Chile 2012: Daylight Savings Time in Chile (or lack thereof…)

by | Apr 23, 2012 | International Travel, Travel


It all started on Sunday, our last day at Tierra Atacama. We awoke at our normal time of 8am-ish and started packing up our bags before heading to breakfast around 8:45. Our Cejar Lagoon tour wasn’t until 9:30, so we had plenty of time. However, at around 8:35am, our phone rings — it’s our guide telling us he’s waiting for us in the lobby. Considering both our phones (and Google!) said that the local time in Chile was 8:35am, we were a tad surprised to learn it was actually 9:35am. Upon arriving at the lobby (and hastily covering ourselves in sunblock and grabbing a breakfast roll), the front desk staff was trying to explain what happened by showing us that their phones also said it was an hour earlier. Apparently, Chile decided relatively recently to NOT participate in DST until the end of April, but the software on most phones and computers had not been updated so those devices sprang forward along with North America.

Honestly, this is still a bit confusing to me as both Eric and I had our phones in airplane mode, so they shouldn’t have been downloading time data from the local network. Plus, various other guests also received strange emails from their airlines stating that their flights were now leaving an hour later… even though the time in Chile hadn’t changed.

We made it back to Santiago without incident, only to have a similar problem the following day, only this time it was an hour EARLIER. Thanks to the lack of daylight savings time, I had to hurry up because I was an hour late and then sit around for over an hour because I was too early.

Fast forward to our last day in Santiago. We thought it would be a good idea to get to the airport a little early for our 8:10pm flight so we could relax in the lounge and have a glass of wine. Juan Antonio (our driver from the day before) picked us up around 4 and we were at the airport by 4:45pm. To our dismay, we couldn’t find the American Airlines check-in desk and after asking around, we discovered that the desk wouldn’t open until 5:30pm. As people started to line up next to us and no progress was being made by 5:45, one of the ladies (who spoke fluent Spanish) discovered that the desk wasn’t opening until 6:30pm because our flight was now leaving at 9:10pm. Not DELAYED, mind you; the flight time changed because of daylight savings time.

As you can imagine, I was pretty furious at this point… partially due to lack of communication from the staff in light of the 50+ people standing around looking confused and also because we never got an email from American that the flight time was now different. Let’s just say I will never be arriving to the Santiago airport more than two hours before my international flight. You can’t even check in!

Overall, our trip was fantastic, but I would seriously reconsider traveling to South America during DST in the future.

Tagged with: Chile | Chile 2012

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