TR1
Topic Author
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:43 am

Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:58 am

3 April 2012
Aerolineas Argentinas AR1302 EZE-MIA
A340-312 LV-CEK
4372 miles/7037 km
Flight time: 8h45m
Scheduled departure: 11:25pm
Actual departure: 11:32pm
Scheduled arrival: 7:33am
Actual arrival: 7:37am
Economy Class, seat 46B
Approximate YC load: 90%


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Photo © Orlando G. Rivera Rivera - SJU Aviation Photography

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0404.jpg

My travel partner was taking the 8:30pm Delta flight to ATL so I arrived five hours early for an 11:30pm flight. No problem since by checking in early if the AR staff said the flight didn't look good for standby travel I would still have time to try and get on the LAN or American flights that evening. I arrived so early that check-in for MIA wasn't to begin for yet another hour.

Since July 2011 AR has been operating out of the new Terminal C at EZE. Check-in area is bright and airy, but perhaps a bit to sterile. It was very quiet when I arrived but gradually got busier as passengers arrived to check-in for AR's long-haul flights that evening.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0416.jpg

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0403.jpg

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0405.jpg

Around 7:30pm check-in for MIA started. Already a queue had developed but it moved quickly. The first step was to verify one's name on the passenger list. Although I was traveling standby my name was on it. My company's staff travel agreement with AR asks that we e-mail our requests for listing to them. I was happy to receive my confirmation that morning since it was a holiday in Argentina the day before. The next step was being reminded by airport personnel to ensure that any liquids, gels, or creams in my carry-on bags were in a quart size/one liter bag--a nice touch to avoid any surprises at security. Finally I got to the check-in counter where the agent initially had difficulty determining which boarding priority I was. That was quickly answered by a supervisor and the agent told me to come back in 90 minutes for a seat assignment. Although there were about 30 available seats on the flight he couldn't give me one quite yet. I thanked him for the information--so far so good.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0415.jpg

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0408.jpg

While I had a book to pass the time while waiting for my boarding pass, thank goodness for free wi-fi in the terminal:

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0418.jpg

Returned to check-in at 10:00 for some good news: accepted for the flight and boarding pass issued.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0469.jpg

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0425.jpg

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0421.jpg
My ride to Miami: LV-CEK

Boarding was called at 10:40pm with passengers who needed special assistance and families with small children first. With Easter weekend fast approaching there were a lot of children on this flight. Next Business Class passengers were allowed to board followed by Economy Class passengers by row number. It appeared that a lot of passengers interpreted that as "all aboard" but the ground staff were checking everyone's boarding passes and row numbers. There was a secondary security check at the gate with all carry-on bags opened and inspected. The gentleman in front of me wasn't too happy having to open a wrapped present but unfortunately that's the nature of security.
At the boarding door we received a warm welcome from the senior Purser and a female Flight Attendant--a very positive impression. The bulkheads had a tropical island motif, suggesting this aircraft was previously operated by perhaps Air Tahiti Nui. When I reached my seat there was a wrapped pillow and blanket on it. Other seats had a headset on top of the pillow, but mine didn't.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0429.jpg
Lots of children on tonight's flight

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0453.jpg
I wonder who was the previous operator of this aircraft?

The seat back pocket contained just the safety card and an airsickness bag. I had to "rob" another seat for the inflight magazine.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0431.jpg
The obligatory knee shot--that's my backpack between my knees

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Safety instruction card featuring AR's new branding

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Joint inflight magazine for Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral

I wanted to go to the lavatory to take off my contact lenses but they were locked and the Flight Attendant said I could use them once airborne. Company regulation, perhaps?

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0440.jpg
Spotless lavatory.

Despite the pandemonium at the gate boarding was orderly. We pushed back a few minutes late at 11:32pm. During the safety video the Flight Attendants stood at the bulkhead video monitors which I think looks more professional. The Captain made a welcome announcement and said that our flying time to Miami would be 8h 45m at an altitude of 37,000ft. Take-off was at 11:42pm.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0437.jpg
The safety video was the only time the majority of the PTVs were working.

Soon after take-off the senior Purser made his welcome announcement and described the service on our flight. After the seatbelt light went off he and the Economy Class coordinator handed out United States customs and immigration forms while the other Flight Attendants started preparing for the dinner service. About an hour after take-off meals were served. Due to the late departure no bar service was offered prior to the meal. By the time the meal cart reached my row only the pasta remained--I don't know what the other choice was:

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0442.jpg

Starter: Iceberg lettuce salad with shaved ham and creamy vinagrette
Main course: Rotini pasta with cream sauce and ham
Soft roll (no butter), crackers, spreadable cheese
Dessert: Vanilla layer cake

A limited selection of beverages was offered from the meal carts: red/white wine, beer, still water, coke, sprite, sprite zero. There were no diet coke, fruit juices or spirits offered.

The pasta was a bit overcooked and there wasn't much sauce with it. It was unusual to have ham appear twice in the meal. I was hungry and not a fussy eater so I still ate all of it.

Flight Attendants offered coffee/tea and beverage refills before collecting the trays.

IFE consisted of older, non AVOD (audio/video on demand) PTVs. There was no moving map display on them or on the bulkhead video monitors. Unfortunately once we got airborne, most of the PTVs were not working (including mine)--they were working for the safety video, though. The crew first tried rebooting the system but to no avail. They then tried showing a movie on the bulkhead video monitors, but they were too small for those seated in the back of the cabin to see. A few lucky passengers had working PTVs but it was obvious the Flight Attendants were just as frustrated with the IFE situation as the passengers were. Too bad since there were a lot of children flying tonight. At least it was a night flight where the majority of passengers were trying to sleep.

Sales of duty-free goods were not offered. I also didn't observe any walk-throughs with water by the Flight Attendants during the night.

The lack of individual air vents made for a stuffy cabin which made it difficult to fall asleep. Eventually I managed a few hours.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0450.jpg

Two hours prior to landing the lights came back on and a continental breakfast was served with coffee/tea/orange juice/still water. As with the dinner service, beverage refills were offered before the trays were picked up. I asked the Economy Class coordinator for a second packet of dulce de leche (a sinfully rich Argentine caramel spread) and she brought me three more--another positive impression.

Flight Attendants, while not bubbly, were still warm, professional and engaging with the passengers.

We landed at 7:23am Miami time to a round of applause. After a few minute wait on the taxiway waiting for other traffic to clear we arrived at the gate at 7:37am, a few minutes behind schedule.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0457.jpg
Spotted on my way to Customs and Immigration--TACA E-190 to San Jose.

I've always wanted to travel on Aerolineas Argentinas and was glad I was able to do so on this trip. The problems this company is facing are well documented on this forum and I was preparing myself for possible delays and rude staff. Despite the IFE problem (which can occur on any airline) I had a pleasant and uneventful journey. I do apologize for the quality of some of the photos--my usual Canon Rebel is being overhauled and I only had my I-Phone camera for this trip.

[Edited 2012-04-11 19:00:02]

[Edited 2012-04-11 19:01:32]

[Edited 2012-04-11 19:05:14]
 
tff
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 3:33 pm

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:22 am

Nice report, TR1!

Quoting TR1 (Thread starter):

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u210/schung63/IMG_0453.jpg
I wonder who was the previous operator of this aircraft?

Air Mauritius!
Remove before flight
 
767747
Posts: 2130
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:50 am

Good report on Aerolineas Argentinas! I have not seen too many reports on them, but articles online, and in magazines such as Airways and Airliner World describe a picture of an airline struggling ... Good to see it wasn't so bad.

Quoting TR1 (Thread starter):
I wanted to go to the lavatory to take off my contact lenses but they were locked and the Flight Attendant said I could use them once airborne. Company regulation, perhaps?

Never heard of something like this! How bizarre!?

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew
I love to fly!
 
chepos
Posts: 5940
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 9:40 am

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:53 am

Thx for shaeinf, I have always wanted to try AR myself. However, my airlines does not have a pass agreement with them =(
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
Thai744
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 9:25 pm

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:22 am

Thanks for the trip report - I've never flown on AR, but it's nice to see reports when others are able to and post about it here.

Pity about the AVOD not working.

It seems the flights wasn't too bad overall. Catering looked ok - just! I've had worse meals on "better" airlines, based on your pics, anyway.

Seems like AR is a "poor cousin" to LAN. Let's hope the can lift their game and inject a bit of life into themselves and modernise a bit.

Thanks for taking the time to write it up and post it.
 
mucdude
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:56 am

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:27 am

Thanks for the nice trip report!

Quoting TR1 (Thread starter):
The bulkheads had a tropical island motif, suggesting this aircraft was previously operated by perhaps Air Tahiti Nui.

This aircraft was first delivered to Air Mauritius in 1995 under the reg 3B-NAV. After going into storage in 2009 it was picked up by AR in 2010.
Next flights: ZRH-BOS-ZRH on LX; ZRH-SIN-AKL-SIN-ZRH on SQ
 
patagon
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:57 pm

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:10 pm

Nice trip report, good thing your flight leaves on time.
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:50 pm

There has been a total dearth of AR reports (especially long haul) on the web, and so this was a great one to see! Thanks for writing this up - I am actually one of the people who are a fan of them. They have a legacy in Latin America and have pioneered aviation in this Continent. Moreover, once they take off, their cabin crew are very pleasant and treat you like family - something missing from many of the robots I have encountered on LAN.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
TR1
Topic Author
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:43 am

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:30 am

Thanks for everyone's comments!

Quoting tff (Reply 1):
Air Mauritius!
Quoting mucdude (Reply 5):
This aircraft was first delivered to Air Mauritius in 1995 under the reg 3B-NAV. After going into storage in 2009 it was picked up by AR in 2010.

The one airline I didn't think of when I saw the aircraft's decor. Another airline I'd love to experience but my company doesn't have a staff travel agreement with.  
 
MSS658
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:39 am

Hi

Nice TR, interesting to read. Seems like AR was a tad better than usual, I believe (based on the interieur) that the plane is from MK.

Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8149
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Non-revving On The Condor: AR A340-300 EZE-MIA

Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:13 am

Nice read, thanks for posting.

Seems this was one of the better flights with AR, seems most are poor to bad experiences, makes a nice change!

Quoting TR1 (Thread starter):
There was a secondary security check at the gate with all carry-on bags opened and inspected. The gentleman in front of me wasn't too happy having to open a wrapped present but unfortunately that's the nature of security.

- I'd be unhappy too, the item must have made it through the original screening, I see no point in to unwrap it.

Quoting TR1 (Thread starter):
The bulkheads had a tropical island motif, suggesting this aircraft was previously operated by perhaps Air Tahiti Nui

- Air Mauritius, suspect that explains the bulkheads.

Cheers

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333

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