Flying Aerolineas in Argentina
Operating since 1950, Aerolineas flies all over the country of Argentina, as well as internationally around South America, to Spain, Italy, Miami, and even New Zealand and Australia. For those traveling around Argentina, particularly those traveling from Buenos Aires to Patagonia, Aerolineas is the most efficient way to travel. With buses taking close to an entire day to cover the distance between these two regions, airline travel is the most efficient for those with limited time. Two other airlines, LADE and LAN do travel these regions, but LADE has fewer hubs it visits and limited days it operates.
As a frequent international traveler I have flown on a variety of airlines both domestically and internationally. The main reason I choose an airline is based on the price and schedule of the flight. While there have been small, insignificant differences I have noticed on flights, including in-flight entertainment and airline food, I have never experienced an outright awful airline experience—until I flew Aerolineas.
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For starters, I was warned prior to my trip through my Lonely Planet guidebook that the airline was notorious for not leaving on time. I took this into consideration and planned accordingly. However, the lack of organization I encountered was unprecedented. For my return flight from El Calafate, a city located in the Patagonia region, to Buenos Aires, I received an e-mail prior to my flight that it would be delayed. Upon arrival at the airport there seemed to be concern among fellow flyers because the flight was not listed, at all, on the departure screen. The lines to check in were slow, and at one point an airline employee left her post for 15 minutes without securing a replacement for her and held the line up. While waiting in line, another passenger pointed out to me that the destination point had been changed, from Buenos Aires’ domestic airport, to the international airport EZE. Personally, for me, this was preferable as I had an international flight to catch later that evening at EZE. For others, however, this caused great concern over connecting flights they had at the domestic airport, which is a 40 minute cab right (or $160 pesos) from the international airport. The flight eventually took off, approximately an hour and a half after its original departure time. Once the flight landed, and we departed the plane, I realized we had actually landed at the domestic airport and it was now two and a half hours until my next flight took off. While I was able to get to the airport and on my international flight home with enough time, this entire ordeal caused a lot of confusion.
Prior to taking the flight, I heard of similar woes from a friend who had flown to El Calafate from Buenos Aires to meet me. The airlines tend to sell their flights as “direct” when they actually have short stops in between, and the airline had even sent my friend’s, who was traveling on standby, luggage to his destination, even though he had not been able to secure a place on the flight.
While traveling in Latin America I expect times to be flexible and people to be late, but having traveled and flown in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Brazil, this was the first experience I ever had with such mass confusion and disorganization with an airl