Review of Austral Líneas Aéreas flight Buenos Aires Trelew in Premium Eco

Flight AU2868
Class Premium Eco
Seat --
Aircraft Embraer E-190
Flight time 03:05
Take-off 13 Apr 14, 10:55
Arrival at 13 Apr 14, 14:00
AU 14 reviews
Avionero
By 4587
Published on 19th April 2014
Hello and welcome, everybody. Maybe you have read on the news, about a national transport unions strike in Argentina on Thursday (April 10th). Well, that day I got an sms from Lan saying: Lan Argentina informs you that your flight on Friday has been cancelled….
I was supposed to be in Buenos Aires on Friday and both Lan nor Aerolíneas Argentinas didn't have any seat available till Saturday. Anyway, I found out an emergency option… Just for an insane traveler, like the one who's writing… :P
Then, it was nice leaving home at 3am and driving the car from Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD) to Trelew (REL), nearest airport, for 400km… Remember, there were no buses available either because of the strike.
Finally I got to REL airport on time and flew to Buenos Aires (AEP). After a Friday working and a Saturday clubbing with Edu Imbernon (talented Spanish producer and DJ) in Bahrein, one of the best techno/house music clubs in Buenos Aires, I had to return REL.
On Sunday, there are 2 non-stop flights from AEP to REL and a third and more interesting AU2868 -that I chose- because it does a stopover in Viedma, capital city of the Río Negro Province, where I hadn't been before.
So, that morning having slept just 3 hours after dancing, I got Aeroparque like a zombie, more or less like the character in this Edu Imbernon video… lol





Check in was fast and I got an upgrade to Club Economy (premium economy class) thanks to my Aerolíneas Plus Platino membership. Security was smooth but the agent asked me if I was carrying shoes in my bag. I replied yes, and he said OK. I didn't know shoes could be suspicious in a carry on bag. :P
Then, I was anxious to see the new 4 gates added, a couple of weeks ago, in the terminal building. And here they are:


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Aerolíneas is the boss here, without hesitation…

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I couldn't catch up the nice Skyteam Austral E-190…

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I liked the use of Argentinian colours (light blue and yellow) on the nice carpet design

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This is my plane: Austral's Embraer E-190AR

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The seats, in a 1-2 config., were very comfortable

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Our neighbor, AR B73G


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When compared with Aerolineas, the Austral's livery differs only in the red stripe that has been kept from its historic colour schemes, also present in the winglets.

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After doors had been closed, I was expecting the classic manual safety instructions. Instead of that the nice chief flight attendant touched that screen twice…

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What a surprise! Austral finally got a safety video… ?

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Take off. Aeroparque, Palermo neighborhood woods and the red winglet, exclusive in Austral, visible

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Alta, Aerolíneas/Austral inflight magazine. The girl on the cover is an Argentine young actress.

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Second inflight magazine: Cielos Argentinos (Argentine Skyes) and an interesting article about hipsters

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There's plenty of legroom in Club Economy seats…

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The music programming was too, let's say, cheesy for my taste… From Jamie Cullum to Demi Lovato…


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On the video side, there's a Primera División (1st. League) football highlights program. Essential for most Argentinians…

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Few minutes later I got one of the snack boxes offered in Club Economy.

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Ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt and cookies. Good, but a hot meal would have been perfect.

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Cruising altitude

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Lavatory in the E-190 is really small


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Do not flush while seated on toilet…. I wonder if anybody could even think to do that… :P


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Approaching, the Río Negro (black river) is visible

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We landed on time, after 1:20h flight


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Typical arid soil from the Easter Patagonia. Welcome to Viedma Airport (VDM)

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The tiny airport terminal and the ATC tower

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In the 30min. stopover I asked permission to take a few pictures in the cockpit. The cool and friendly first officer said hello, come in….
We were chatting a bit about the E-190 and I invited him to read this report in FR.com… ;)


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Our executive neighbours, Cessna 551 Citation II and Canadair (now Bombardier) Challenger 300


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Let's go to Trelew (REL)…


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Bye VDM. So exotic airport, even for an Argentinian…

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The Viedma racetrack. During the stopover the cars engines roar could be heard from the plane…


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In the 30 min hop to REL another snack box was delivered. This time even better, with a thin beef sandwich, fruits juice, and a piece of lemon cake


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The Argentine Sea


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Landing in REL on time.

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REL ATC tower…

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REL terminal building and its jetway


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We parked next to Sol Líneas Aéreas Saab SF-340


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Nice Mef Museum in baggage claim area


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Eastern Patagonia is a heaven for paleontologists from around the world as this (now dry) land was, millions of years ago, a huge forest inhabited by thousands of dinosaurs… Like this one in the diorama…

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Tourism bonus… I got my car and drove 400km back to my city, Comodoro Rivadavia. In the middle of the trip I decided to take this picture of that lonely board and the gas station to show you the magnificent desolation of Eastern Patagonia…
I hope you enjoyed reading this rather exotic flight report. Comments are appreciated


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Verdict

Austral Líneas Aéreas

8.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering8.0

Buenos Aires - AEP

8.1/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Trelew - REL

7.6/10
Efficiency6.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Austral and its E-190s offer the most comfortable cabin in Argentina's domestic routes. This crew was specially friendly and professional. The catering was good but a hot meal could be expected in a premium economy class.
The IFE is even better with the new safety video. To get a 10 it needs Moving Map.

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 106223 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Well no, I was not aware of the strike, but then, I had not reason to go to this part of the world.
    I wonder what the answer would have been if you had denied having shoes in your carry-on luggage ?
    1+2 seating must indeed be comfortable in an E190.
    This another great report - text, pictures and bonus. Thanks !

  • Comment 106230 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12398 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    How much time did you drive to reach Trelew ?

    The cabin and the seats look really comfy

    The catering seems to be good

    Great aerial pictures

    All in all a nice flight with a top notch crew

  • Comment 106239 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5304 Comments

    Awesome report! I really like the Premium cabins on E-Jets (In the US marketed as First haha). Nice looking interior and service!

  • Comment 106241 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thank you for this great report with equally nice pictures.

    I am intrigued by AR's second magazine Cielos Argentinos. Is that only available in the premium cabins? It's nice that airlines try to offer a different publication for those sitting in the front. UA did this months ago with an additional publication named Rhapsody.

    • Comment 292698 by
      Avionero AUTHOR 77 Comments

      Thanks for your comment!
      The Cielos Argentinos magazine is available to every passenger flying in Aerolíneas Argentinas or Austral. It has become a much more interesting magazine than the official inflight magazine Alta.
      The Lan's inflight magazine In, is by far the best in Argentina and, I would say, South America.

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