The flight report you are about to read corresponds to a flight from August 2019. I wasn't intending on publishing it because for some reason I always get lazy on return flights, that laziness being the cause for having few photos to publish. Nonetheless, I thought that it would be worth it to publish this since this was THE MOST interesting experience I've had as a passenger, ever. Today's flight is AR1141 from Rome-Fiumicino (FCO/LIRF) to Buenos Aires - Ezeiza (EZE/SAEZ) on Aerolineas Argentinas' economy class.
This flight was the return flight of my 2019 Italy-Spain vacation. The other flight already has its report, which you can read here: https://flight-report.com/en/report/43687/aerolineas-argentinas-ar1140-buenos-aires-eze-rome-fco
So, this time, my uncle kindly drove us to FCO from his hometown in Tuscany, a three hour-long road trip. Italy is always my go-to destination as it offers the perfect blend of beautiful beaches, rich history, great cuisine, breathtaking landscapes and the charm of having a big chunk of my family there, and I believe that's one of the reasons that in this flight I wasn't in the mood for taking lots of photos.
So, the part that makes this flight report interesting was our experience at Rome's airport.
Our trip began quite nomally: we entered terminal 3 and joined the long line that was formed at AR's check-in counters. We wanted to get the customs stamp so that we could get our tax refund, but it seems that the gigantic queue at the customs office was enough to deter even the most euro-hungry argentinian tourists, as it was full of chinese citizens patiently waiting for their stamp.
Once we got our boarding passes and dropped off our bagage, we proceeded to security. At this point, it was time to say goodbye to unlce D. and uncle M.
Once we put all of our belongings on the belt and crossed the metal detector, we saw that the belt stopped once our hand lugagge entered the scanner, and that, after the security personel had a conversation, they took one of our bags away and called us. At this point, we were already quite nervous.
Me, my brother and my mother witnessed in horror as a lady that worked there opened said bag and found the four hunter's knives that uncle M. gifted to my dad and that we had to bring home. Immediately, this lady comes to us, asks for our passports, and starts saying something to us in italian. I dare to interrupt her, just to tell her that I couldn't understand her and wished to speak in english. She told us that, under Italian law, the transport of arms in hand lugagge was strictly forbidden, which is something that even the most inexperienced traveller would know. As I tried to figure out why on earth those knives ended up on that particular bag (they were, of course, not supposed to be there), I got to the sudden realization that, a few hours prior to leaving my uncle's house, we were weighing our suitcases, and found one to be extremely overweight. As we could bring another carry-on bag for free, we decided to rush to our nearest market and buy the cheapest one we could find, and one of the items that were transfered from the heavy bag to this new carry-on bag was a purse. The problem was that no one noticed that this purse contained the knives. I tried to explain this not-so-convincing story to the lady at the scanner, but I doubt she was able to understand me well since my english was very broken due to the stressful situation.
She decided to take us to the police station at the airport, and as we nervously walked towards there, I couldn't help but think that we were about to get arrested, miss our flight and spend quite a long time in jail.
Once we got there, the lady informed the situation to two policemen, and they looked at us with pity and just said "let them go, but the knives have to stay here". Uncle D. and uncle M. witnessed all from the other side of the scanners, and were able to recover the knives and later send them through post. Our legs were shaking due to the scare, but we were deeply relieved.
After security, we headed to passport control. Not a single person on the line for Italian and European citizens, but an unvelievably long one for foreign citizens. Since my mother isn't an italian citizen, we had to wait in line for almost an hour and a half, just to be greeted by a remarkably grumpy officer who just scanned our passports and stamped my mother's.
So, I've been continously traveling back and forth between Italy and Argentina since I was three years old, and one of the memories that I always had from FCO was departing from concourse G, which had to be reached by a people mover called "the Navetta". That's why I decided to hop on the navetta and go to concourse G, so that I could remember the old times. Once I got there, I walked around a bit, bought a fanta (italian fanta is clearly superior to argentinian fanta).
Once I decided to head back to concourse H so that I could catch my flight, everything seemed to be flowing smoothly, until the navetta arrived to concourse H. Once there, the doors opened on the right instead of the left, meaning that I had to follow the path that arriving passengers have to follow, through security and passport control, all the way back to the departures hall. The only problem I had is that I left my passport and boarding pass with my mother and my brother.
The first thing I did was to explain my situation to a Cathay Pacific employee that was directing arriving passengers towards the arrivals hall. He said "That's your problem!", so I left even more nervous and got on the line for the control. Once my turn arrives, I explain my situation to the officer at the scanner, and he asks me to show him my boarding pass, which I didn't have. Sudenly, I remembered that I had downloaded my boarding pass to the Wallet app on my phone, and showed it to him. He allowed me to go through, but told me that the next time I do something like that I should have at least my passport with me. Here's a video I recorded while on the navetta:
Here's our plane as seen from concourse G:
I had a few minutes of tranquility before finally boarding. I was seating in the rear of the airplane, so I was in boarding group 4. After the airport staff scanned my boarding pass, as I was walking through the jetway, I couldn't help but think to myself on how happy I was to be boarding that plane, despite being the return flight from a beautiful vacation. It was indeed, the happiest I've ever been when boarding a return flight.
This was my home for the next 15 hours. A cramped economy seat never looked better.
Some time after settling down on my seat, the crew welcomed us onboard and the safety video was played on the screens. After that, we pushed back, the engines were started and we taxied towards runway 16R.
Immediately after take off, we turned right and tracked southwest. Today's flight was scheduled to last nearly 15 hours due to strong headwinds. As I saw the Italian mainland being left behind, I thought about all that happened that same day, just few minutes before, and thought about the amazing vacation that this flight was going to put an end to. I took a deep breath and thought about the good part: my family was back home, waiting for me.
As we continued our climb for FL310, people started to unfasten their seatbelts, and began relaxing while some were treated to an amazing sunset over Sardinia
Aproximately an hour after take off, dinner was served. I chose, as always, pasta. It came with some kind of quinoa salad that had no taste at all, a small portion of tiramisu that i also found quite tasteless, a bread bun and some grated cheese. This was my last taste of Italian pasta in a long time, so I enjoyed it as much as I could.
Shortly before going to sleep, I took a look at the map. For some reason, I find it quite relaxing to watch the plane slowly move towards its destination. It always brings so much memories back of when I was just a little aviation-obsessed kid that enjoyed up to the last minute in the air.
After looking at the map, I went to the bathroom and got myself ready for going to sleep. My visit to the bathroom was thankfully uneventful this time. Read my previous flight report to know why I'm saying this… (AR1140 EZE-FCO).
I was able to get some sleep surprisingly easy, given the fact that I'm 1.94m tall and economy seats are obviously not designed for me. I was woken up by the crew serving breakfast, which I didn't take a picture of since I was quite sleepy and I forgot. We were flying past Rio de Janeiro and just 2 hours away from EZE.
After having breakfast, I looked at the map and saw that we had already began our descent into Buenos Aires-Ezeiza Intl. airport.
Sorry for the blurry images…
Once we were flying above Buenos Aires, our plane joined a holding pattern and stayed there going round in ovals for at leats a half hour, and after that we landed at 04:30 AM, on time.
Passport control at Ezeiza was fast and we went through the e-Gates in a few minutes. Customs screening is always extensive at Ezeiza since the argentinian goverment thinks that the best way to solve having a +50% poverty rate is by heavily taxing on people who go abroad for vacation and bring stuff. Just my personal opinion. Upon exiting the terminal, there's chaos as usual. A security guard with a whistle trying to stop people from just parking in front of the terminal's main entrance, and people trying to cross the street without being hit by a car.
Thank you for reading my report. Stay tuned as I have already scheduled two more flights in AR's Business class, to and from Miami (MIA/KMIA). The reports will be uploaded shortly after my return from that trip.
**SOME VIDEOS ARE STILL BEING UPLOADED, ONCE THEY ARE READY I WILL EDIT THIS REPORT AND INCLUDE THEM, THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE!**
Aerolineas Argentinas offers a mediocre service in Economy, but as it is heavily subsidised by means of the VAT paid by malnourished children in Argentina's northern provinces it still is able to offer much cheaper tickets than Alitalia or Iberia.