Marambio From Argentina, joined Oct 2004, 1172 posts, RR: 24 Posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 6280 times:
Reasons for the trip – Since weather in Buenos Aires is too hot and humid in December and January, it was time to elope to nicer places for a couple of weeks. The Argentine Northwest, although also quite hot, is always nice and full of people I’m fond of, so I decided to escape there.
Booking – The cheapest fare to anywhere in the Northwest was quoted at LAN’s Argentina-based website, and even though I wasn’t going to Salta, the price difference was worth the drive from the cities I was to go. Booking and purchase were done using my credit card. The site (www.lan.com) is very well done and in no time the ticket confirmation was e-mailed to me. It is a shame, however, that LAN does not allow seat selection for its cheapest fares.
LAN Argentina 4M 4112
AEP Buenos Aires Aeroparque – SLA Salta Martín Miguel de Güemes
28 December 2007
Seat 23A – Economy Class
Airbus A320-200 – LV-BFO
Check-in – I used the web check-in feature so that I could get a decent seat. I was surprised when I noticed I was sequence number 20 even though I checked me in some 40 hours before departure. Got to AEP about an hour before departure and proceeded to the empty “Check-in en LAN.com” counters, where I dropped off my luggage and the agent told me our flight was on time. Whilst 4M’s counters were almost empty, Aerolíneas’ were a huge mess with flight departing to almost everywhere in the country.
LAN Argentina counters at AEP
Boarding – After a quick breakfast and a last smoke, it was time to go through security which, as usual at AEP, had a huge queue but went quickly. Boarding was very organized and done through one of the aerobridges, and in no time I was onboard LV-BFO. The flight was completely packed, mainly with porteño backpackers – it has become some sort of tradition for people 18-30 from Buenos Aires to go to the Northwest and see “deep Argentina” for some weeks. Usually these folks go by bus, but LAN’s prices are almost at the same level, and nobody can resist 2 hours by plane instead of 18 hours by bus.
LV-BFO waiting for us
Flight – Typically LAN, seat pitch was very tight and service was quite robotic, with no smiles or anything. Catering consisted of the classical unhappy meal box, with an alfajor (chocolate candy) and some cookies. I ordered a Coke and the attendant instead gave me an orange juice – maybe because it was December 28th, our version of April 1st? Weather was terrific, so I had the chance to take some pictures. “Just for Laughs” gags were shown on the screens, but as usual nobody paid attention to them. Different announcements were done regarding the airline – check in yourself at LAN.com, check your flight status by sending a text message to 20800, etc.. Landing was 15 minutes ahead on schedule and Andes’ third, all-white MD-83 could be spotted at the provincial facilities. Andes is Salta’s state-owned airline.
Buenos Aires as seen from the air
City of Zárate
Unhappy meal box, "In" in-flight magazine and a leaflet advertising LAN's check-your-flight-status text message system
Laguna Mar Chiquita (Small Sea Lake)
Desert in Northern Córdoba
Benjamín Matienzo Airport of San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina's 4th largest city (TUC / SANT)
Approach into Salta, overflying the Valle de Lerma (Lerma Valley)
Andes' 3rd MD-83 at SLA's provincial facilities
Baggage claim – Luggage came in no time, and we even had a souvenir of last October’s elections, courtesy of president Cristina Kirchner and salteño governor Juan Manuel Urtubey, who, at 38, is Argentina’s youngest governor.
Kirchner for President, Juan Manuel for Governor
Verdict – Another average LAN flight. When you pay a very good price, you cannot expect a terrific level of service. LAN’s strongest point is punctuality, which once again was remarkable.
Other pictures – I have noticed some fellow a.netters add pictures of the places they have been to, and I thought I could do the same, so here are some pictures of Argentina’s Northwest.
Tafí del Valle, Tucumán
Desert near Santa María, Catamarca
Early morning in Iturbe, Jujuy
Thanks for reading and, as usual, comments and feedback are really appreciated.
[Edited 2008-01-14 23:19:21]
Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo
Comeflywithme From Argentina, joined Sep 2006, 265 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6036 times:
Really interesting report Marambio, thanks for posting it. I must say that the place called Iruya looks rather precariously located judging by your picture,in between the mountain slopes it looks in danger of being swept away in a flash flood or landslide.
Quoting Marambio (Thread starter): Other pictures – I have noticed some fellow a.netters add pictures of the places they have been to, and I thought I could do the same, so here are some pictures of Argentina’s Northwest.
= Thanks for a great report. When I first read "deep Argentina", I copied requesting pictures ... but you fulfilled my desires . Thanks again.
PS: I consider LAN like the Lufthansa of Latin America. Efficient, Robotic, On-Time, but without any warmth whatsoever.
Marambio From Argentina, joined Oct 2004, 1172 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5862 times:
Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 1):
Your TR brings me really great memories of this same trip last August when I visited Salta and la Quebrada de Humahuaca valley... really great although it was winter and nights were freezing.
Well, in the Quebrada nights were also quite cold, especially in the town of Humahuaca. I have been there in winter, and you bet it is freezing!
Quoting Comeflywithme (Reply 2): I must say that the place called Iruya looks rather precariously located judging by your picture,in between the mountain slopes it looks in danger of being swept away in a flash flood or landslide.
It is part of its charm.
Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 3):
When I first read "deep Argentina", I copied requesting pictures ... but you fulfilled my desires
Well, these are just random pictures that do not make any justice to the variety and colours of the Northwest's landscapes. You must come here and experience it by yourself.
Re the comparison with LH, I completely agree. They get you from A to B on-time and with reasonably-new airplanes, but don't expect anything beyond that.
Thanks for your comments.
[Edited 2008-01-15 11:12:46]
Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo
MD11junkie From Argentina, joined May 2005, 3151 posts, RR: 56
Reply 6, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5613 times:
Yet another great trip report. My trip to IGR on LAN was exactly the same as yours to SLA. Punctual, and decent - no warmth, no smiles. Just simply get the service done, but certainly not mediocre. The price was worth it, and even I expected a crappy service, LAN surprised me with an international standard, efficient (if that were to be the word) service.
I hope I can fly more domestic legs with LAN on my upcoming summer holidays.
Thanks for sharing.
Great trip report, as usual!
There is no such thing as Boeing vs Airbus as the queen of the skies has three engines, winglets and the sweetest nose!
Latinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2754 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (7 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4899 times:
As usual, very nice trip report Marambio. It is with great delight to read your interesting reports about your country because you try to give us new perspectives of other regions of Argentina. While most people associate Argentina just to Buenos Aires your trips to places like Tucuman and Juyuy demonstrate the rich diversity that the country has to offer, and that I dare say, even some Argentine people don't know about. Keep up the good work my friend.