Welcome to my Part 2 of Aerolineas Argentinas trip report!
Welcome to Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery Airport at Buenos Aires, Argentina!
After arriving from GRU, Sao Paulo, I had about a few hours to spare. However I decided to catch up on some work during this layover. I manage to catch a glimpse of the city of Buenos Aires on my return flight to this airport where I transferred to EZE airport by taking a coach. Originally I was supposed to stay one night in this city but because I found a chance to fly with BOA (Boliviana De Aviacion) airline, I decided to fly with this airline and it was so happened this airline only fly once a week on that day with a connection at Santa Cruz to São Paulo. The other flight to VVI (Santa Cruz) (morning flight) didn't allow me to connect to the GRU (Sao Paulo) flight therefore my visit to this city has to take place another time.
Since I had ample time, I manage to do a bit of plane spotting at this airport, the traffic was dominated by Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral. FlyBondi, Sky,Jetsmart Argentina, GOL and LATAM aircraft made their presence felt but not as much traffic as Aerolíneas. This is a small airport so slots are limited for take off/landing and parking lots. Every hour there can only be this number of aircraft as the airport has a dedicated number of staff to manage the traffic. There are plans to allow the wide-body aircraft to fly international flights to this airport. From what I know the current runway is able to cope with the weight of the Airbus A330-200, I don't think any bigger size aircraft can be allowed to land or take off at this airport.
While this trip report is about my 100th airline, let’s pause for a while and take a look at my top 20 airlines from the start of my joyride days.
My 100th airline milestone
At a young age (around 19 years old), I always dream about flying and have never thought I would reach this milestone. It has always been my dream to fly as many airlines as possible especially during the period when I was below 18 and Singapore Airlines was the airline I flew the most frequent back then. Once I started working, I saved a bit and started my flying adventure. Initially, I only flew within Asia especially to Taiwan, for those who have been following me for a long time, you notice that most flights I flew on are 5th freedom flights from cities within Asia. It's not until late 2010s that I started venturing outside of my comfort zone. My only regret was not starting this earlier as I have missed out quite a number of great flights. Whatever it is I have to be satisfied with what I have done for my favourite hobby and I am looking forward to more flying trips in the future.
Here are my top 20 airlines (among the 100 airlines flown so far) from 1990 to the present!
I enjoyed my flight experience with this airline as it offers decent products in all the 3 classes. Comparing this airline with the other U.S carriers, I rate this airline highly as it offers complimentary streaming and decent seats. Of course like any other U.S domestic flights, you don’t get hot meals which is because most of these planes do not have ovens installed.
As you all know, Japan is one of the countries that focus heavily on customer service. All my flights with this airline have been great especially flights on the 787-10. The latest Economy Class product featuring the popular Recaro seat has to be one of the best products in the market and with the generous legroom space, adding the wonderful Japanese hospitality, this airline easily slots into my top 20 list.
I flew with this airline before the proposed merger between Asiana and Korean Airlines. It was a great experience flying on the airline's 747 Combi and the A380 from Hong Kong to Seoul and return. Even though the flights were short, I thoroughly enjoy the wonderful service from the crew and the joyrides on the jumbo. However the disappointment with this airline at that point of time was the user-unfriendly website forcing me to purchase my air tickets with this airline through a 3rd party website. Things should have changed now, hopefully.
You guys must be surprised that this airline I recently flown is in my list. Even though I flew just once with this airline, I had a positive impression on the airline. The new cabin products left me impressed and more importantly the service recovery when the flight didn't go according to plan. I am grateful to the friendly staff for assisting me and treated me to a nice upgrade to Azul Space on my replacement flight. Thumbs up to this airline!
This hybrid airline offers a good and comfortable ride for the Economy Class Passengers. I flew this airline a few times on both Malaysia (Malindo Air) and Indonesia subsidiaries of Lion Airlines. Back then, I was amazed with the cabin which comes with the seat-back IFE system that every passenger gets to enjoy. I haven't flown this airline for a while but still it goes into my list of a nice hybrid airline which doesn't cost a lot to fly on both regional and domestic routes.
The last time I flew with British Airways was years ago in the 2000s when the airline was operating with the likes of Boeing 757, 747-400 and the Concorde. I flew this airline with my family quite often on the Boeing 747-400 and one aircraft I will never forget, that is G-BNLK (Water dreaming tail livery) when the World tail livery were in fashion. I flew this airline a good number of times and I enjoy every flight. I do remember visiting the cockpit during the flight and that happened years before 2001. I would love to try out the British Airways of today to compare and of course to see if the airline is better than Virgin Atlantic in Economy Class.
The last time I flew with Cathay Pacific was before the Covid and political unrest at Hong Kong and the airline was one of the best in the world. Unfortunately the airline went downhill due to circumstances beyond its control. I was fortunate to be able to sample its fine products on the older aircraft such as the A340-300 and the newer aircraft, the A350-1000. I was well taken care by the crew and enjoyed the meals. Will we see this airline bouncing back to its good old days? Only time will tell.
Delta Airlines has to be one of my most flown airlines in recent years and now adding the number of Delta airlines flight I flew recently and in the past has to be 2nd most airline flown. Why is this airline in my top 20 list? My flights so far has been pleasant and perhaps fortunate that everything went to plan. The Economy Class products may be not be top notch but at least has a good entertainment system and soon complimentary Wifi will be available on all the aircraft. With a massive network and partners with many reputable airlines, I won't hesitate to choosing this airline for my future travel in the U.S.
This is one of my favourite airlines and I flew quite a number of times to Taipei and even the Hello Kitty planes which attract the general public attention. This airline has improved quite a fair bit especially when the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777-300ER joined the fleet. This is also the first airline to introduce Premium Economy (Elite Class) and I find it to be quite comfortable (back then). However, the airline these days seems to have dropped in standard as I am having difficulty dealing an issue with my mileage account and other minor issue. Anyway, this airline is in my list due to my fond memories of my flying adventure with this airline.
This airline is special to me as I was part of the group that was involved in finding ideas to enhancing passengers' experience in both the airline and the Helsinki Airport. The nice flight experience on the A321, A330 and A340 flights have definitely given this airline a thumb up. Now the airline is flying the A350 on long haul routes, I have yet to experience it, perhaps in the near future. What is memorable for me is my first long haul business class goes to this airline's A340-300 from Tokyo Narita to Helsinki.
This airline is one of those that suffer heavy losses especially during the Covid pandemic. Fortunately it was able to regroup and currently recovering. I was fortunate to be able to experience good service on my 3 flights with the airline, flying the airline's A330-200, Boeing 737-800 and the CRJ-1000. What strikes me with this airline is the delicious meals I received and the in-flight service was also quite good. I remember the price was quite expensive as I suppose you pay more for a premium carrier which offers better in-flight experience than the low cost airlines.
The last time I flew on this airline when it was operating Boeing 747s. I had the honour of flying the airline's Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 777-200 and 777-300ER and Boeing 747-400. In fact my first Boeing 777-300ER goes to JA731J when I flew it from Tokyo NRT to Singapore. Lots of fond memories especially the exceptional service I received on all my flights. The most memorable was my ride from Tokyo NRT to Amsterdam AMS airport because that specific 747-400 aircraft I flew on had Economy Class on the upper deck and of course I chose a window seat there and there wasn't anyone sitting beside me, to make it even better. I hope to fly on the airline's 787 and 350 aircraft in the near future.
This has to be one of the airlines I wanted to fly for a very long time and I manage to do so flying one of the international configured A321NEO and the experience was fantastic. Complimentary wifi and personalised In-Flight System made the 4 hours + hop on the transcontinental flight go past very fast and it was certainly one of the best U.S domestic flights so far. On top of that, the cabin crew were friendly and the seats were comfortable. Even the ERJ-190 with the older cabin, was quite nice and comfortable on the short hop from JFK to BOS.
This is my 60th airline and I would never forget as I celebrated it with the crew on the 747-400. It also happens that the 747-400 flight I took was on the popular Gimpo to Jeju route and that happens to be my shortest wide-body flight in my flight logbook. Up till today, no other flights come close to breaking this record. I also flew with the airline's Boeing 737-900 (Non-ER) and the 777-200ER and my experience with this airline have been fantastic. I hope to fly with this Skyteam member in the near future, perhaps for the airline's Boeing 787-9.
I had wonderful memories of my time flying with this airline quite often when I was young. I flew on the airline's Boeing 737-400, 800, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200ER and the Airbus A330-300 and my memories of the airline has been positive. Somehow I feel the airline in the past was better especially during the 747-400 days. My last flight with this airline happened quite a few years ago and it was nothing spectacular. Anyway, I am looking forward to flying the airline's 737 MAX 8 and A330-900NEO in the near future.
This airline, my national airline, is the most flown airline from young till today and I have plenty of wonderful memories. I get to fly on the classic aircraft such as the Boeing 727, Airbus A310, A340-300 and of course the Queen of the skies, the Boeing 747. The most memorable flights have to be the 747-400 Farewell flight on 9V-SPQ, I flew from Singapore to Hong Kong and return on the same day and met a lot of cool people on board including the famous aviation enthusiast, Sam Chui. This airline is definitely one of the top airlines in my list and I will fly with the airline from time to time. Main priority now is to try out new airlines.
Copa Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in South and Central America. You can see them almost everywhere in those region. I added this to my list because I enjoyed my flights with them on the older Business Class product and the new product, the service on both flights were great and I enjoyed the in-flight meal and the lie-flat bed on the 737 MAX 9 flight. (Stay tuned for my trip reports). My longest flight on this aircraft goes to the 737 MAX 9 which flew me from PTY to SCL, the flight time was 6 hours and considering I flew on Business Class, the flight went past very fast as I slept for most parts of the flight. It was very comfortable but I am not sure if I can say the same if I was on Economy Class.
Thai Airways, like Malaysia Airlines are struggling financially and this airline used to operate so many different aircraft types and most of us were wondering how is the airline coping with such a variety. Maintainence cost has to be very high and back in the 2000s, when flying with this airline, you will be worrying about the last minute aircraft change because this airline used to be very good at changing your aircraft type at a last minute. My favourite moments were flying the A340-600 and the Airbus A380 (2nd flight in service) as there were many aviation enthusiasts were on board the aircraft and I remember the flight was quite turbulent but I enjoyed it on the comfort of the business class seat.
Thanks to the presence of this airline, airfares have been quite competitive among the big players and that's good for us. What is really special about this airline is the massive fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777s. I flew with this ariline quite a number of times from 15 years ago and recently and the airline's products have evolved during this period, making the ride especially in cattle class more comfortable and giving the general public more reason to choosing this airline ahead of others.
I thoroughly enjoy flying with this airline for the wonderful products and service on all my 4 flights with the airline. It is an easy decision to add this to my top 20 list because of my fond memories especially on my recent flights with the A330NEO. I am very impressed with how innovate the airline is with good and comfortable seats, great IFE system and excellent in-flight service. Only thing I hope the airline will improve on is the quality of the food especially in Economy Class. Now I still have the airline's Boeing 787-9 aircraft to fly, so watch this space!
I hope you enjoy this portion of my blog post so with that is done, let's continue the trip report!
Layover at AEP airport
I spent the time doing some plane spotting as the windows are photography-friendly and basically just wait for the time to tick down for my next flight.
This is the old livery of Aerolineas Argentinas.
At that point of time, it was quiet as a few flights just departed.
You can see for yourself which airline dominates this airport.
I wanted to fly with Flybondi, but booking with the expensive airfare and not so convenient flight time mean next time hopefully.
This is where my flight was departing.
I noticed quite a number of Asian travellers and local school kids travelling on this flight and it turned out be around 90% full.
Once again, our aircraft was parked at a remote parking lot, so we had to take an airport bus over to our aircraft. I am glad it wasn't the same plane.
How many of you enjoy boarding the aircraft by the stairs? I certainly do.
My ride: LV-FQB (Photo: Alejandro Torres)
Ex-Air Berlin Aircraft (2011 to 2013)
Delivered to AR in December 2013
Engines: 2 X CFM56- 7B26E
Configuration: C8 Y174
Age: 11+ Years old (July 2023)
3,777th Boeing 737
Built in Renton (RNT)
My flight route: AEP-SCL
Date of departure: 1st June 2023
Airline: Aerolineas Argentinas
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Schedule departure: 1945
Push back: 1947
Take off: 1956
Flight duration: 2 hours
Actual flight time: 2 hours 1 min
Schedule arrival: 2105
Actual arrival: 2057
Departure runway: 13
Arrival runway: 17R
My in-flight experience
About an hour before the departure time, there were passengers queueing up for the flight, and when it was time to board, the airports staff managed to arrange everything in order and we boarded the aircraft quickly. This time, I managed to board early but when I was walking down the aerobridge, I realised we were walking towards the ground floor which means one thing, our aircraft was parked at a remote parking lot. Once we reached the aircraft, I boarded and notice the different interior of the cabin. The black leather seats in my opinion looks better and it was comfortable.
I sat besides this nice old lady, unfortunately (or fortunately) I couldn't speak Spanish and she chat with the school boy sitting at the aisle seat for most of the time. Our aircraft departed on time and it was another 2 hours flight. I managed to catch a bit of nap but was awake when the snack/drink was served. This time just a chocolate cake and a drink. There was no BOB (Buy on Board) service on both flights.
We touched down smoothly at SCL airport and this time my ears were ok, no issue at all. Am I getting off at SCL Airport? Nope, I was to made my way to the transfer counter to check in for my LATAM flight to Bogota via Lima the following day. What's special about this flight is I would be flying on Business Class and would get access to the new LATAM lounge which I will do a review on my next blog post.
Economy Class Seats
If you have read my part 1, you notice something different from the photos below. The cabin seats are different. Comparing this and the seats on my previous flight, these seats are more comfortable. Why the different seats you must be wondering. Well, these aircraft are leased from different lessors (leasing company) and they are delivered without much changes to the seats from the previous airlines that operated these aircraft.
This is ex-Air Berlin's cabin, this airline ceased operation in 2017 and the fleet had been leased to other airlines including Aerolineas Argentinas.
The rear of the cabin was dominated by group of school children, fortunately they were not noisy.
The emergency seats
This is the view from my seat.
The old leather seat is definitely more comfortable than the seats on my previous flight.
This is my seat.
Leaving the aircraft at this time.
These seats are the same as my previous flight.
More photos of my seat
The seats are showing their age as you can see the condition.
Legroom space was good, my guess is 31" inches.
The mood lighting of the cabin
It was dinner time, shouldn't we get a hot sandwich at least? This was disappointing.
Window shot photos
Rolling down the runway at AEP.
We took off smoothly into the skies.
We landed early and parked at an airport gate.
My flight summary
Welcome to Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, Santiago - Chile!
Once landed, I made my way to the transit transfer counter to look for LATAM to get my boarding pass. I wasn't able to do the online check-in presumably the staff need to check my onward itinerary since I booked a one-way ticket. More on this in my next trip report.
Airline's website/mobile app: 3/5
Airport staff at AEP Airport: 3/5
In-Flight Service: 3.5/5
In-Flight Experience: 4/5
In-Flight Entertainment System: 0/5
Cleanliness ot the cabin: 3/5
Seat Comfort: 4/5
In-Flight Snack: 2.5/5
Cabin interior: 4/5
Overall rating: 32/50
Air fares in South America aren't cheap as they can be quite high at certain times of the year due to demand and also the lack of compeition on certain routes allows the sole or duo players to raise the airfare high. I am lucky enough to be able to purchase this Aerolineas Argentinas airfare at a reasonable price. Usually for the frequent travellers in South America, most will opt for direct routing and when I did my booking with this airline, I find this airfare cheaper than the direct ones. It didn't take too long for me to decide as I knew I have to add this airline to my logbook. Is it money well spent? Yes for the experience plus I always like stop-overs as I can get to fly on another aircraft (most of the time). If you do decide to fly with this airline especially on the 737NG, do remember to bring along your own source of entertainment especially flying on daytime flights.
Currently, the airline is taking in more Boeing 737 MAX 8, as they will replace the 737NG and once the contract is ending, they are likely to be returned to the lessor. I checked out the trip reports of others, these new planes together with 8 737-800 aircraft do have wireless IFE system which can be used for streaming on your own device. Whether the Wifi is working on your flight is another story as a few friends of mine tried to access it, was not able to do so.
I enjoyed my flight experience on both flights with the 2nd flight being my preferred flight as the seats were more comfortable and more importantly, my ears had no issue when the aircraft landed at Santiago Airport. The in-flight service on both flights were good and the crew were able to communicate in English, so for those worrying about the language barrier, you dont have to. Would I recommend this airline? Yes, it is well connected in its network and also a member of the Skyteam which means you can earn miles if you have a membership of another airline in this alliance. Don't expect too much when flying with this airline as it is more of a point A to B carrier. While you might experience good in-flight service, the cabin can be basic (depends on aircraft type) and in-flight meal or snack lacking on regional flights.
Hope you enjoy this trip report!
For my part 1 of Aerolineas Argentina trip report, click here.
For my next blog post: A Review of LATAM's Newest Airport Lounge at Santiago Airport (SCL), click here.