Reasons for the trip –
Since weather in Buenos Aires is too hot and humid in December and January, it was time to elope to nicer places for a couple of weeks. The Argentine Northwest, although also quite hot, is always nice and full of people I’m fond of, so I decided to escape there.
The cheapest fare to anywhere in the Northwest was quoted at LAN’s Argentina-based website, and even though I wasn’t going to Salta, the price difference was worth the drive from the cities I was to go. Booking and purchase were done using my credit card. The site (www.lan.com) is very well done and in no time the ticket confirmation was e-mailed to me. It is a shame, however, that LAN does not allow seat selection for its cheapest fares.
LAN Argentina 4M 4112
AEP Buenos Aires Aeroparque – SLA Salta Martín Miguel de Güemes
28 December 2007
Seat 23A – Economy Class
Airbus A320-200 – LV-BFO
I used the web check-in feature so that I could get a decent seat. I was surprised when I noticed I was sequence number 20 even though I checked me in some 40 hours before departure. Got to AEP
about an hour before departure and proceeded to the empty “Check-in en LAN.com” counters, where I dropped off my luggage and the agent told me our flight was on time. Whilst 4M
’s counters were almost empty, Aerolíneas’ were a huge mess with flight departing to almost everywhere in the country.
LAN Argentina counters at AEP
After a quick breakfast and a last smoke, it was time to go through security which, as usual at AEP
, had a huge queue but went quickly. Boarding was very organized and done through one of the aerobridges, and in no time I was onboard LV
-BFO. The flight was completely packed, mainly with porteño backpackers – it has become some sort of tradition for people 18-30 from Buenos Aires to go to the Northwest and see “deep Argentina” for some weeks. Usually these folks go by bus, but LAN’s prices are almost at the same level, and nobody can resist 2 hours by plane instead of 18 hours by bus.
LV-BFO waiting for us
Typically LAN, seat pitch was very tight and service was quite robotic, with no smiles or anything. Catering consisted of the classical unhappy meal box, with an alfajor (chocolate candy) and some cookies. I ordered a Coke and the attendant instead gave me an orange juice – maybe because it was December 28th, our version of April 1st? Weather was terrific, so I had the chance to take some pictures. “Just for Laughs” gags were shown on the screens, but as usual nobody paid attention to them. Different announcements were done regarding the airline – check in yourself at LAN.com, check your flight status by sending a text message to 20800, etc.. Landing was 15 minutes ahead on schedule and Andes’ third, all-white MD
-83 could be spotted at the provincial facilities. Andes is Salta’s state-owned airline.
Buenos Aires as seen from the air
City of Zárate
Unhappy meal box, "In" in-flight magazine and a leaflet advertising LAN's check-your-flight-status text message system
Laguna Mar Chiquita (Small Sea Lake)
Desert in Northern Córdoba
Benjamín Matienzo Airport of San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina's 4th largest city (TUC / SANT)
Approach into Salta, overflying the Valle de Lerma (Lerma Valley)
Andes' 3rd MD-83 at SLA's provincial facilities
Baggage claim –
Luggage came in no time, and we even had a souvenir of last October’s elections, courtesy of president Cristina Kirchner and salteño governor Juan Manuel Urtubey, who, at 38, is Argentina’s youngest governor.
Kirchner for President, Juan Manuel for Governor
Another average LAN flight. When you pay a very good price, you cannot expect a terrific level of service. LAN’s strongest point is punctuality, which once again was remarkable.
Other pictures –
I have noticed some fellow a.netters add pictures of the places they have been to, and I thought I could do the same, so here are some pictures of Argentina’s Northwest.
Tafí del Valle, Tucumán
Desert near Santa María, Catamarca
Early morning in Iturbe, Jujuy
Thanks for reading and, as usual, comments and feedback are really appreciated.
[Edited 2008-01-14 23:19:21]