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Trans-Tasman Treat: Aerolineas Argentinas A340-200  
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 19164 times:




Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz


Background about the Round-the-World Trip
A round-the-world trip had been on my wish list for many years and last summer I finally decided to go. Originally, my plan for October 2010 was to visit a good friend in Brisbane again after a break of four years. While searching for flight options, I realized that a visit to Brisbane would be a great opportunity to create a round-the-world trip. RTW packages by the large alliances didn't attract me due to numerous restrictions and the limited choice of airlines. I found it much more interesting to combine all kinds of airlines without someone restricting anything.

As usual, my focus was on new carriers and new types - and my intensive searches turned out to be successful. First of all, I booked the long-haul flights, followed by a few connecting flights. Finally, I added some more side trip flights. Final routing: Munich-Bangkok-Brisbane-Melbourne-Albury-Sydney-Auckland-Christchurch-Dunedin-Wellington-Auckland-San Francisco-Munich. The itinerary included 12 flights, 7 new airlines, 5 new airports and 3 new types. I would leave on 2 October and return 11 days later, after flying 26345 miles (42398 kilometers).

Parts I and II can be found here:
Thai Fails To Impress: MUC-BKK-BNE On 744 & 777
Detours To Sydney: Wildlife, Tiger, REX & QFLink


Planning Details - Part III
The Airbus A340-200 is a very rare bird. Only 28 frames have been built, only 18 are currently (more or less) active with 5 commercial airlines (Aerolineas Argentinas, ConViasa, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian and South African Airways). The planes mostly fly on long-haul routes which doesn't make the hunt easy for the enthusiast. However, you also find the A342 between Sydney and Auckland, as part of Aerolineas Argentinas' operations to/from Buenos Aires. I had kept an eye on these exciting Trans-Tasman services for a long time - and my plan had been to book such a flight during the next visit to Australia.

Last summer, the long-awaited day had come: After booking the long-haul flights to Australia and from New Zealand, I went to Aerolineas Argentinas' website to purchase a ticket for the Sydney-Auckland sector. Flying Auckland-Sydney would have been about a third cheaper, but I had to accept the relatively high fare due to the more favorable long-haul routing. Anyway, what I didn't like at all about AR's website was the fact that I couldn't conveniently pay the ticket online. AR wanted me to call them or to go to one of their offices. So I stopped the booking process and searched for alternative websites. Finally, I booked the flight on Travelocity (American version). Then I tried to choose a seat in advance on AR’s website, but that wasn't possible either. Anyway, I was glad about having a reservation at all.

Well, then I started hoping that the A340-200 would indeed operate on that day. My itinerary just showed "A340" and I knew that it could be switched to an A340-300 under certain circumstances - pictures from AKL and SYD confirmed that it had indeed happened sometimes.




Sydney Airport Spotting
Early in the morning I left the Formule 1 hotel and took a (pre-ordered and pre-paid) shuttle to the International Terminal. First of all, I checked the arrivals and departures screens and was relieved to find out that my plane's delay hadn't become worse. My friend in Brisbane had already informed me on the evening before that the plane had left Buenos Aires more than two hours behind schedule. My other friend Nicholas alias NZ107 would later also inform me about the plane's status at Auckland. Anyway, the check-in counters weren't open yet, so I went to the observation deck:



The famous Wunala Dreaming, two other Qantas 747-400s and an Emirates 777-300ER:


It's a nice facility, but not well-protected from the weather. Due to the cold wind I left again soon and killed the time by reading near the AR check-in counters.




Sunday, 10 October 2010
Sydney (SYD) - Auckland (AKL)
Aerolineas Argentinas AR1183
Scheduled times: 12:45-18:00
Actual times: 14:19-19:20
Flight duration: 02:41 (hrs)
Distance: 1345 miles
Economy Class, seat 20H

Airbus A340-211
LV-ZPO (MSN 063)
First delivered to Cathay Pacific as VR-HMR in 10/1994


1st flight on LV-ZPO
1st A340-200 flight
8th A340 flight
105th airline



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Photo © Anne Deus
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Photo © Colin Hunter



Former appearance:


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Photo © Sam Chui
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Photo © Jay Piboontum



Former appearances as VR-HMR and F-OHPF:


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Photo © Javier Rodriguez - Iberian Spotters
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Photo © Bernhard Bauske



Several dozens of people were already waiting in queue when the check-in agents started working. I had lined up quite early, so the remaining waiting time was low. The mid-aged female agent was friendly, but appeared awkward. It took her quite long to enter my data and check my reservation. She even had to ask her colleagues for advice. I guess she was new in her job. Anyway, I asked for a window seat in the rear section, but the one and only window seat the agent could offer was 20H. I wasn't amused, but what can you do? Finally, she handed out the boarding pass and told me that the new departure time would be 14:00 instead of 12:45.

After passing security, I went to a nice deserted gate area at the front end of the concourse where I had great views of runways 07 and 16R. I was able to log a total of 23 new registrations at SYD on that day. Btw - the new departure time didn't show up on the screens at the gate for a long time and delay announcements weren't made until shortly before the plane's arrival. An agent apologized twice for the delay and referred to the "late arrival of the aircraft". Surprise, surprise…  Yeah sure

Finally, the desired Aerolineas Argentinas A340 came into view on the horizon. Final approach to runway 07:


My excitement was growing during the plane's final descent due to concerns of a possible delay-related switch to an A340-300...but soon I realized that it was a short fuselage and almost simultaneously recognized the registration LV-ZPO.  thumbsup 


The 1994-built plane had been intended for Philippine Airlines, but the deal got cancelled. Cathay Pacific became its first operator, but only two years later the plane ended up with PAL after all. Finally, Aerolineas Argentinas added the plane to its fleet in June 1999:


LV-ZPO is one of four A340-200s operated by the Argentinian flag carrier.



I really like this perspective:



Nose close-up:



I continued spotting for a while and finally joined the long queue at the gate. After standing in line for more than 20 minutes, I could finally step on board. Warm welcome? Forget it! One flight attendant quickly checked my boarding pass, two others were chatting with each other and didn't even look at the passing passengers. Then I arrived at my row and found a young Latin American lady sitting in my window seat. I politely told her that she was occupying my seat and she immediately switched to 20G which was hers.

The (creaking) old-style seat was quite comfortable...





...and legroom was generous, too:


However, the footrest was broken and didn't move upwards any more - and the seat cover above wasn't in right position either. The cabin looked quite worn in general and was dirty in certain areas - just have a look at the parts beneath the armrests on the picture above. Additionally, the safety card was in torn condition and I missed an inflight magazine in my seat pocket.

I don't like these over-wing seats with limited views, but at least I could partly see the A340's "hairdryer engines":  Wink



We finally left the gate 19 minutes behind the new official departure time. Any pieces of information from the flight deck about the delay or the flight in general? Nothing of this sort, at any time!  thumbsdown 

Qantas A380 to the right of the winglet:



We rolled onto runway 16R and the "hairdryers" soon started howling...



Acceleration was unspectacular as usual on the "classic" A340, but we lifted off earlier than expected:







An old-style airshow appeared for a while after takeoff (followed by various TV features), but that's all I could see from my seat:



About 45 minutes after takeoff, drinks and a cold meal were served. The flight attendants didn't smile at all, but at least the tray looked quite nice:


The sandwich bread was dry, but the (New Zealand made) apricot frangipani cake and the baked oaty slice (raspberry and white chocolate) weren't bad. Well, many people may have argued that the cake was too sweet. The orange juice seemed to be diluted and tasted artificial, but the black tea was okay.

After relaxing for a while, I went for a walk. The cabin picture shows that Economy Class was packed:



Thick clouds over the Tasman Sea:



LV-ZPO started descending about 20 minutes before landing:





The first sight of New Zealand:





There's a small parking area for spotters just to the left of the outer engine:



We touched down after 2 hours and 41 minutes...


...and arrived at the gate 1 hour and 20 minutes behind schedule. Parked nearby was Air New Zealand 777-200ER ZK-OKB - one of the candidates for my Pacific crossing two days later:


All passengers had to leave the aircraft which would continue to Buenos Aires later in the evening. I was very impressed by the modern international terminal and its nice facilities.

After quickly passing immigration, I grabbed my luggage, bought something to eat and took the shuttle bus to the Jet Park Airport Hotel in Mangere. On TripAdvisor, it ranks on first place among 20 hotels in Mangere - absolutely justifiably so, as I would soon find out: great staff, tasteful interiors, comfortable and well-equipped rooms, decent minibar prices. Yes, there are cheaper hotels in the area, but I can only recommend to invest a bit more and stay at the Jet Park. Some impressions:






After a restful night, it was time for my domestic side trip. The plan was to fly four segments on three different airlines. Story to be continued...



Conclusion
After week-long concerns about a possible heavy delay or cancellation, I was really glad about finally getting on the rare A340-200, the prime target of my RTW trip. Well, my flight was indeed delayed in the end, but it wasn't a big deal. Aerolineas Argentinas' Economy Class product didn't impress me at all, but my expectations hadn't been high anyway after reading numerous reports. Seating comfort and catering were mostly acceptable on that 2.5 hour flight. However, the cabin was quite worn, certain items were broken, the IFE on that long-haul bird was totally outdated and the flight attendants were neither friendly nor customer-orientated. I definitely wouldn't want to fly AR on a long-haul route.


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter



P.S.: Just in case you missed them - my previous trip reports:
Detours To Sydney: Wildlife, Tiger, REX & QFLink
Thai Fails To Impress: MUC-BKK-BNE On 744 & 777
Painful Delay & My 100th Airline: AF A380, VO F100
Fifth Freedom Tidbit: Kuwait Airways A300-600
Ship Vs. Plane: Porto Santo Line & Sata Air Açores
Awesome Approach, Splendid Scenery: LIS, FNC & TAP
Guernsey, Ash Cloud Alarm & Mostly Empty SQ 77Ws
Totally Thrilling: Scenic Flight On Lufthansa A380
Cirrus D38, Adria CRJ & Captain Niki Lauda On Duty
Monarch Hot Meal, E195 & More: PMI-ALC-MAN-MUC
Premium Meal & Palma Spotting: MUC-PMI, DE 757-300
The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332
Cancellation Brings Joy: HKG-PEK on Dragonair A330
A380 Cacophony, 777 Star Livery: DXB-SIN-HKG on SQ
The Next 5* Carrier? MUC-MCT-DXB, Oman Air A330
Turkey For 1.5 Hrs: Daytrip To AYT On Sky Airlines
CO Scores Again: ATL-IAH-EWR-FRA On ERJ, 752 & 764
Riding The Ultra Long-Haul Twin: Delta 777-200LR
Pacific Coast Jaunt: 3 Carriers, E120, E140 & Fog
The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Bye Bye, Hell! TRD-OSL-TXL-NUE - DY/AB/HE DH4
My Trip To Hell: NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD On Cimber & SAS
SFO-YUL-FRA: Map- & Sleepless On Air Canada's 77W
Sin City Gloss & Virgin America's Chic First Class
Seat Dilemma & Canyon Glamour: FRA To LAX, AC 763
On Par With Air France? DTW-AMS-MUC, KLM A330
Goodbye, Red Tails! DC-9-40/50 & Chicago Tour
Champagne & World Of Coke: Air France A340 To ATL
"Mission A380": Disappointing Legs On BA/BD/EI
Delights Of Doha, 773 & 77W: DOH-DXB-LHR On EK
A380 Really a Step Forward? LHR-DXB-DOH On EK
Quality & Style: HKG-LHR On Air New Zealand 744
Taiwan Trio: TransAsia, UNI Air And The Taipei 101
"The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
SHA-SZX, Shanghai 757: Delayed By The Military
PEK-SHA, China Eastern A330 & Shanghai At Night
Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330
Short & Splendid: MXP-MUC On Air Dolomiti's 146
3 Hours On Blue1: HEL-MXP On The MD-90
BCN-MAD-ZRH-MUC: UX Shuttle Meets Swiss Quality
MUC-MAD-BCN: Star MD-87 & The Pain Of Vueling
Low Fares, Lovely Island: AK & Best Of Langkawi
4 Stars Or 5 Stars? FRA-KUL-FRA, Malaysia 777s
First And Last Time? JFK-FCO-MUC, Alitalia 777
JFK For 1 Day: Transatlantic Hop On CSA's A310
Sardinian Sun, Shiny New 73Gs & Cramped Mad Dog
Top And Flop: KIX-HEL-MUC, Finnair A320 & MD-11
The 524-Seat Twin-jet: HND-ITM On ANA 777-300
Kobe For 1 Hour: 767-Quickie On ANA & Skymark
Rocketing To Tokyo: FUK-HND On JAL (ex-JAS) 777
Oddities & Okinawa: JTA 734 & JAL 744D(Domestic)
MUC To Nagoya: Finnair E170 & (Old) "New" A340
Mad Dog, A320 Tech Delay & Best Of Lanzarote
Canaries Prop-Hopping: Islas Airways & Naysa
Canaries And Confusion: LH CRJ900 & Spanair A321
Hubbing For 162 Miles: HOQ-FRA-STR Ret On IQ/EW/LH
BOS-JFK-AMS-MUC: SSSS-Check And KLM 777
ATL-PIT-JFK-BOS: FL B717, JetBlue E190 And Delays
MUC-AMS-MEM-ATL On NWA A332 And 40-year-old DC-9
FRA-BKK-FRA Via CMB: SriLankan A332 & A343
BNE-SIN-DXB-MUC On Emirates B772ER & B773
2 Hours In Paradise: Hamilton Island (JQ/DJ)
BNE-SYD-BNE: Domestic Run On QF’s Oldest B747-400
Testing Qantas: SYD-MEL-SYD-BNE (B738, B763, A332)
Going Down Under: MUC-DXB-SYD On EK A332 & A345
9/11 Review: Failed Trip To LAX - Fuel Dump Pics
Surprised By NIKI's Newest A320 & Screw-up By AB
Leisure Vs. Full Service: Condor & SN Brussels
"betterFly" On LH: Business Class For 99 Euro
Weekend Transatlantic Trip (2): US A321 & B762
Transatlantic For A Weekend (1): MUC-DCA On US


[Edited 2011-03-05 08:00:04]


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAI151 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2009, 303 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 18963 times:

Hi PH,

First and foremost my apologies for not responding to the other TR's in this series. I have been reading them however not had a chance to reply. Glad you're having a great time on the RTW so far.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After standing in line for more than 20 minutes, I could finally step on board. Warm welcome? Forget it! One flight attendant quickly checked my boarding pass, two others were chatting with each other and didn't even look at the passing passengers.

This seems to be happening quite a lot these days. I say replace them with people who actually like their interacting with passengers rather colleagues which can be done at a later time.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The sandwich bread was dry,

That does not look tasty at all.

Looking forward to the rest of the series. I'm flying off to Asia tomorrow with WY so sooner or later my TR's will be out and about.

Sandeep (AI151)



Modern Vision. Timeless Traditions...
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 18922 times:

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
First and foremost my apologies for not responding to the other TR's in this series. I have been reading them however not had a chance to reply.

Hi Sandeep, many thanks for your comments! No worries, maybe you find some time one day.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
Glad you're having a great time on the RTW so far.

Almost everything worked out as planned...however, the weather in New Zealand caused some trouble during my domestic side trip. More to follow in part IV.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
This seems to be happening quite a lot these days. I say replace them with people who actually like their interacting with passengers rather colleagues which can be done at a later time.

I can only agree. It's the passengers who they work for.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
I'm flying off to Asia tomorrow with WY so sooner or later my TR's will be out and about.

Wow, enjoy your trip! I'm sure WY will treat you well!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 946 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 18844 times:

Hi PH

Thank you for this very nice continuation of your RTW journey, and congratulations on hunting down the rare A342! It seems almost everyone   is using the trans-Tasman to tick new types and/or airlines off their check lists - what a gold mine of a route down under!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The 1994-built plane had been intended for Philippine Airlines, but the deal got cancelled. Cathay Pacific became its first operator, but only two years later the plane ended up with PAL after all. Finally, Aerolineas Argentinas added the plane to its fleet in June 1999

Very interesting history of this bird. The A342 has definitely become the niche plane - like the SP and 345 - but without a proper niche. It seems quite a few airlines (LH, AF and PR come to mind) that had originally ordered the 342 got rid of theirs well ahead of time in favor of the 343 and sad that probably none of the current operators are particularly committed to it either. Which, I guess, makes this a 'must fly' plane!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I really like this perspective

  

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Seating comfort and catering were mostly acceptable on that 2.5 hour flight. However, the cabin was quite worn, certain items were broken, the IFE on that long-haul bird was totally outdated and the flight attendants were neither friendly nor customer-orientated. I definitely wouldn't want to fly AR on a long-haul route.

Yeah, flying the long haul to EZE wouldn't be a barrel of fun I would guess. It does look like AR needs a major overhaul before joining SkyTeam as a member in 2012 - it'll be interesting to see what happens over the course of this year.

Thanks again for installment and looking forward to your next.

Cheers
airpearl


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 18797 times:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
Thank you for this very nice continuation of your RTW journey, and congratulations on hunting down the rare A342!

Hi Airpearl, thanks a lot for your feedback!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
It seems almost everyone is using the trans-Tasman to tick new types and/or airlines off their check lists - what a gold mine of a route down under!

Yes, gold mine is an appropriate term.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
It seems quite a few airlines (LH, AF and PR come to mind) that had originally ordered the 342 got rid of theirs well ahead of time in favor of the 343 and sad that probably none of the current operators are particularly committed to it either. Which, I guess, makes this a 'must fly' plane!

Absolutely true. South African will soon replace them by A332s, Royal Jordanian will replace them by 787s (or more used A332s) and EgyptAir may get rid of them in the near future, too. Aerolineas Argentinas may try to get more used A343s as replacement aircraft. And it's unlikely that most of these aging A342s will find a new home.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):

Yeah, flying the long haul to EZE wouldn't be a barrel of fun I would guess. It does look like AR needs a major overhaul before joining SkyTeam as a member in 2012 - it'll be interesting to see what happens over the course of this year.

Yes, lots of work ahead for AR.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineluxair747SP From Germany, joined May 2010, 505 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 18678 times:

Hi PH,
Thanks a lot for this cool report about an airline, which isnt covered well in this section.
I was really waiting for this part and the following about New Zealand.
Nice to catch an A342, which can be hardly seen around here.
The service on AR didnt look good at all but for such a rare bird, its okay I think.
The food looked acceptable for this flight sector.
And the destination surely is amazing, AKL is one of my favorite airport, especially the international terminal with the new pier.

Thank you a lot for sharing
Johannes


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 18659 times:

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 5):
Thanks a lot for this cool report about an airline, which isnt covered well in this section.
I was really waiting for this part and the following about New Zealand.

Hi Johannes, thanks a lot! I'm glad you liked it.

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 5):
The service on AR didnt look good at all but for such a rare bird, its okay I think.

  

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 5):
The food looked acceptable for this flight sector.

I would have preferred a hot meal, of course...  

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 5):
And the destination surely is amazing, AKL is one of my favorite airport, especially the international terminal with the new pier.

Yes, it's a great airport. More pictures from AKL to follow in the next two parts.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 18536 times:

Hi there PH.

Nice to get that one in the bag after all and thank goodness there was no aircraft switch for you in the end. I guess the priority was the aircraft regardless of the service offered.

Agree, the meal looks quite good. The baked slice looks like something i would appreciate. Not a bad feed for a flight of this duration.

A shame the crew could not be a touch more warm towards the customer.

Im looking forward to your continued story. Thanks for the report so far.

Cheers, Lee.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 18503 times:

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 7):
Nice to get that one in the bag after all and thank goodness there was no aircraft switch for you in the end. I guess the priority was the aircraft regardless of the service offered.
Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 7):
Im looking forward to your continued story. Thanks for the report so far.

Hi Lee, thanks for your comments! An aircraft change would have been a nightmare...

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 7):
A shame the crew could not be a touch more warm towards the customer.

I noticed the same attitude when I flew Iberia long-haul back in 2002.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 926 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 18370 times:

Great TR and pics. I have flown this route but choose the EK A380. AR did in fact have the least expensive tickets followed by LA and then EK as QF and NZ were more than double. I have flown AR only once from AEP to GIG. Service was ok nothing special and we too had a delay only about a half an hour but no reason for the delay? I do have to say that AR has a long way to go in terms of service quality to enter SkyTeam. I wish them luck!!!

Cheers
William



Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 18320 times:

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 9):
Great TR and pics.

Thanks a lot, William!

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 9):
I have flown this route but choose the EK A380.

Good choice, I guess you enjoyed that flight? EK's A380 is the best you can get in terms of comfort and IFE on that route.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 9):
AR did in fact have the least expensive tickets followed by LA and then EK as QF and NZ were more than double.

That's interesting. Only NZ and QF were more expensive than AR around my departure date.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 9):
I do have to say that AR has a long way to go in terms of service quality to enter SkyTeam. I wish them luck!!!

Yes, let's hope they will quickly improve in terms of service quality.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineaflyingkiwi From New Zealand, joined Nov 2010, 514 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 18232 times:

Hi PH,

Another fantastic report as usual. Nice to see you were able to log the rare A342.

My brother actually flew AR longhaul to South America in JAN (LA were about $1,500 more) and well he didn't really give them any glowing reviews. He was quite lucky because I believe that none of the flights were severely delayed which is quite lucky after hearing some of the other horror stories about AR,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
However, the footrest was broken and didn't move upwards any more

My brother also mentioned that the footrest didn't work on his flights.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
but at least the tray looked quite nice:

The food doesn't look too bad, at least you get something on the relatively short sector

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Aerolineas Argentinas' Economy Class product didn't impress me at all, but my expectations hadn't been high anyway after reading numerous reports. Seating comfort and catering were mostly acceptable on that 2.5 hour flight. However, the cabin was quite worn, certain items were broken, the IFE on that long-haul bird was totally outdated and the flight attendants were neither friendly nor customer-orientated

Summed it up nicely here. About the IFE, one thing I find ironic is that according to their in-flight magazine (Once again a big thank you to my brother for collecting it for me), they have touchscreen AVOD on their Embraer 190 fleet yet haven't even bothered about even slightly improving their long-haul fleet.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Regards,
aflyingkiwi


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 18211 times:

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):

Another fantastic report as usual. Nice to see you were able to log the rare A342.

Hi aflyingkiwi, thank you very much your comments!

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
My brother actually flew AR longhaul to South America in JAN (LA were about $1,500 more) and well he didn't really give them any glowing reviews. He was quite lucky because I believe that none of the flights were severely delayed which is quite lucky after hearing some of the other horror stories about AR,

Good to hear. You can indeed find numerous negative stories about AR. And I can tell you it's not good at all to read those stories shortly before a flight on that airline...

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
My brother also mentioned that the footrest didn't work on his flights.

That's interesting! AR should really fix those.  

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
About the IFE, one thing I find ironic is that according to their in-flight magazine (Once again a big thank you to my brother for collecting it for me), they have touchscreen AVOD on their Embraer 190 fleet yet haven't even bothered about even slightly improving their long-haul fleet.

Wow, hadn't heard that yet. Very odd indeed, they should invest that money into their long-haul fleet.


PH

[Edited 2011-03-05 12:18:13]


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 926 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 18194 times:

Indeed I loved the EK 380. It was my first ride on one and luckily got two more on SQ a few days later including C class from MEL to SIN and it was... Well words cannot say enough about the SQ C service! Best in the world! Look forward to your other TR's


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 18107 times:

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 13):
Indeed I loved the EK 380. It was my first ride on one and luckily got two more on SQ a few days later including C class from MEL to SIN and it was... Well words cannot say enough about the SQ C service! Best in the world!

That sounds great. SQ's J Class is a class of its own.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 13):
Look forward to your other TR's

Many more to follow in the next weeks and months.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26912 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 18076 times:

Hey another nice report. I always wanted to fly on AR but not so much reading recent reports. Back to the bottom of my list. Nice to get the A340 though. Its a shame as with some refurbishment and different crew it could have been so much different.

Thanks for the insight

Philip  


User currently offlinecomeflywithme From Argentina, joined Sep 2006, 265 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 17996 times:

Nice AR report.

The rules when flying AR are..

Hope the flight actually leaves within five hours of departure time.....if it does you're off to an excellent start..
Don't expect anything on board to work including the cabin crew.
Resign yourself to paying top whack for your ticket.


I'm not joking either.  


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 17970 times:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 15):
Hey another nice report.
Quoting comeflywithme (Reply 16):
Nice AR report.

Thanks, Phil & comeflywithme!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 15):
Its a shame as with some refurbishment and different crew it could have been so much different.

Yes, even a nice crew alone would have made a big difference.

Quoting comeflywithme (Reply 16):
The rules when flying AR are..

Hope the flight actually leaves within five hours of departure time.....if it does you're off to an excellent start..
Don't expect anything on board to work including the cabin crew.
Resign yourself to paying top whack for your ticket.

Great!   

Quoting comeflywithme (Reply 16):
I'm not joking either.

  


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2452 posts, RR: 53
Reply 18, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 17963 times:

Hi PH,

Fantastic continuation of your adventure Down Under!

Good to read your perspective about AR. I did not realize that A342 has become that rare. Thanks a lot about your in-depth information.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Anyway, what I didn't like at all about AR's website was the fact that I couldn't conveniently pay the ticket online. AR wanted me to call them or to go to one of their offices. So I stopped the booking process and searched for alternative websites. Finally, I booked the flight on Travelocity (American version). Then I tried to choose a seat in advance on AR’s website, but that wasn't possible either. Anyway, I was glad about having a reservation at all.

That is odd. It reminds me of the reservation mechanism of GA last year. AR should be grateful with Travelocity which made their fifth freedom routes accessible from all over the world.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Warm welcome? Forget it! One flight attendant quickly checked my boarding pass, two others were chatting with each other and didn't even look at the passing passengers

Why this attitude?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
but the (New Zealand made) apricot frangipani cake

Exotic! It must have been the most fragrant cake you would ever taste.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
but I can only recommend to invest a bit more and stay at the Jet Park. Some impressions:

Clean and tidy room with proper sanitary fittings and in room safe. What you really need! Great indeed!

Thanks again for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 19, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 17798 times:

Hi PH,

great report with some good pics also. For a flight of about 2 hours, the meal look very sufficient, and much more then we get on board of our European flights with this duration. Legroom good, but the used cabin... maybe it belongs to the A342 experience already.
Looking forward to the remaining parts of your journey!

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 17189 times:

Quoting akhmad (Reply 18):
Fantastic continuation of your adventure Down Under!

Good to read your perspective about AR. I did not realize that A342 has become that rare. Thanks a lot about your in-depth information.

Hi Suryo, many thanks for your kind words!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 18):
That is odd. It reminds me of the reservation mechanism of GA last year.

Interesting, another airline which makes life more complicated than necessary.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 18):
Why this attitude?

Very good question!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 19):
great report with some good pics also.

Many thanks, Eric!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 19):
For a flight of about 2 hours, the meal look very sufficient, and much more then we get on board of our European flights with this duration.

Well, there still some carriers which serve hot meals on 2.5 hour flights on European routes.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 19):
Legroom good, but the used cabin... maybe it belongs to the A342 experience already.

Yes, I guess A342s in immaculate condition are hard to find.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinesrqmuc From Germany, joined Jun 2010, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 16920 times:

Servus PH,

once again a marvelous report!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Well, then I started hoping that the A340-200 would indeed operate on that day. My itinerary just showed "A340" and I knew that it could be switched to an A340-300 under certain circumstances - pictures from AKL and SYD confirmed that it had indeed happened sometimes.

Kudos for taking the risk of an equipment change! I'm glad that you got at least the A340-200 as planned! Is this how you get your thrills?  



Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Well, my flight was indeed delayed in the end, but it wasn't a big deal. Aerolineas Argentinas' Economy Class product didn't impress me at all, but my expectations hadn't been high anyway after reading numerous reports. Seating comfort and catering were mostly acceptable on that 2.5 hour flight. However, the cabin was quite worn, certain items were broken, the IFE on that long-haul bird was totally outdated and the flight attendants were neither friendly nor customer-orientated. I definitely wouldn't want to fly AR on a long-haul route.

Hopefully they start soon improving their overall product because having so many major flaws is unacceptable in times of rising South American mega carriers, e.g. LATAM or Avianca-TACA.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 22, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 16897 times:

Quoting srqmuc (Reply 21):
once again a marvelous report!

Servus srqmuc,

thanks a lot for your feedback! Good to hear you liked it.

Quoting srqmuc (Reply 21):
Kudos for taking the risk of an equipment change! I'm glad that you got at least the A340-200 as planned! Is this how you get your thrills?

Well, I knew that the A342s are usually used for these services, but you never know. Actually I get my thrills by flying on desired birds - I can do well without any kinds of uncertainties.

Quoting srqmuc (Reply 21):



Hopefully they start soon improving their overall product because having so many major flaws is unacceptable in times of rising South American mega carriers, e.g. LATAM or Avianca-TACA.

That's true, several Latin American carriers offer a high standard, AR needs to follow.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineCPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4780 posts, RR: 23
Reply 23, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 16405 times:

Nice TR, and great to see an A342 report. I hope to be able to fly this route later this year but haven't made any arrangements yet.

Last October I flew STN-KUL-MEL (AirAsia X) and MEL--AKL (QF), also staying the first night at the Jet Park Hotel. It was great, very reasonable price, clean rooms and an excellent restaurant.

Look forward to your next TR!

Cheers,

CPDC10-30


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 24, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 16390 times:

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 23):
Nice TR, and great to see an A342 report. I hope to be able to fly this route later this year but haven't made any arrangements yet.

Thanks for your feedback! I really recommend to choose AR if you still need to fly on the A342.

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 23):
Last October I flew STN-KUL-MEL (AirAsia X) and MEL--AKL (QF), also staying the first night at the Jet Park Hotel. It was great, very reasonable price, clean rooms and an excellent restaurant.

Good to hear. How was AirAsia X?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
25 Post contains images 767747 : Hey, PlaneHunter! Another great report! Great to read again about Aerolineas Argentinas on this forum again! Looks like you had a decent flight with t
26 flykev : Once again you have written an informative and interesting report; and covered an airline that certainly doesn't get reported on. The pictures really
27 PlaneHunter : Hi Matthew, thanks a lot for your comments! At least the seats were still better than some of the rock-hard new-style models. Thanks! Many thanks, Ke
28 FlyingFinn76 : Hi PH! A nice one! Very interesting to read about the rare A340-200 (BTW congratulations on catching one!) and of this fifth freedom route. AR doesn't
29 PlaneHunter : Hi FlyingFinn, thanks for your feedback, always appreciated! Yes, my expectations hadn't been high either. PH
30 FLIEGER67 : Hi, PH, great story and pictures. Definitely good to follow the next part of you´re travel around the world adventure. Really good choice to fit in t
31 Post contains images Luftfahrer : Interesting report featuring a rather exotic aircraft type, PlaneHunter! I enjoyed your continuation. They're actually APUs! I haven't been in that si
32 The777Man : Hi PlaneHunter! Excellent report with excellent pictures! Nice for you to get another airline AND a new type in one flight ! Meals looks okay for such
33 abrelosojos : PH, Thanks for the report. Am glad your RTW is going well. Finally catching up on your report, and some more from the web. It has been a great way to
34 Scandinavian : Very nice report with great photos! Thanks for taking your time to write it. I flew with an A330-200 in 2001, FRA-CCS with Lufthansa. That was a great
35 chepos : Very enjoyable read, thank you for sharing. Regards, Chepos
36 Post contains images ronerone : Congratulations on the composition of your Aerolineas adventure PlaneHunter. Another top quality report on the one airline i was waiting to know your
37 Post contains links and images PlaneHunter : Hi Markus, thanks for your feedback! It's a rare bird, but I'm sure you will find a way to get it. Many thanks, Marius! Sure, how could I forget? Goo
38 ba319-131 : Hi PH, Great report, you were lucky the delay was just a short one, some days it's much worse I understand. - Congrats of joining the 'flown the A340-
39 PlaneHunter : Thanks, Mark! I also remember that an A342 was even grounded at AKL for a while due to an engine fault. Yes, rare plane, small group. That's what I'd
40 Post contains images NZ107 : Hi PH, Another excellent TR, congrats again for getting the A342. Good to see you're churning these reports out quite quick! Photos were nice too, tha
41 Post contains images infodesk : Hi PH, Enjoyable read about a rather exotic carrier here on airliners and made all the more special by the fact you flew it on this Australasian leg a
42 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Many thanks, Nicholas! Sounds very good. The closer the better. I hope it won't be too expensive. Well, it was a major engine fault... Thanks, Hannah
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