Well, folks, here's the report for my return from EZE
448 12:40 18:00
-PTY 7 March 2004
After 5 wonderful days in Buenos Aires, it was time to head back home. I took another “remis” from the hotel to EZE
airport. My flight was leaving from terminal A, which is the newer terminal used by foreign carriers, as AR
uses terminal B which looks really old (at least from the outside, I didn’t go incide).
After a very quick check-in (about two or three minutes at most), I proceeded to pay my departure fee. For tose that have never been to EZE
, you have to pay this fee (US$18.00 IIRC) after you check-in and before you go through immigration (it is NOT included in your ticket). You have to pay either in US dollars or in Argentinian pesos. The only kind of travellers cheques you can use to pay the fee are American Express, and the only credit card they take is Master Card (credit, not debit). Really inconvenient, IMHO.
Since I was travelling C class, I was told by the check-in agent that I could use the Centurión Club, which was supposed to be across from the gate. I could never find it, and everyone I asked pointed me in a different direction.
Anyway, with still one hour to go before boarding I sat at the gate area where two MD
-11’s were parked by side by side. One was a RG
flight to Sao Paulo (or San Pablo, as they say in Argentina), and the other one was a Swiss flight to Switzerland (obviously). After these two beautiful birds pushed back, my beautiful, enormous (yeah, sure!) CM
73G pulled into the gate that had been occupied by the RG
bird. Some difference.
Boarding was quick and we were handed the menus by the Business Class robot..er, flight attendant. Never in my life have I encountered a flight attendant such as this. She was not rude or anything, she just seemed…dead, if you know what I mean. There was absolutely no way you could get even the slightest hint of a smile from her. I guess she was worried about her upcoming pilot exam, as she spent most of the flight sitting in her jumpseat, studying her flight school materials. She would just do the “oficial” meal services, and then disappear until you went to her seat and asked for a drink or anything.
Anyway. I was excited at the possibility of seeing the Andes mountains in some part of the flight, but this was not posible. The sky below us and in the distance was quite cloudly for most of the time (well, at least for the time that I was not sleeping, after having stuffed myself with kilos and kilos of “bife de chorizo” and red wine for the previous four days). Total duration for this flight was 7:15 (¡), of which about more than half were quite turbulent. We landed in PTY on-time.
As this time my connection was going to be a bit longer than on the way to EZE
, I decided to spend the 45 minutes or so till departure at the Presidents Club. The Presidents Club at PTY is, well, your average Prez Club. It’s not huge, but has a decent size, although it tends to get pretty crowded at peak times. What I liked the most about it, though, is that you get a great view of one of the runways and the platform, although at that hour the only non-CM airplane I saw was an AV MD
-80, with the boring “butterfly” livery. I must say that I had never seen so many wingletted 737’s at the same time. It's like being in Houston, only with winglets.
The flight to MX
), Mexico">MEX was pretty normal (well, I think: I slept all the way to MX
), Mexico">MEX). After landing in MX
), Mexico">MEX, we parked at gate thirtysomething, which is really far away from the civilized world. After spending more than 10 hours sitting on an airplane, this would be a nice walk to immigration. Well, not really. It’s obscenely far from the new gates at MX
), Mexico">MEX to the immigration area, although the moving sidewalks were working this time.
Baggage claim at MX
), Mexico">MEX for flights from Central and South America is in a different, isolated area from the rest of international flights. This is supposed to be to fight drug smuggling. Everyone’s bags have to go through an x-ray machine and then press the “lottery” button. The thing is, out of the three lanes for custom in that area, only one was open, so it was a complete mess, as people could hardly fit with all the bags in that area (the 73G was packed). I can’t even begín to imagine what it must have been like when AR
was flying their 747’s to MX
This “special customs” thing for flights from south america really pisses me off. Can you imagine if mexicans arriving in the US had to arrive at a special area to be more thoroughly searched, no matter what the excuse for it was? Our politicians would be all over it, complaining about how mexicans’ human rights were being trampled upon, or how we are being discriminated. Well, folks, this is what us mexicans are doing to others.
Summing it up: CM
on board service in C class was equivalent to CO
on a good day (save for the flight attendant on the EZE
-PTY leg), although I have had better food on the MX
flight on CO
. The 7-hour flight aboard the 73G is really not that bad, although a bigger aircraft would definitely be better.
Would I take CM
and their 73G to EZE
again? Well, if I were going to be on a free ticket, or in business class, or somehow managed to get the emergency exit assigned when making my reservation, yes. Now, if I had to pay for a regular coach seat, I would try one of the other carriers using widebodies (RG
). (I would choose RG
, as I have a lot more opportunities to fly MX
Colorín, colorado, este trip report se ha acabado. (The End).