Travel Alert October 2019: Civil Unrest in Chile

If Chile is in your travel plans this week, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to civil unrest in that country.

Travel Alert October 2019: Civil Unrest in Chile

The United States Embassy in Chile has issued this official demonstration alert for today, Sunday, October 20, 2019…

As of Sunday, October 20, the Chilean government has declared a state of emergency in the following areas:

Metropolitan Region of Santiago
• Region of Coquimbo
Region of Valparaiso
• Region of O’Higgins
Region of Bio-Bio

These locations continue to be sites of on-going protests and looting, some of which have resulted in acts of violence. Many protests and looting are spontaneous, and local authorities are unable to predict where they will happen. Several groups have called for demonstrations in Santiago for Monday, October 21.

Areas included in the declaration of a state of emergency have been and may continue to be subject to curfews in the evening enforced by government security forces. Citizens should continue to follow media reports and local government announcements closely.

Public transportation in these areas may be severely affected. Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago is currently experiencing widespread delays and flight cancellations. Transportation to and from the airport may also be affected. Anyone with travel plans should contact their airline directly for flight information.

No official security alert has been issued as a result of the civil unrest; but normal precautions should be exercised.

Santiago metro

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The civil unrest reportedly began with an increase in the cost of riding the Metro in Santiago; but despite the decision of Sebastián Piñera — who is the current president of Chile — to suspend those price increases, protests continued with demonstrators looting shops and businesses, burning buses, and firebombing the headquarters of an energy company.

Additionally, at least 78 Metro stations in Santiago have either been destroyed, burnt or damaged; and greater than 700 Chilean protesters have been arrested.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to Chile this week, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to the civil unrest which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating conditions and traffic problems.

Here are two airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this civil unrest:

  • LATAM has issued travels alert for airports in Chile for Sunday, October 20, 2019 through Tuesday, October 22, 2019; and although the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin has not been specified, 29 flights have already been canceled and more may be listed.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued a travel alert for Santiago de Chile for Saturday, October 19, 2019 through Monday, October 21, 2019; and Monday, October 28, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.


When I was in Chile for the total eclipse of the sun back on Tuesday July 2, 2019, I personally witnessed what appeared to be Chilean motorists protesting with their vehicle horns wildly at every toll booth all the way to Los Vilos — which is approximately halfway between the path of totality and Santiago — after being stuck in miles upon miles upon miles of traffic.

Literally hundreds of cars lined the shoulder of the southbound lanes of the highway because their drivers decided to sleep there for the night — although I would not be surprised if some of the cars were out of fuel…

…so I can only imagine how Chileans would have passionately reacted to an announcement of the increase in fares for the Metro in Santiago.

Do not be surprised if additional airlines issue travel waivers as a result of the civil unrest in Chile.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

All photographs and video ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “Travel Alert October 2019: Civil Unrest in Chile”

  1. Carlos says:

    Normally when people want to protest an entity they feel is unfair or abusive, they boycott it and let that economic loss be their leverage. This is nothing but mostly communist rioting that whips up the mob. Given Chile’s history, they are no stranger to communism, see Salvador Allende. Our CIA may have helped take him out and Pinochet (who was little better with his own fascist tyranny) may have taken his revenge on the communist vermin, but communism is a turd that won’t flush and is always lurking in the background, waiting for any excuse to pop up and wreak havoc. Thank you JFK, for chickening out on Cuba, betraying the Bay of Pigs patriots and allowing Castro to plant the first seed of Marxist tyranny and atrocity that has metastasized throughout Latin America! Look at Central & South America today, there’s hardly a nation that’s unaffected by some degree of communism. These nations are rife with corrupt, thieving governments and have no stable democracy or political will to take out these scumbags. What needs to happen in Chile is what I’ve applied to ALL that region-ZERO American tourism or purchasing of their products, mostly wines or coffee. I don’t set foot in any of these places and neither should anyone else who values decency and their own safety.

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