I arrived at Aeroparque quite ahead of time, even though I had already checked me in at Lan’s website before leaving home. In fact, I did pretty much everything with Lan through the internet: bought my ticket, chose my seat and even printed my boarding pass. I only called them twice, first in order to become a Lan Pass member and second to change my flights, which they did in two seconds and without charging any fees.
I was celebrating a bunch of things that afternoon (I was flying, I was going to meet lots of family I’m fond of, I was going to be with M. again and I was just told I had passed a test at school), so I decided to have a seat at one of the many cafés Aeroparque has got before security and enjoy a nice, cold beer. The TV
screens were showing the rugby world cup match of Argentina against France, and the ambiance at AEP
was perhaps better than that at the Stade de France – people were clapping and shouting out loud every time Argentina scored.
Aeroparque thrilled with France – Argentina
Once the match was over, I went through security and managed to take some pictures.
LV-BGI – Dry-cleaning
LA 4200 – operated by Lan Argentina
19 October 2007
AEP Buenos Aires Aeroparque – COR Córdoba Pajas Blancas (Ambrosio Taravella)
Estimated/actual time of departure: 17:55/17:55
Estimated/actual time of arrival: 19:18/19:18
Airbus A320 – LV-BET
Boarding was very well organized. They did the classical call for last rows to board first, and there were two people at the door checking whether people boarding were actually seating in the last rows. Once I entered the plane, I took a picture of our neighbour, LV
, about to leave for Mendoza, and tried without any success to make myself comfortable, for legroom was terrible. LV
-BET was just re-bumped as a LASER plane, its new configuration being Y168, and that can be really felt. Thankfully the centre seat remained empty during the whole flight. This said, I’ve got to admit the leather-like seats with adjustable headrests are very nice.
LV-BGI ready to leave for Mendoza
Security instructions shown on the LCD screens
Ready to taxi, IFR
View of Aeroparque
We took off from runway 31, which is always nicer than 13 because one can see the whole city and not just the river. We got some nice views, including River Plate stadium, which was full of people waiting to watch Soda Stereo play that evening.
After take off, view of the “Bosques de Palermo” (Palermo Park) and Belgrano area
We did an ATOVO2B procedure and whilst flying over San Nicolás, not very far from Buenos Aires, clouds managed to cover the whole sky, so no views from there onwards. Catering consisted on the classical unhappy meal box, which is nonetheless happier than Aerolíneas’, because it is made by Havanna, a sort of deluxe Argentine candy brand, and not by popular and medium-quality Arcor.
Happy meal box with lots of typical marketing sentences that don’t really make any sense
Reading material: “In” in-flight magazine, Lan Tours catalogue and a huge safety card
A Canadian “Just for Laughs” humour program was shown on the LCD
screens, but I didn’t see any people really paying attention to it. The very same program is shown on TAM flights between Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.
We landed at Pajas Blancas right on schedule and precisely at 19:18 the aerobridge was connected to the front door. Talk about punctuality! I left the plane and, having nothing but carry-on luggage, I was outside the airport in no time, greeting one of The Nieces and M., who were waiting for me.
First view of Córdoba
A video of our landing at COR
can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1b769PeJ2M
After a great weekend with the family and M., who, I can say, is now a member of the family, it was time to go back to reality. M. came with me to the airport, where we arrived at around 7:45 am. I didn’t really want to leave, but I sadly had to go.
I checked-in in a mere couple of seconds at the empty Lan Argentina and Lan Chile counters, prepared for passengers going to Buenos Aires and Santiago respectively. The new “terminal” at COR
is nice, but they did the same thing than at EZE
– a whole new structure for the check-in area, while the rest has been the pretty much the same since the 1978 World Cup. The check-in agent typed something on the computer and gave me my boarding pass while saying: “Marcos, we’re boarding at 8:30 am through gate 5. Have a nice flight.” I was so delighted because the woman called me by my name that I told M. about it.
“- Guess what, the check-in agent called me by my name.
- It’s all about marketing, darling. She calls you by your name, you’re happy, you fly Lan on your next trip.
- Of course, sweetheart, but it was cool anyway. And I’m a victim of marketing, who, after being called by his name, will most probably fly Lan on his next trip.”
We had breakfast at the only café available before security, which was extremely expensive – even more expensive than the very expensive ones at Ezeiza and Aeroparque. Way to go, Aeropuertos Argentina 2000. At 8:30 we said goodbye to each other, with lots of kisses, hugs and all the stupid things you say and do when you are in love and go through this situation. I guess we didn’t match the crowds of business travellers flying on a Monday morning, but, after all, ours was a typical airport scene. I recognize it was hard not to cry whilst crossing the door and seeing her for the last time.
I bought a local newspaper, for I suppose Cordobeses don’t want to sell Buenos Aires papers at their airport (they are extremely proud people, you know), and boarding was called. Again, everything was very organized.
LA 4203 – operated by Lan Argentina
22 October 2007
COR Córdoba Pajas Blancas (Ambrosio Taravella) – AEP Buenos Aires Aeroparque
Estimated/actual time of departure: 09:05/09:05
Estimated/actual time of arrival: 10:20/10:22
Airbus A320 – LV-BET
I was quite angry when I saw our aircraft would be LV
-BET because, as one former a.netter from Germany once said, “there’s nothing worse than flying twice on the same registration.” There’s nothing important to tell about the flight because it was all the same than on my previous trip. The only interesting fact is that the LCD
screens were apparently out of order. They were never used, and security instructions were shown the manual way, like in the good old days.
Waiting to leave for Aeroparque
Some interesting clouds over southern Santa Fe province
Even though we did the classical runway 13 approach, instead of landing we circled towards runway 31. This meant we experienced a spectacular approach with some great views of downtown Buenos Aires.
Puerto Madero district
Puerto Madero, the “Correo Central” (main postal office) and Luna Park stadium
We landed just 2 minutes behind schedule and in no time I was at the bus stop waiting for my bus to go home.
Guess which the two main carriers at AEP are?
LV-BET waiting for its next flight
Would I fly Lan Argentina again? Most certainly. Given the current circumstances, with Aerolíneas and Austral being subject to regular delays, cancellations and strikes, it is always nice to know there’s another option – an option that offers punctuality, good service and reasonably new aircraft. Besides, there was practically no price difference between competitors. Is Lan Argentina “the joy of flying” (“el encanto de volar”
), as they advertise? Currently, on the Argentine domestic market, I’d say yes.