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:
Aerolíneas is the boss here, without hesitation…
I couldn't catch up the nice Skyteam Austral E-190…
I liked the use of Argentinian colours (light blue and yellow) on the nice carpet design
This is my plane: Austral's Embraer E-190AR
The seats, in a 1-2 config., were very comfortable
Our neighbor, AR B73G
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.
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…
What a surprise! Austral finally got a safety video… ?
Take off. Aeroparque, Palermo neighborhood woods and the red winglet, exclusive in Austral, visible
Alta, Aerolíneas/Austral inflight magazine. The girl on the cover is an Argentine young actress.
Second inflight magazine: Cielos Argentinos (Argentine Skyes) and an interesting article about hipsters
There's plenty of legroom in Club Economy seats…
The music programming was too, let's say, cheesy for my taste… From Jamie Cullum to Demi Lovato…
On the video side, there's a Primera División (1st. League) football highlights program. Essential for most Argentinians…
Few minutes later I got one of the snack boxes offered in Club Economy.
Ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt and cookies. Good, but a hot meal would have been perfect.
Lavatory in the E-190 is really small
Do not flush while seated on toilet…. I wonder if anybody could even think to do that… :P
Approaching, the Río Negro (black river) is visible
We landed on time, after 1:20h flight
Typical arid soil from the Easter Patagonia. Welcome to Viedma Airport (VDM)
The tiny airport terminal and the ATC tower
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… ;)
Our executive neighbours, Cessna 551 Citation II and Canadair (now Bombardier) Challenger 300
Let's go to Trelew (REL)…
Bye VDM. So exotic airport, even for an Argentinian…
The Viedma racetrack. During the stopover the cars engines roar could be heard from the plane…
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
The Argentine Sea
Landing in REL on time.
REL ATC tower…
REL terminal building and its jetway
We parked next to Sol Líneas Aéreas Saab SF-340
Nice Mef Museum in baggage claim area
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…
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
Austral Líneas Aéreas
Buenos Aires - AEP
Trelew - REL
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.
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