Transpac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3155 posts, RR: 14 Posted (5 years 6 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 14743 times:
I hadn't really planned on doing any international trips this summer, but with AA's announcement of the termination of ORD-EZE, I decided I needed to get on the flight before it's gone. So, after some quick last-minute planning, I threw together an itinerary to get on AA961 ORD-EZE and AA 964 EZE-ORD. Many thanks to LAXdude1023 for his help in answering my countless questions about EZE before taking this trip!!
13 June 2008
Block Time: 11 hours, 05 minutes
Seat: 2A, NextGen Business Class
Well, this was my second trip into the southern hemisphere, my first being to SYD back in April. As usual, my work and school schedules prevented me from getting any decent amount of time off for a proper vacation, so I was only going to have 11 hours to visit EZE. Turned out to be enough time to see a good bit of stuff though - Argentina is a very cool country.
Anyhow, the road to ORD was a bit of a long one. Of course the DEN-ORD flights were oversold, so I listed on NW DEN-MSP-ORD. I got to MSP just fine, only to find out MSP-ORD was canceled. The storms that have been hammering the US midwest passed over ORD, which of course created a operational meltdown akin to Three Mile Island. Of course it happened on Friday the 13th too, and that was the day I needed to get to ORD. So, by pure luck and the grace of the nonrev gods of wrath, I got on a UA flight MSP-ORD which was wideopen. Even then, I had about 8 hours to burn in ORD, so I walked around and did some sight-seeing.
AA158, ORD-DME, in final boarding
N792AN, pushing back for Moscow - DME
As an aside, my next "goal" flight is to get on AA158/159 to Moscow. I've wanted to see Russia forever, and with relatively light load factors I'd imagine the ORD-DME route won't last too long at AA. Afterall, ORD-EZE route lifespan will be 9 months from start to finish, so if ORD-DME lasts the same approximate amount of time, I have until March to get on it. So, awhile yet, but the sand in the hourglass is falling!!
Gate screen for AA961 to EZE
The 767 seems to be a bit of an unsung hero, so to speak, in terms of longhaul workhorses. I never quite fully appreciated how long-ranged those planes are. EZE-ORD has a blocktime of 11:30 currently, and I believe it was 11:45 during the winter. Impressive long flight for a 763.... they seem to have a range near of what the A332 does. Maybe not in published figures, but in flights that are actually done, the 763 can definitely hold its own. I know DL has a route or two that eclipses 12 hours in duration, requiring a full double crew (4 pilots) on the 763.
Cabin of N399AN during pre-boarding. I love the AA NextGenBiz seat.
Slightly different angle of Business cabin. The flight went wide-open... easy to tell why AA is terminating the route, unfortunately.
View out the window. The Super 80 next door was going to SFO, I believe.
During boarding, AA plays this very nice music, which I could only describe as being music off of one of those "Songs that promote sleep" CD's. Very soothing & relaxing. In addition to this, they show pictures and short video clips over all the cabin screens of waterfalls, the beach, snowy mountains, and other various relaxing nature scenes. It's quite nice!!
Sorry for the weird lighting - pic of boarding video being played.
Looking across row 2. No one in sight.... quite nice!!
Boarding went quickly for such a light load factor. I almost felt bad for AA, as there was a very slim chance they were actually making money on the flight. Hopefully they had a good cargo load. We departed exactly on time. During taxi, menus were handed out and dinner orders taken. The FA's also handed out the eternally glorious Bose noise-canceling headsets.
Takeoff out of ORD
The dinner service was fantastic. I've experienced World Business Class on NWA, First Class and Business Class on UA, and NextGen Business Class on AA. Of the three, AA wins by a longshot as far as quantity and quality of food goes. NW would be an easy second, and UA would be a bit of a distant third. The seat comfort too, AA also easily wins again. AA's NextGenBiz seat got a hot & cold reception on a.net. It's interesting to note though, most of the complaints come from people who judge through pictures and not having actually flown in them. The seats have VERY comfortable preset positions. The lie-flat sleep mode is also fantastic, very conducive to 8-9 hours of sleep on the long flights.
Sunrise on descent into EZE
We flew right over EZE, which gave an interesting aerial perspective of the airport. Maybe it's just me, but it seems a lot smaller than most major international airports... only a handful of gates.
Domestic terminal at EZE. It's in such bad shape that all you can do is chuckle.
AA's domestic product has slipped quite a ways in recent years, but their international product is still fantastic. Dinner service is excellent, and their new business seats were not a half-assed upgrade by any means. Those seats are quite nice and will definitely keep them competitive, even with the likes of UA's new business class. Their entertainment players are quite nice, though I'd only suggest one thing done differently. You cannot assemble your own music playlists from them, you have to listen to their pre-set playlists. So, in that way, it's almost like channelized audio, not Audio On Demand.
N399AN at gate on arrival in EZE.
14 June 2008
Block Time: 11 hours, 30 minutes
Seat: 5G, NextGen Business Class
For having only 11 hours layover in EZE, I actually got to see quite a bit. I will say, I definitely need to go back. Argentina is VERY cool. I'm hoping to go later in July or August... when it's the height of winter down there and the low-point of tourist season - still good for nonrevving!!
Streets of Buenos Aires. Interesting to me was how EZE looked more like Europe than Central or South America (my own preconception).
Check in area of the international terminal.
Easily the largest duty free shopping area I have ever seen. The place was absolutely huge.
Even though there were window seats available on the way home, there were none with the aisle seat vacant next to them. I decided I wanted direct aisle access for a few frequent bathroom breaks (Argentinean wine is really good), so I got Biz seat 5G for the return flight on AA964. While the load factor was heavier, it was still quite light and I was the only nonrev on the entire plane.
View down the aisle, during final boarding just prior to closing the door.
Again, the dinner service was fantastic, my compliments to AA. For entertainment I watched a few episodes of one of my favorite shows "The Office" (US version). After that I watched "Jumper", which was an entertaining movie, IMO. After that, I hit the sack and was out like a light until breakfast. Actually, I take that back. Somewhere overwater between the northern tip of South America and the southern tip of Florida, we ran into some ROUGH turbulence. I might have slept through the initial few bumps, but it got violently rough VERY quickly. I was in the full flat recline when I woke up. I'm the type who enjoys turbulence, so I just went back to sleep "enjoying the ride", so to speak. With a few glances around though, some people were beginning to look pretty nervous as water bottles and other items were being bounced off tray tables and the like.
Waiting for the door to be opened on arrival into ORD.
AA964 is scheduled to arrive into ORD at 505am, and we arrived near exactly at that mark. Luckily we were the first plane into the customs hall at ORD. Incidentally, passing through customs was the quickest it has ever been for me anywhere. The time from stepping off the 767 into the gate until stepping outside the doors after clearing the customs hall I would guess took no longer than 2 to 3 minutes - no exaggeration.
Well, that's it for my first trip to South America. Can't wait to go back either. Just this time around I needed to make sure I got on both AA961 and AA964 before they're both terminated in September. Thanks for reading, and all comments & responses appreciated!!
AlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 14 Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 14728 times:
Very nice report and pictures.
Buenos Aires is said to be the Paris of South America and I can imagine it lives up to that expectation. If your planning on going back to South America I'd highly recommend heading over to Santiago, Chile. I was traveling around Chile for 2 weeks this past March and it is such a beautiful country!
CityofAthens From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 21 hours ago) and read 14161 times:
Thanks for taking the photos, the NG Biz looks quite comfortable ... you certainly chose the right flights to non-rev on ... plenty of space to stretch out ... not that you would need it, seated as you were at the front.
I'm curious, do AA non-revs get F or J as a matter of course, or do you have to hold some sort of status within the company?
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 20 hours ago) and read 13984 times:
Buenos Aires is a lovely city and I wish I would have spent more than 12 hours there. (I just went to fly a 777).
Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter): Even though there were window seats available on the way home, there were none with the aisle seat vacant next to them. I decided I wanted direct aisle access for a few frequent bathroom breaks
I have heard that if you're in a window or middle seat and the person on the aisle seat is in full recline, it is impossible to get out.
Definitely want to try. IIRC, AA has two flights there, from MIA and from DFW. So, maybe next round I'll try Chile.
Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 4): Is it centralized or near any beaches, waters or anything?
The airport itself isn't that close, but from what I could tell a short drive would bring you to the coastal waters and beaches.
Quoting CityofAthens (Reply 8): I'm curious, do AA non-revs get F or J as a matter of course, or do you have to hold some sort of status within the company?
No status or time of employment is required, just the payroll deduction of any/all nonrev charges (if any are applicable - domestic coach is free, for example)) whenever you travel.
Quoting Triple7man (Reply 9): I have heard that if you're in a window or middle seat and the person on the aisle seat is in full recline, it is impossible to get out.
Pretty much, but to be fair this is the case with most all business class seats. NW, UA, and especially UA's new seat.
Quoting Albird87 (Reply 10): Glad to see that AA are getting rid of this route if its not performing!
I was hoping the route would be a long-run route for AA, but I guess not. At least the planes will be used on a different 'new' route - at least I hope so. Still awaiting the announcement for the long awaited DFW-MAD!!
Tsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 4 hours ago) and read 12784 times:
Finally a trip on this route from my home town! Good stuff. Sad AA will take it away. I wanted to take this trip next year. Now I will have to connect somewhere else. O well....DFW or MIA??? hmmmmmmmmmm
Tsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 3 hours ago) and read 12754 times:
Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter): Streets of Buenos Aires. Interesting to me was how EZE looked more like Europe than Central or South America (my own preconception).
I have read too many times how BA is the Europe or Paris of South American
Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter): AA964 is scheduled to arrive into ORD at 505am, and we arrived near exactly at that mark. Luckily we were the first plane into the customs hall at ORD. Incidentally, passing through customs was the quickest it has ever been for me anywhere. The time from stepping off the 767 into the gate until stepping outside the doors after clearing the customs hall I would guess took no longer than 2 to 3 minutes - no exaggeration.
I have worked first shift and have done morning overtime in T5 enough to know that that is the BEST time to arrive from an international trip. It is so quiet and relaxing then!
AznMadSci From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 3583 posts, RR: 5 Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 2 hours ago) and read 12722 times:
Hey! You should really go back and spend more time in Buenos Aires! Did you at least get a nice piece of steak??? I enjoyed my first time there in August because it was a bit cooler and rainy, but for me anything better than the heat and humidity of Houston! US Tourist wise, there was a nice count on my flight a few yrs ago, esp those bringing ski equipment to ski up around the Andes.
Thanks again for sharing and look forward to another trip!
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
Don't forget JFK too, haha. Tough choice though. If the bottom line is the concern then just go for the cheapest obviously, but if not, MIA has the 777 to EZE if you prefer those over the 763's. I love my 767's, so I don't mind them at all!! Some people tend to prefer the 777 a lot more though. Just a matter of personal choice, really.
Quoting Tsaord (Reply 16): that that is the BEST time to arrive from an international trip.
So I've heard. I know someone who flies AA to DEL on a fairly regular basis, and the DEL flight arrives really early too, around 500am or so. They say the customs hall is almost always empty too, even if they arrive after the EZE flight.
I'd imagine CAI would be more likely. I've actually been looking into going to Africa for awhile now, as it is the final continent I have yet to travel to. I was thinking CMN, JNB, or CPT, but Cairo or Alexandria would be very cool. The only unfortunate thing is, I don't (yet) have flight benefits on DL, so I'd have to connect via LHR on BD or FRA/MUC on LH - kind of a pain, but I love 1-stops!!
Funny Coincidence, I'm headed out to LAX in the morning, and just rented "Jumper" from Blockbuster to watch on the plane tomorrow on my laptop, because those domestic NW 752's have that awesome IFE.
One of my friends from high school said he was an extra in that movie, I guess now's a good time to see if he was telling the truth.
Thanks for sharing
The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
Not to sound haughty or anything but calling AA's international service "fantastic" is an absolute joke. You have most likely not experienced service on other (non US) carriers. Just try business or even economy on other ailrines like One World partners Qantas or JAL and you'll never want to set foot on an AA plane again. Having platinum status on AA all I can say is that their service is absolutely appalling. Most of their staff is rude and borderline impolite, in-flight service quasi non-existent (though they do make an effort in business sometimes), and some of their aircraft falling into bits (that's something to chuckle at!) - just try flying on the A300 on the JFK-MIA runs or even some of the 763s on the JFK-EZE and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): but calling AA's international service "fantastic" is an absolute joke.
So I suppose you would have preferred it if I whined, bitched, complained, and otherwise dragged AA's name through the mud on here??
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): and you'll never want to set foot on an AA plane again.
I have been on them, and to most folk's extreme amazement I still prefer the US carriers.
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): Having platinum status on AA all I can say is that their service is absolutely appalling.
Then you have entirely too high of standards. Being a platinum on AA, you should know full-well what to expect. Have you ever run head-first into a wall before and said "ouch, that hurts", then turned around and did it again right away expecting a different result?? It's you people that make me chuckle, that complain about EVERY flight they're on, even though they know long in advance what they're going to get - yet, you still find the better course of action to be endless bitching.
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): Most of their staff is rude and borderline impolite,
It's funny you should mention that, because I had absolutely no problems with the in-flight or ground staff. I always pride myself on being as ridiculously polite and nice as possible, and all I've ever received back was the same. I can't tell you how many times I've been on a flight where the FA's offer me whine, beer, or other snacks for the road as I deplane. It's amazing what you get with sugar instead of salt....
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): and some of their aircraft falling into bits (that's something to chuckle at!)
Even though some of the AA 763's are the youngest in existence and just got interior refurb's??
"See what you're talking about"!?!? You obviously have no fracking clue what you're talking about:
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): just try flying on the A300 on the JFK-MIA runs
You do realize that at AA (and all other airlines) there is no one specific aircraft assigned to a route?? So, if I were to fly JFK-MIA, I'd have an equal probability of getting on really any aircraft in the fleet of 34x A300's at AA. Which aircraft were you reffering to?? Or are you just going to make more sweeping statements and say "all of them"??
Quoting AR326 (Reply 23): or even some of the 763s on the JFK-EZE
And again, the 763's are rotated around the system same as the A300's and every other type in the fleet. To "try the 763's on JFK-EZE" is a completely ridiculous statement, because JFK-EZE gets all 58x 763's in the AA fleet - some of those were delivered in 2003 and had the interior refurb within the past 1-2 years - and yet you still call them "falling into bits"?? The aircraft I was on, N399AN southbound and N393AN northbound, have both rotated on JFK-EZE many many times, and both of those aircraft were in beautiful shape. Do you have any specific tail numbers you find particularly bad, or are you again just going to say "all of them"??