What you experienced is not uncommon, and is in fact a lot simpler and less scandalous than it looks:
First, it is not that you are a US citizen. I have dual citizenship (Argentine and UK), and when I book a domestic flight in Argentina from abroad (MDQ
, or Tierra del Fuego, for example), I go to the "Argentine option", and reserve my seat with the Peso tariff. The only catch is that you cannot pay the Peso fare outside of Argentina, so the simplest solution is usually to book the flights, print out you itenerary (valid until 24 hours before the flight), and collect your ticket at AR
's office (at the entrance to their terminal) upon arrival in EZE
. They accept both cash and credit cards, depending upon your preferred method, but you will be charged the Peso fare you originally saw.
When I tried to book an AEP
return from Uruguay, AR
were quoting me US$287 return, so I said no way. As a result, I called my travel agent in BA
(Keenly Travel, +54-11-4393-1797, I do recommend them), and I was able to book the same flights for 270 Pesos return (under US$100).
And amazingly, the Argentine economy is making quite a rebound from the toilet, believe it or not, for the time being at least. Let's hope it lasts!...