline.

Punctuality and reliability: Good. Rarely a delay or a cancellation.

Booking: Good.

Service: On board service is good. Ground service and customer service are supposedly reasonable to poor.

Price: LAN is the most expensive airline.

Other remarks: LAN Peru charges ‘Gringo’ tax on flights form Lima to Cuzco. This gringo tax is included in the online ticket price. Beware of additional fees in general.

Lan Airlines
Lan airlines. Photo Fly Away Imitation

Review: Experiences with LC Peru

Background LC Peru: Founded in 1993 as LC Buscre. It currently flies to 10 destinations.

Flights to/from: Andahuyalas, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Pisco, Lineas de Nasca, Jauja, Huanuco, Huaraz, Tingo Maria and Lima.

Safety: No record of accidents. Old fleet, a number of people claim their maintenance is not according standards.

Punctuality and reliability: Less punctual than the others. They are propeller planes, and are therefore more likely to be cancelled in bad weather.

Booking: Good. Payment by Visa.

Service: Both the on board service and the customer service are good.

Price: Reasonable priced.

Other remarks: No ‘Gringo’ tax

LC Peru. Photo Skiesmag
LC Peru. Photo Skiesmag

Review: Experiences with Star Peru

Background: Star Peru was founded in 1997. They primarily do internal flights.

Flights to/from:  Lima, Iquitos, Huanuco, Ayacucho, Cuzco, Pucallpa, Tarapoto and Puerto Maldonada

Safety: Older aircrafts, but no accidents have been reported

Punctuality and reliability: Sometimes delay or cancellation

Booking: Booking confirmation within an hour. Payment with VISA or Mastercard. The first step in the booking process is reservation, then follows the payment step (which you’ll have to fulfil within 24 hours).

Service: Comfortable seats with leg space. Friendly. Comfortable with a snack or lunch box.

Price: Star Peru is reasonable priced.

Other remarks: No ‘Gringo’ tax

Star Peru Boeing. Photo Wikipedia
Star Peru Boeing. Photo Wikipedia

Review: Experiences with TACA airlines

Background: TACA airlines was founded in 1931. It is one of the better airlines in Peru.

Flights to/from: Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cuzco, Juliaca, Lima, Piura, Puerto Maldonado, Tarapoto and Trujilo.

Safety: Quite a young fleet. No history of accidents in Peru. Safe airline.

Punctuality and reliability: Most often on time. Reasonably punctual and reliable.

Booking: Good

Service: On board service is good. Some reported cases of lost luggage. Customer service is not the best.

Price: This is a reasonable cheap Peruvian airline.

Other remarks: ‘Gringo’ tax (non-Peruvians) on flights to Cuzco and Puerto Maldonado (beware of this when you book!!!). They charge a fee for Seat Assignment Stubs.

Taca airlines logo. Image owned by Taca airlines
Taca airlines logo. Image owned by Taca airlines

Review: Experiences with Peruvian airlines

Background: Peruvian Airlines is relatively new to the market and was founded in 2007.

Flights to/from: Arequipa, Cuzco, Iquitos, Lima, Piura, Tacna, Pucallpa, Tarapoto and Trujillo.

Safety: Old fleet. One time all domestic flights were suspended for 3 months because the airline did not meet security regulations.

Punctuality and reliability: Less punctual than other LAN/TACA/Star in general. They tend to be cancelled / delayed quicker than others (because of the old planes).

Booking: Immediate booking confirmation per email. You can pay by Visa or Mastercard. They clearly state the conditions and what is included in the price. There is a chance you will be asked for your creditcard details by email by Jenny Levano (jenny.levano[at]peruvian.pe). In response we emailed Peruvian airlines just to check if it was safe to send our details to this lady. No response. So, in the end we did not reply to Mrs. Levano, but despite this we did not have problems with our flight.

Service: On board service is good (light snack). Mixed experiences concerning customer service.

Price: This is probably the cheapest airline operator in Peru.

Other remarks: No ‘Gringo’ tax.

Peruvian airlines logo. Image owned by Peruvian airlines
Peruvian airlines logo. Image owned by Peruvian airlines

Some final tips:

–       Compare prices via sites like skyscanner, kayak and expedia
–       Book early
–       Read the general conditions
–       If you have questions, contact the operator before booking
–       After flying report your experience back to BoB!

Final notes

– How did we write this overview? BoB searched the web thoroughly in order to find all recent experiences with the different airlines combined with its own experiences and information from the airline company website. Of course experiences differ per flight.
– ‘Gringo’ tax is implemented in LAN Peru and TACA Peru for certain destinations. It is based on residency (not nationality). ‘Gringo’ tax can be quite high (up to 178 USD).
– How did we compare prices: We checked 2 different domestic flights (Lima-Cusco and Lima-Arequipa) for 3 different dates with each of the different companies combined with traveller’s experiences.
– BoB advices you to always check the latest updates on the airlines website.

The end of our overview

So this was our little overview of the big airlines in Peru. We will not finish with a conclusion that states that ‘… is the best airline in Peru’. However, we hope that you were able to sort out the pros and cons of each operator, to compare them and choose one that is to your liking.

Did you take a domestic flight in Peru? What is your experience with one of the above airlines?

Check out my 12 must try dishes and drinks in Peru!

Love to travel? Join my facebook page :)!

Meet 'travel mastermind' Manouk: a 29-year-old sassy girl from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With BoB she inspires you to explore the world, meet the unexpected and follow your dreams. Happy travels!

22 COMMENTS

    • Hi Bart! You’re welcome! Would be great if you could let us know your experience with the chosen airline operator afterwards :)! Enjoy Peru!

  1. I will.

    Booked Star Peru for a flight from Lima to Cusco and will probably book LAN for a flight from Arequipa to Lima. I don’t think they charge a gringo tax on that route. I can not find it on their website at least and for 100 dollar it’s ok :)

    Thanks.

  2. Hi Bart! Yeah, if they charged Gringo tax it is already included in the ticketprice anyway! Thanks for getting back at us! Look forward to hear about your flights and Peru :)! Cheers, Manouk!

  3. Ah, thanks for the clarification :)

    Cheers en succes met de site, ziet er leuk uit en we zijn in veel dezelfde landen geweest :)

  4. Excellent site you have got here.. It’s
    difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate
    people like you! Take care!!

  5. Hi! I will be at Lima on 27 Dec, is there any possibility if i buy the plane tickets with Peruvian Airlines that will happen a problem with it – like if this will be probable-? like the will cancel the flight or something?
    Please let me know any additional trip tip while visiting Cuzco.

    thanks

    • Hi Gina, of course this depends on the weather conditions etc. There is always a small chance of cancellation (with every flight and with every company). However, due to the planes of Peruvians, they tend to cancel a bit quicker than other companies. Cusco is an amazing city! We stayed at the Pariwana Hostel (we also wrote a review about this) and loved it. In Cusco you can visit the markets and do a walking tour. You can also make arrangements for your visit to Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley. I’d also recommmend a Pisac daytrip from Cusco. This was much fun! Let me know if you have more questions :), Manouk

  6. Thanks for taking the time to put together this amazing website, it is well laid out with very useful information!

    I am due to travel through South America in the Months of October/November, I would be happy to keep you updated on my flight experiences.

    Keep up the great work,

    Rick

    • Hi Rick! Thanks for your kind words. Really appreciate it :)! I’d love to hear about your flight experiences! You can post them here or send me an email! Have a great trip!!

  7. Hi BOB,

    I am on a tight schedule for my trip to peru and looking to book with Star Peru because it is half the price than other sites. Is it really unreliable and has many delays? Or i have a good chance it will be on-time?

    • Hi Nathalie, thanks for your question. Cancellations of delays can occur and this depends on numerous factors. Even if you’d fly with for example LAN there is no guarantee. It’s difficult to give you advice on this. I’d base my final decision on the weather circumstances, how much ‘delay time’ your flight schedule allows and how important getting the flight is etc. Good luck!!

  8. Regarding a one way flight at the end of my Cuzco-machu picture- sacred valley tour from Cuz to Lim: I have a confirmed late night flight on United at 11:30 pm. Only Lan airlines has later flights so I don’t sit in Lima airport al. Afternoon and evening. Is is a safer bet booking on lan because they have 3 other later flights which the others do no

  9. The actual experience of flying with LAN was positive (as in courteous flight attendants, cute little boxes of food, and comfortable seats), but there were some troubles with booking and delays.

    I flew with them from Bogota, Colombia to Lima and then Lima to Arequipa, and then back from Lima intentionally missing our Arequipa-to-Lima flight since we were already in Lima, which automatically canceled our seats on the connecting flight to Bogota. They were pretty bad at contacting us to communicate this fact, and we almost showed up to the airport with no flight waiting for us.

    We managed to secure a seat on another plane by going to a LAN travel agent while in Lima (which you need to show up to around 7AM when they open or wait on a three hour line).

    When flying to Lima to Arequipa, the plane was pretty small and the captain announced that we would be delayed for takeoff for about an hour but he “wasn’t sure why”. He literally said that, in both Spanish and English. Not very comforting!

    In the end, it was all fine, but our travels could have been less stressful if they’d been a bit better at communicating things to us.

  10. Warning! DO NOT FLY LCPERU! They literally ruined two days of our vacation. They changed our departing flight 3 times with no reason as to why. We were flying with a group of 7 and we were all placed on different flights with many hours of difference. We booked our flight 4 months in advance to be able to assure we’d all be together. We had to wait 4 hours at the airport for our whole group to arrive. Then during our return to Lima from Cusco we get there and they booted us to a flight 5 hours later. They claimed that flight was canceled because of weather conditions (it was about 78F and clear). So yes, it was A LIE. We met two other travelers who had boarding passes and were heading to that plane. Looked on the screen and there was our initial flight listed with a gate number. When we tried to address this to the attendant she denied it, we spoke to supervisor and he denied it as well. These people are shameless liars. THEN they pushed our new flight forward by 45 minutes with out any notice. THANFULLY after such a nightmare we decided to get there way in advance and kept checking the boarding screen, otherwise we would’ve missed the flight. On the plane we exchanged nightmare stories with other passengers who had experienced same or worse stories with them. Also, plane was half empty which just showed that many passengers had missed this flight. They are the WORST. If I would’ve known I would’ve thrown down the extra money for any other airline. If you want to get the best out of your trip stay away from LCPeru!

  11. Hello, Thank you for the info! I booked flights today with LC Peru, and I have read some mixed reviews. I also noticed that the above review from Brenda has been copied and pasted to multiple TripAdvisor reviews under different names. I’m curious if it is a legitimate review. Either way, I am booked and plan to make the best of it and report my experience back as well. Great site, by the way! Jessica

    • Hi Jessica! Can you let me know how your flight with LC Peru went? I am thinking of booking with them but am afraid to since I’ve seen some horrible reviews.

  12. Hi,

    Regarding LC Peru, iwas in Peru in May and booked flights between Lima and Huaraz with them. First of all the ticket booking was problematic as i paid online, saw the transaction on my online banking but did not receive an e-ticket from LC Peru. Then they asked for my credit card number and expiration date to confirm the transaction which didn’t make sense because i gave them the transaction number from my bank. Eventually they sent the e -ticket after i threatened them i would cancel the transaction. Now, regarding the actual flight, they rescheduled my first flight for 1 hour later then initially….and worse..they cancelled my returned flight, and offered me a refund or a flight on the next day. I had to be back in Lima on thei nitial flight date so i agreed for a refund and send them the refund form. This was mid May….until today, so after 2 months, they did not refund my money for the cancelled flight. They keep coming up with excuses regarding the bank, and now they don’t even reply to the emails. So all in all i would say they offer very bad services. Try to book another company or just take the night bus instead of a flight.

    Cheers,
    Paul

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