Sadly, good moments come to an end. After spending New Year's Eve in the lovely Buenos Aires, it was time to head back home. As in the inbound flight, we flew on LATAM's (LA) Airbus A320-200 (A320) to Asunción (ASU), my home airport. On this report, I will comment on my insights of the flight. As it was a red-eye flight, there will not be many aerial pictures, making this report a little brief. The routing was the following:
We booked both flights (inbound and outbound) two months in advance, through LA's website. For this flight, there were three types of fares in Economy (Y) available: Light, Plus and Top. In the Light fare, you have to pay for your luggage as in a low-cost carrier. Seat selection was not free on LA, nevertheless, we chose to pay for it.
We arrived at Buenos Aires Ezeiza Aiport (EZE) around 21:30, more than two hours before our scheduled time of departure (STD). LA uses the older (but refurbished) Terminal A.
The yet to be inaugurated new departures hall could be seen on the background. It looked in a good state despite the collapse on one of the structures in September 2019.
The already classic main hall at Terminal A:
LA's check-in counter. We only had to drop our luggage, as we did web check-in earlier that day. However, we still had our boarding passes printed.
After dropping our luggage and saying goodbye to our family, we headed to the security and customs area. The line was HUGE, and it followed a snake-shaped pattern. I had never seen a such a crowded line in any airport before. It took around 50 minutes to finally clear customs and head to our gate.
Terminal A gate section.
Departures screen. Our flight was listed on the bottom left, being the last scheduled flight of the day.
Other picture of Terminal A:
Awesome kids plane-themed playground:
Despite LA operates from Terminal A most of the times, our flight was departing from gate 10, which is located on Terminal B.
EZE Terminal B.
The plane that would be flying us home that night was already on the gate. It was an A320-200 registered PR-MBS, and was a little less than 18 years old. It flew for JetBlue before flying for TAM Airlines and LATAM.
- Airline: LATAM (LA)
- Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
- Registration: PR-MBS
- Age: 18 years
- Scheduled time of departure: 23:55 (ATD 00:12 on 4-1-2020)
- Scheduled time of arrival: 01:52 (+1) (ATD 01:40)
- Take-off from runway: 11
- Landing on runway: 20
The ground crew called us for boarding around 23:30, 20 minutes late. Passengers were divided in 6 boarding groups. We were on group 4. In general terms, boarding was done orderly, and people respected the lines. At the door of the plane, we were received by the chief purser.
We had the beautiful Aeromexico "Quetzalcoatl" 787-9 to the left of our plane.
The cabin was very well kept despite some very subtle signs of the plane's age. The seats were from the slimline type of RECARO, and were from the previous generation. The greatest disadvantage was the absence of power outlets.
View of the cabin from my seat, 17A.
View from the window:
We started pushback around 20 or 25 minutes after boarding. Again, the FAs did the safety demonstration manually, despite most of LA A320s having overhead PTVs. Afterwards, the plane started taxiing to runway 11. As it was very dark and there was no much to show, I didn't take any pictures. Some seconds after positioning ourselves on runway 11, the engines roared. We were airborne at 00:12, 17 minutes behind schedule.
We could see the city lights from the Buenos Aires metropolitan area as we turned towards the north.
Like during taxiing, I didn't take any aerial pictures during practically most of the flight, as it was pitch dark outside. I spent a great part of the flight chatting with a woman seating on the aisle seat.
30 minutes after take-off, the meal service was done. It consisted of a croissant with a beverage of your choice. I chose a Coca-Cola. The croissant was a little dry, but good anyways. The meal was more than enough for a 1.5 hour midnight flight.
View of the cabin mid-flight:
The seat pocket contained the safety card and the January 2020 Portuguese issue of Vamos, LA's in-flight magazine. Besides the magazine, you could access the app LATAM Play, where you have a selection of movies, shows, games, music, and a flight map with data. However, my mom said the Wi-Fi network wasn't functioning well. There was no Wi-Fi available for social media or emails.
The crew was well-intentioned and did their jobs efficiently, but weren't Singapore Airlines level polished.
I spent the rest of the flight speaking with my dad to the woman on the aisle seat. Because I was so invested on the conversation, I didn't feel the plane descending. I realized that when I looked out the window and saw the lights of Asunción.
After overflying the city, we turned south and landed on ASU runway 20 at 01:40, 12 minutes ahead of schedule. We compensated for the delayed departure because the flight time of a EZE-ASU usually is around 1 hour and 30 minutes instead of the scheduled 1 hour and 57 minutes. The same happens with the ASU-EZE flight.
After vacating the runway, we taxied to gate 1. As we taxied to our gate, a Copa Airlines 737-800 and another LA A320 could be seen.
After saying goodbye to the crew, we disembarked, and went through customs very quickly, as we were the only flight arriving at the airport at that time.
ASU arrivals hall:
We took an airport cab (regular cabs and Uber drivers are denied pick up rights at the airport) to get home.
This was a uneventful and brief red-eye flight, and LA's service was enough given the flight time and midnight schedule. The meal was okay for the flight duration, and for entertainment you had the flight magazine and the app LATAM Play, despite it not working well. The cabin was well maintained. The only negative aspect was the absence of power outlets. It seems lines are extremely long at EZE nowadays, so I definitely recommend to arrive 3 to 2.5 hours before your scheduled time of departure. ASU should allow Uber drivers to pick up passengers; forbidding it is ridiculous and backwards.