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AEP-MVD-IGU On Pluna  
User currently offlinePieterBoth From Belgium, joined Jan 2010, 70 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8184 times:

Following on from my LGW-MAD-EZE trip report, here is the second part for AEP-MVD-IGU and back on Pluna.

After a few days in Buenos Aires, we took a trip to the Iguazu waterfalls in the north of Argentina, on the Brazilian border. We booked the flights in Europe. There were three options – Aerolineas Argentina’s local arm, Austral, LAN, and Pluna. Aerolineas’ fares were almost double for non-Argentine nationals, and double that of Pluna. So we chose Pluna, with the added bonus that we’d fly via Montevideo  

Our flight was at 8.20am from Buenos Aires’ city airport, Aeroparque. It’s a much more convenient airport to reach than Ezeiza and is located downtown, on the banks of the Rio de la Plata. The main airline here is Austral, flying to numerous domestic destinations across Argentina. LAN also uses Aeroparque for their domestic Argeintine flights, as well as Pluna for flights to Montevideo. We went through security and immigration, filling in the numerous entry and exit forms.

The departure lounge:



The flight was almost full, mostly with businessmen travelling to the Uruguayan capital. I was really excited about travelling on Pluna, mainly because I think their livery is the best in the world  

Our aircraft waiting for us:


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Aeroparque terminal building:



LAN:



Austral:



View of the city from the runway:



Leaving Buenos Aires behind:



Pluna have 8 Bombardier CRJ900s and fly to around 14 destinations in South America. There is a lot of marketing currently, to help Montevideo position itself as the southern hub for South America. The flight to Montevideo is only 45 minutes, but the flight crew still did a drinks for purchase run down the aisle. We soon saw the Uruguayan coast and flew along it until Montevideo.



We landed at Carrasco International Airport, and saw the old terminal building and two old 737 Pluna birds in their old liveries. The flight attendant thanked us for flying with Pluna, “the airline in South America with the newest fleet”.



Then we saw the new airport building…wow!


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I’ll say it now – Montevideo is the best airport I have traveled through, it’s simply great. The architecture is futuristic and the terminal seems to be just the right size for what Montevideo needs. We left the plane on stairs onto the tarmac where Pluna groundstaff were waiting for people with connections…all 3 of us   They were very helpful, telling us where to go, even though it was straightforward. We were bussed to the terminal and shown to the transit area where we went through security and then into the departure lounge. The lounge has great views of the tarmac, and although there aren’t a great many planes to spot, the Pluna sightings make up for it  
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We saw this cool advert for LAN:


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There are a few shops and one café/restaurant which was quite overpriced, but even that couldn’t detract from my awe at the terminal! It’s clean, bright, elegant, airy, I could go on…. There was an Air France flight on the departure board to Paris – I never knew AF flew to Montevideo? We had 3 hours to kill, so lots of Pluna spotting  
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It was finally time to board, and the load was quite low, only 11 people on board. When we arrived at the aircraft, I noticed it had Aerovip titles rather than Pluna. After searching on wikipedia   it turns out that Aerovip was an Argentine regional airline whose operations were suspended in 2004, and has just restarted ops after having been bought by the Leadgate Group, who own shares in Pluna.


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We were flying to Foz do Iguacu, which is one of the two airport serving the Iguazu National Park. Aerolineas and LAN fly to Cataratas del Iguazu Airport on the Argentine side, and Pluna flies to Foz do Iguacu, on the Brazilian side.

Views of Montevideo:


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The flight time was 1h55 and we flew over the pampas of Uruguay’s interior and forests of northern Argentina.


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There was food for purchase but we didn’t buy any. The Pluna bombardier CRJ900s are nice to travel in for short haul flights. And ours was particularly empty:


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We finally sighted Puerto Iguazu and the much larger city of Foz do Iguacu.

Puerto Iguazu:



Foz do Iguacu:


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When arrived we saw a Varig 737 (so nice to see a Varig plane!) and a GOL plane on the tarmac.


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We deplaned on the tarmac and were led to terminal by Pluna groundstaff. We were welcomed by some musicians which I thought was really tacky. Immigration was quick as there were only 11 of us. We jumped in a taxi to cross the border back into Argentina and to the waterfalls.

Our flight back to Buenos Aires was again on Pluna via Montevideo. We ate a nice Brazilian cheese bread and pie until time for boarding.



From the terminal building, there are good views of the tarmac, even before checking in. There was one plane on the tarmac, and friends and relatives were waiting and waving at the passengers as they walked up the aircraft stairs. I think it must be rare to see this now, and it was nice to see. While we waited, a TAM flight landed:



We checked in and the agent printed our boarding passes. We noticed the wrong time was printed for our onward connecting flight from MVD to AEP. The Agent was the same woman who greeted us off the plane when we arrived a few days earlier.



The departure lounge:



Finally our ride back to Montevideo arrived, looking pretty stunning, showing off in the Brazilian afternoon sun:


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The flight was on time, and this time there were slightly more people on the flight, but still less than a quarter full. They seated some people in the front and everyone else right at the back, with no one in the middle for some reason. When we took off the pilot pointed out the waterfalls – awesome! But my camera was in the overhead cabin. When we were in Iguazu we saw a number of helicopters circling overhead giving tourists an aerial view of the falls. They were noisy and ruined the atmosphere of the place, so it was nice to know we got the same view for free, well included in the plane ticket anyway  

We arrived in Montevideo at 5.05pm just as the sun was setting. Again, we were bussed to the terminal and I had 2 hours to spend in my new found favourite airport! There was an Iberia flight boarding to Madrid…some awesome shots with the Uruguayan sunset.

Damn walkways! :


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The day before, the Uruguayan football team left for South Africa and signed the top menu board in the restaurant which I thought was cool.


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Our flight left on time at 7.10pm bound for Aeroparque. View of Montevideo:



The flight was full, and the cabin crew tried to do a drinks for purchase run but only got a quarter way down the aisle and it was time to land. We arrived at Aeroparque and deplaned onto a bus. The bus drove literally 5 metres (no joke) and the doors opened for us to get out and into the terminal, everyone burst out laughing  

We had a great experience on Pluna, clean, efficient, punctual, friendly and did I mention a great livery? I was hugely impressed by Montevideo Airport, loved it! Ironically, we didn’t use Pluna when we took a trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay, instead we took the ferry. We stayed there for a week - Uruguay is a great country, so relaxed and peaceful, and the people were really friendly, I loved it, and would love to go back one day.

Hope you enjoyed the read…

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6505 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7698 times:

Nice report with great pictures! The treminal at MVD looks amazing from the outside. Too bad they don't get that much long haul traffic. I think the AF flight was a codeshare with JJ since the time is the same as the JJ flight. Odd tbat so many Pluna planes parked remote at MVD when there so many gates with jetbridges.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineODAFZ From Afghanistan, joined Jul 2004, 356 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7583 times:

Great trip report
Beautiful pics. Thank you for sharing


User currently offlineStarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7474 times:

Great TR! PLUNA's new liveries look amazing! The pictures were great too. I've never seen a jet bridge that slopes upward then downward haha.


Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1329 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7304 times:

Very nice report, Pluna is not a well covered airline. I noticed already that they have cheap flights i.e. vom BUE to SCL via MVD, but they don't provide any free checked luguage, which is unusual for a "network" carrier in South America. I think they are rather a Low-Cost-Airline. Nevertheless indeed they have a great fleet, modern scheme, a pity that their network is very small....

User currently offlineChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7227 times:

Hi Pieter,

This is a very nice report!

Nice to read about the airport of Foz de Iguazu. I have good memories about the place when I visited Iguazu Falls back in 2005. One of the most pretty wonders of nature I have ever seen. Did you stay at that great colonial hotel at the bottom of Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side? And are those strange animals still there eating everything tourists leave behind?

Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
I was really excited about travelling on Pluna, mainly because I think their livery is the best in the world

That it is absolutely a very pretty livery.

Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
Then we saw the new airport building…wow!


Stunning design, in my opinion the most impressive terminal around the world. I believe this forum contains a 'trip' report on the opening of this terminal. Nice to have a report of the terminal in full operation.


Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
The Pluna bombardier CRJ900s are nice to travel in for short haul flights


Those seats look extremely comfortable.

Thanks for posting this great TR!

Adios,

Christian



Flown:319, 320, 321, 343, 388, 733, 738, 742, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 77W, CR7, CR9, DC9-31, E70, E90, F70, F100, MD11
User currently offlinePieterBoth From Belgium, joined Jan 2010, 70 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7138 times:

Thanks for all your comments!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 1):
Too bad they don't get that much long haul traffic.

Indeed - I think the only long haul flights are Iberia's Madrid route and American's route to Miami (on our return, there was an AA plane on the tarmac).

Quoting The777Man (Reply 1):
Odd tbat so many Pluna planes parked remote at MVD when there so many gates with jetbridges.

Most of the time, passengers seemed to be bussed to the Pluna aircraft. On one of our flights we boarded by a jetbridge, but it was a bit of a cufuffle because the CRJ900s are so small and low standing, so they were manoeuvering the jetbridge for ages to get it to fit over the door, then they added a walkway piece between the end of the jetbridge and the plane door.

Quoting reifel (Reply 4):
a pity that their network is very small....

Yep, it is a pity. Montevideo Airport is aiming to become the 'hub of the South' by enticing passengers to connect through MVD with Pluna. I guess we have to wait and see whether Pluna can open any further destinations and make them profitable. Foz do Iguacu may be a bit of an anomaly because it is rather a tourist-orientated destination, but the loads were not good at all - maybe because it was winter, I don't know.

Quoting ChrisCruise (Reply 5):
Did you stay at that great colonial hotel at the bottom of Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side? And are those strange animals still there eating everything tourists leave behind?

We saw that hotel, but we stayed on the Argentine side. And do you mean these furry creatures?  

The Coatis are everywhere, they're a bit like a cross between an aardvark and a racoon. Cute creatures! They just spend their time with their noses in the soil looking for ants, until they bags rustling and then they look up...


User currently offlineChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 7138 times:

Quoting PieterBoth (Reply 6):
We saw that hotel, but we stayed on the Argentine side. And do you mean these furry creatures?

Haha, yes those are the ones I mentioned! If you ask me what I remember from my visit to Iguazu Falls apart from the stunning scenery it are those creatures!

Adios



Flown:319, 320, 321, 343, 388, 733, 738, 742, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 77W, CR7, CR9, DC9-31, E70, E90, F70, F100, MD11
User currently offlineC010T3 From Brazil, joined Jul 2006, 3685 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6451 times:

The thing about AF's flight is really odd, since AF455 is GRU-CDG and AF does not fly to MVD.

User currently offlineMarambio From Argentina, joined Oct 2004, 1160 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6097 times:

Thanks for your report. I still have to try PU's low-cost-kind-of-service. I've had some great experiences with them, but that was years ago, when they were still owned by RG. MVD's new terminal I have seen it from the highway and looks great.

As much as I travel quite often to Uruguay, I always do it by ferry or car. I guess I should take advantage of PU's offers and give them a try  
Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
There was an Air France flight on the departure board to Paris – I never knew AF flew to Montevideo

It was an AF codeshare on JJ's flight, because flight number AF 455 is assigned to the GRU-CDG route. Other than that, I think AF Cargo still flies to MVD via DKR an onwards to EZE. At least I remember seeing their beautiful 747s at MVD some years ago.

Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
When we were in Iguazu we saw a number of helicopters circling overhead giving tourists an aerial view of the falls. They were noisy and ruined the atmosphere of the place, so it was nice to know we got the same view for free, well included in the plane ticket anyway

For the last 10/15 years, those bloody helicopters have been causing some incidents between Argentina and Brazil. We banned them because they damage the animals (mainly birds, which see its flying patterns modified because of the noise), but the Brazilians still allow them. I believe they must fly over Brazilian airspace only, which is a problem because Iguazú is a border area, but I'm not sure.

Saludos,
Marambio



Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo.
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8509 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6067 times:
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Nice report & pictures, thanks for sharing with us, dont see too many Pluna TR's!

That new MVD terminal is indeed an impressive from the outside, good to hear the inside has plenty of ramp views, something lacking in many new terminal designs.

I do like the Pluna c/s, very nice and a refreshing change from the norm.

I'd not realised how close MVD was to AEP, quite interesting, at least for me  

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2170 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 6053 times:

Great TR! Definitely an enjoyable read, thank you!!

Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):

We were flying to Foz do Iguacu, which is one of the two airport serving the Iguazu National Park. Aerolineas and LAN fly to Cataratas del Iguazu Airport on the Argentine side, and Pluna flies to Foz do Iguacu, on the Brazilian side.

Very, very interesting. I have been to Iguazu and I have always been curious as to how the two countries manage tourism inflow (via their airports) by having two separate places to fly in. I feel like Puerto Iguazu more or less serves as the airport to fly into (like SNN is in Ireland) with a few hotels and other amenities for tourists, whereas Foz do Iguacu is an actual city. I have been to the latter, but also crossed into the Argentine border (but needed a Brazilian visa in order to do so because I am a U.S. Citizen)

What I find fascinating is, say you were not from Germany or you were from a nationality that had to obtain a visa in order to fly into Brasil (i.e. US). Let's suppose that you were destined for the Argentinian side, but flew into the Brazilian side because you booked with Pluna for the sake of having a lower fare, while not knowing that Pluna flies into an airport in a different country. Would you have to take care of all of the documentation right there in the airport, or receive a warning? I am sure the airport authorities have encountered circumstances like this in the past.

Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
There was an Iberia flight boarding to Madrid…some awesome shots with the Uruguayan sunset.

Very nice indeed. It looks like IB deploys their A346 on this route - interesting. It is not a daily flight, or is it? Perhaps seasonally adjusted for high and low periods?

Quoting PieterBoth (Thread starter):
The Coatis are everywhere, they're a bit like a cross between an aardvark and a racoon. Cute creatures! They just spend their time with their noses in the soil looking for ants, until they bags rustling and then they look up...

They are so cute. But whenever I see them, I am also saddened. Coatis tend to not be shy around humans, moreso than other creatures, which is great for us, but when I was in Costa Rica the local people mentioned that this is because they are smart because they love eating human food. This is why they dig through trash and warm up to tourists, unfortunately because they become easily addicted to the things we consume. In addition to begging humans for this sustenance, they also end up ingesting things which is terrible for their digestive systems.  

Oh well, part of the ecosystem in which we live.



next flights: msp-phx-slc, msp-mdw, ord-sju, sju-dfw-ord, msp-dfw, dfw-phl, phl-msp, jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg
User currently offlinerogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1198 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5999 times:

Hola PieterBoth!

Excellent TR.

I have really enjoyed going through it and made me remmember my trip to Iguazú falls. I travelled through IGR on LAN though.

MVD terminal looks great, there was a TR sometime ago when opening if I am not mitaken.

The sunset pictures with that IB plane are really great.

Salut!

Roger

[Edited 2010-06-20 03:10:22]


"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineavion660 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2007, 212 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5719 times:

Nice trip report on an interesting carrier.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 11):
What I find fascinating is, say you were not from Germany or you were from a nationality that had to obtain a visa in order to fly into Brasil (i.e. US). Let's suppose that you were destined for the Argentinian side, but flew into the Brazilian side because you booked with Pluna for the sake of having a lower fare, while not knowing that Pluna flies into an airport in a different country. Would you have to take care of all of the documentation right there in the airport, or receive a warning? I am sure the airport authorities have encountered circumstances like this in the past.

It's an interesting question. I was lucky in a related incident that did not involve the airport, but did happen at Foz. It was a long time ago, when British visitors needed a visa to enter Argentina. I had an entry visa (one time entry only) that I planning to use on the crossing from Uruguay to Buenos Aires so I didn't want to enter Argentina officially at the falls border crossing. In those days the border seemed pretty lax: it was possible to cross by local bus and pretend to be Argentinian. I confess, I broke into and out of Argentina for the day! Sorry!


User currently offlineMarambio From Argentina, joined Oct 2004, 1160 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 5624 times:

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 11):
Let's suppose that you were destined for the Argentinian side, but flew into the Brazilian side because you booked with Pluna for the sake of having a lower fare, while not knowing that Pluna flies into an airport in a different country. Would you have to take care of all of the documentation right there in the airport, or receive a warning? I am sure the airport authorities have encountered circumstances like this in the past.

As far as I know, there's no type of waver given to pax landing at an airport but staying in the other country. If you land at IGU, you must clear Brazilian immigration formalities (including a visa, if you are required to have one) and then travel to the AR/BR/PY border and clear all Argentine formalities, which sometimes are different than Brazil's. It is up to each pax to verify which country he's landing on and what documents he requires in order to enter it.

I have heard quite a few stories of US tourists wanting to visit Foz do Iguaçú and being rejected by Brazilian immigration authorities because they didn't have a visa. It didn't matter whether they were staying in Brazil or just crossing in order to see the Falls from the other side.

There are some special rules that speed border-crossing, but those only apply to residents of the border areas.

Saludos,
Marambio



Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo.
User currently offlineATLflyer323 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 614 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5558 times:

Loved the trip report. I agree that Pluna has one of the best liveries around, and the new Montevideo Airport looks stunning!

Great read!

-Brandon



Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
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