The ticket price did play a part in my decision of flying on Dec 25 as opposed to Dec 23 or 24. It would have cost about $500 more to fly on the Friday or Saturday leading up to Christmas, and so it was a pretty simple choice for me, especially when one thinks about the problems of onward travel once I was to arrive at Santiago. If I arrived at Santiago on December 24 (having left on December 23), I would have been one of the many many people who were jockeying for tickets and seats on the buses down to Concepcion. Furthermore, if I would have left on December 24, I would have arrived in Santiago on December 25, and would likely have to stay in a hotel in Santiago, since many services would have been shut down (or severely diminished). In other words, it would have been even more expensive and hectic than landing on Boxing Day. (Do they celebrate Boxing Day in Chile? I don't know...)
Still, the travel down will be kind of interesting in itself. It is already 12:40pm, and I am seated in a nearly empty airport, with only light traffic. I was happy to learn that the extra bag that I had packed full of presents would be able to be carried on, saving me $30 on a second-bag check-in fee. However, I had to do a quick series of mental gymnastics to try and remember whether I had packed liquids or sharps in the bag. Ummm..... nope. And with that, I went to the rather light (but also lightly staffed) security line. Of course, they pulled my bag, pulled out all the presents and ran them through again. (Seeing that most of the presents are food-related -- wild rice and coffee -- they came out as quite dense on the screen, causing a little consternation.
Following a re-pack, I walked down to the gate, and tried to get onto the Boingo hotspot (seeing that I would be in an airport for at least another 7 hours in Dallas, I thought that this would be a good expedient). When I pulled out the card for payment, I realized that I hadn't told the credit union that I would be using the card in Chile, and I frantically tried to call them, to be told that they were on holiday hours, and to please call back after the holidays. Oooh, shit. Zipping over to their website, I learned that they wouldn't be open on Dec 26, killing the fleeting hope that perhaps I could Skype-call them when I landed in Santiago tomorrow morning, but no such luck... Fortunately, a quick Google search showed that there are American Airlines Credit Union ATMs at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport; as part of the COOP network, I shouldn't be charged the $2-$3 transaction fees at a non-COOP ATM.
Well, this will be an interesting trip, I think. Not too hectic, either, I hope.
Fingers crossed, and Happy Christmas!