Sao Paulo GRU-Buenos Aires EZE
December 26th 2003
This is the third time I have the pleasure to fly this great airline. Like before I did not especially chose to fly TAM but my flight originated in Amsterdam with KLM with the sector between Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires being covered by the Brazilian airline.
After a little more than an hour an a half in transit at Guarulhos airport we were ready to board flight JJ8007. Although the terminal facilities are not the most modern, the personnel on shops are very friendly and cordial while you can also walk around and look the very interesting range of aircraft operating from the windows. I watched a Japan Airlines B747-400 being serviced for its midnight departure to Nagoya, the arrival of a Copa 737-700 with winglets, Vasp 737-200 or TAM Fokker 100’s among many other types.
Photo © Ricardo Ramos
Once onboard we were greeted by the very cordial TAM crew. The A320 looked spotless in and outside. Once everybody is onboard a cabin crew passes with a basket with toffees as a welcome measure. TAM has a very nice safety briefing video using cartoon characters, which was subsequently played as doors were closed and pushback began.
Due to Argentinean health authorities’ requirements, the cabin was sprayed. A cabin crew explained this and that aerosols are harmless with all announcements are made in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
Once airborne the inflight entertainment system began. A gracious stewardess passed distributing hot towels. The video program began with a documentary about the renewal of the TAM inflight food service during 2003. Apparently this was a major project for the airline that involved many people including hiring top chefs at main stations in Miami, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Paris. The documentary was very interesting and was not broadcast only to those willing to hear it with headseats but heard within the whole cabin. You can see the high commitment to service the airline has.
The video was followed with the start of the dinner service. Cabin crews pass with drinks first and later with the warm meal. There was a choice of chicken and pasta, I took the chicken and it was delicious. It was accompanied by a salad and very tasty cake desserts. Just like the documentary anticipated meals enhanced the use of regional spices, very good quality meal.
I was coming from a 11 hour flight with KLM and the TAM meals highly overshadowed the ones served by the Dutch airline. Not that the KLM ones were bad, they were OK but those portions were very small but the overall service was also good on the long sector. The contrast was however great when experiencing TAM in comparison to KLM in terms of inflight service and details. TAM personnel pass two times with drinks and after the meal with another round with more drinks and coffee and all are offered always with much cordiality. Another aspect I enjoyed was the air show. TAM uses a different system I guess, map images are shown as the aircraft advances, with very attractive graphics. Flight times to Buenos Aires was two hours and 20 minutes.
The video system continued with a very interesting documentary about Brazil in the 1960’s and the project to build Brasilia, the new capital. It was very amusing.
Approach to Buenos Aires was somewhere from the south and within minutes we were flying over the airport. I was able to spot a large aircraft landing below but would not be able to identify which one. It was rainy with a few clouds as the A320 continued to make a large round. At 00.08 we finally landed with light rain, amazing to see the aircraft in full break reversal and all the spray that was generating on the wet runway.
Photo © Carlos A. Morillo Doria
Once in the terminal I spotted and Iberia A340, which was the aircraft just landed before us. The flight from Madrid had a three hour delay I been later told.
Midnight is a great time to arrive to EZE, not many people so all procedures are ultra fast. Within minutes I was greeting my parents and was finally home!
TAM is a great airline, for me one or maybe the best I flown among South American ones. The A320 is a nice aircraft but the best are the high attention to details even considering this is economy class.
Hope you enjoyed the report.