I have been there twice in the past year, both times flying AR
). The airport is divided into two terminals the older terminal being the one that handles AR
flights and the newer terminal handling all other carriers. The AR
terminal is probably my favorite terminal anywhere in the entire world. It is old and great. When you step off the plane you feel like you've stepped back into time (somewhere in the mid 1970's to be more exact). The AR
terminal is one of the shrinking number of airports that has incredible unobstructed views of the aircraft and the airfield. The airbridges are mostly glass too so you have great views as you're exiting and boarding the plane.
A good number of ARs international flights all come in very early in the morning and the many lines of travelers waiting to get through customs are long and slow. But it's all for the best. While you're waiting you have great views of the airfield and you can watch the sun begin to rise and the other international carries creep by on their way to the new terminal. Baggage claim is very busy and then there is another long line to stand in while security checks all bags are matched to the right person (again, a shrinking breed of airports which still practices this ritual).
As you step through the sliding doors into the AR
international arrivals hall it's a complete mob scene with an unusually high number of friends and relatives awaiting the arrival of someone.
The international arrival hall is big, old and great. I believe it was built during the Peron era and hasn't changed much since. I hope it never does.
As you drive out of the airport the road hugs the perimeter of the airport and you have great viewing of old derelict and broken up aircraft strewn among the trees and weeds. There's an old broken up DC-10 and DC-8 which are just letting time and the earth take them over. You also have great views of AR
's hangers with various AR
aircraft hanging around. Always some AR
classic 747s in some state of repair.
Check-in at the old terminal is, again, like a step back in time. Every time I do it it's always been an experience. But one I would never give up. It takes a very long time and once you are done checking in you still have to go over to another part of the terminal and pay your departure/airport tax. Customs is a long twisted line from one room to another and you feel that people have been doing it this same way for 50 years.
Again, once you get to your gate you have great views of your airplane and the airfield just beyond. My last flight back to JFK
was on one of AR
's classic 747s -- a true surprise and treat and not one empty seat.
During 2002 I flew in and out of the new international terminal, but it is nothing like the experience of the old AR
terminal. It's just your typical steel and glass structure that resembles the way most new terminals are built and has no flavor of Argentina. During 2002 the arrivals and gate areas at the new terminal were still under major construction, so I have no idea what they are like this year.
I hope they keep the AR
terminal up forever. It would be a shame to tear it down and build something shiny and new.
If you get the chance definitely fly AR
. You can actually daydream and imagine exactly how it must have been years and years ago.