LV-ZPX 21OCT AR1185 AKL-EZE 16A
After finishing my shift for the day, I went out to the car, picked up my luggage and headed back into the Check In desks to check for the flight. As always it seemed funny to be on the other side of the counter, but I got assigned my seat, 3 rows from the front of economy. I went through with plenty of time to spare and went to my gate via the new level that AKL has recently opened – From a staff perspective it’s a mess, and from a passenger perspective it is worse. It is an embarrassment, but very typical of the airport company that runs the show. I got to the gate, and just watched the goings on with the gate agent and knew that there was going to be a minor delay just knowing the process, as it happened it was about 20minutes late, but no major. I got onboard and was happy to see that 16B the seat next to me had remained free, which was nice, cos flight time was 12h 20 and the plane had only a couple of spare seats onboard. The takeoff was just about the most shallow take off I have ever experienced, we didn’t reach cruising altitude of 33,000 until we were well past the East Cape of New Zealand. My mother (a well trained plane spotter) who watched the takeoff said she honestly thought that the plane was going to have to abort takeoff because of lack of climb. This was as much to do with the huge freight load as it was about the old joke about the only reason an A340 gets off the ground is because the Earth is flat, still a very smooth takeoff, if somewhat laboured and lethargic.
The FA came around with the economy class packs, with socks, toothbrushes and eyemasks and I dozed off for about 20min until dinner was served. I chose a very nice pasta dish and a bottle of Argentinian Red was served with the meal. The flight was relatively straightforward with a touch of minor turbulence in the middle of the Southern Ocean, but it was nice to sight the coast of Chile after about 10hours flying over nothing except sea with no diversion airports to speak of. We made up the time and arrived at EZE on time. I cleared customs and picked up my bags promptly and set off into downtown Buenos Aires to the apartment.
LV-ZPJ EZE-IGR 25 OCT A340-200 42H Upgraded to 7H
I was off up to the Argentine side of Iguassu Falls, and was assigned my usual window seat, we checked in the AR terminal but had to go to the other terminal to board due to it being a domestic flight. We were bussed across to the waiting A340, and I was very happy when the Chief Purser ushered me through to seat 7H in a half empty business class cabin. Perfect, if only for a 2hour flight. The service in Condor Class is really very very good, I was waited on constantly and I had a massive plate of food and wine to digest. The seats aren’t the newest design but at least they are extremely comfortable and with heaps of space. Brilliant flight.
LV-MYD 28OCT IGR-AEP MD83 Seat 2X The Jumpseat.
All the flights from IGR that day were oversold, and I wasn’t likely to make it on, when the pilot offered to put me in the jumpseat, and my friend in the last free business class seat on the plane, naturally I accepted, and my first jumpseat boarding pass was issued. I chatted to the pilots and enjoyed listening to everything in Spanish, even though I could understand very little. It was very interesting flight, and one I am unlikely to forget in a hurry. I thanked the pilots for getting me back to Buenos Aires for my connecting flight and the stunning FAs kissed me goodbye on my way out – Man I love Latin Americans!!!!! I stopped off briefly at Aeroparque for some rego hunting and photography before transferring through to Ezeiza for my late flight to LIM.
LV-AIV 28OCT EZE-LIM A310-300 27A Upgraded to seat 3H.
The AR terminal was chaotic, and all the gates were full with passengers, I stopped by the AR transfer desk to confirm the gate, they told me the wrong gate and I sat down at the gate – I realized they had told me otherwise when my name among a list of about 10 was paged to go to gate, which I duly did so. The flight was again late departing as they loaded all the oversized hand luggage all the pax seemed to have in the hold. Again we were bussed out to the waiting aircraft and I made my way down the plane to my economy seat, I was just strapping myself in when the pursor came down and told me to come with him up to the business class cabin. The seats on the A310 aren’t quite as nice as the A340, but still very comfortable, although the food wasn’t as nice this time around. Still a very nice way to pass the time, and the FAs as attentive as before. On arrival at LIM the queues for the immigration were awful, it took over an hour to get through as far as baggage, which was ridiculous – it made AKL look like a walk in the park, even though the terminal is very nice and up to date
CC-COQ 29OCT LIM-CUZ A320-200 12A
My First time on LP/LA. A pretty uneventful flight due to the fact it only takes 50 minutes. The Service was quite good considering, with pizza bread, drinks and a dessert served, and the “Just for laughs” videos funny. The approach into CUZ is parallel to the runway, then around a mountain and going sharply down, it made for a good landing.
CC-COQ 02NOV CUZ-LIM A320-200 10F First Exit Row
The Flight was about 40minutes late boarding due to the late arrival of the aircraft, which when it finally arrived I was disappointed to see was COQ again. It was about an hour late by the time it departed. Unfortunately I got the Exit row, so the rather pretty FA told me I couldn’t even have my camera on my lap. The upside was that it was a turbulent flight over the Andes and it has to be a very sharp takeoff out of CUZ. The seatbelt sign was constantly on, and the service had to be interrupted because of it, People were being sick across the aisle and kids crying, which always makes life interesting – I hate the smell of vomit, especially when it isn’t my own. My flight back to EZE was 0030 the next morning so I had about 10 hours to kill so I went to the Gold Museum in Lima.
LV-AIV 03NOV LIM-EZE 27A A310-300
Was disappointed to have a second duplicate rego to fly on in 24hours, but we had to be boarded quickly because the ATC was going on strike at about the same time our flight was due to depart, we got out before the strike and started our overnight flight to Buenos Aires. The seat pitch in Economy on this aircraft is extremely tight and uncomfortable, and the fuselage wall restrictive with head movement, the pitch was bad enough I couldn’t even bend enough to pick up my camera bag under my seat. The food was ok, a basic chicken and rice dish with salad and Caramel dessert but I was so uncomfortable and tired that for the first time in my life I didn’t finish everything on my plate. We arrived at about 0630 local time at EZE
LV-AYE 04NOV EZE-GIG 14F 737-500
This flight was a lot more comfortable than the flight in economy on the supposedly larger A310 flight from Lima. The flight was shrouded in cloud, so naturally there was a fair bit of turbulence – The FAs had to stop the food service literally on the row before mine because it was too hard to serve. They eventually turned up again about 40 minutes later to complete the service, but I was quite hungry till then – although not their fault. I got chatting with an elderly Australian couple about travelling while we waited for our food. On arrival in Rio I was greeted with a TAAG Angola 747-300 which was nice to finish the flight with. It was a pity therefore that it was too dark to photograph.
LV-ZSW 06 NOV GIG-EZE 737-200 19F
I was very pleased to see a 737-200 pull into the gate, although that was short-lived once the engines went on for takeoff.. The Cabin echoed with the sound of the old engines and that made it rather hard for the 3 ½ hour flight back to EZE, although the seats were good. I feel sorry for those who didn’t have the noise canceling phones like myself. The Flight Attendant wasn’t very keen on me using them I don’t think, but never mind.
LV-ZPA 06 NOV EZE-AKL A340-200.42H
This flight is around 13 hours long, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a new rego to fly on which means I only have LV-ZPO to fly on before I’ve been on all the AR 340s.
It was the night flight that skips an entire day, so not usually one that is very comfortable down the back in Y, but I had the last window seat down the back and the seat next to me which was nice to stretch out, and lay down across. The only problem I had with the flight was an old lady that was fine to sit in her aisle seat when there wasn’t a movie on, but the moment it started she would go wandering the aisle, and stop and turn around right in front of the screen in front of me, watch the movie for a few minutes and then do it again 5 minutes later. If I wasn’t so tired I would have said something because it was bloody annoying. The flight arrived about 15 minutes early and I was through and cleared in no time at all.