Thursday, June 21, 2012

From New York to Argentina: Our Plane Traveling Experience

On Saturday June 16th, I boarded an American Airline flight to Miami with my spouse. We left NYC from LaGuardia at 8:00pm and were in Miami by 11:00pm. We had to wait for our Argentinean flight overnight.

TIPS: The best place to buy your tickets is through http://www.airfare.com/. Don’t believe the horrible things you read about this company. They were great and extremely affordable. Most of the negative comments about this company are probably posted by their competitors.

TIPS: When boarding American Airlines you will be charged 25 dollars for your first luggage and 35 dollars for your second luggage. Your first and second luggage cannot weigh more than 50 pounds each. If you go over that you will be charged an additional 150 dollars overweight charge. In addition, you can bring a carry-on bag and a purse, or murse (man purse), and a jacket at no charge.

On Sunday Morning, June 17th, we checked in our luggage at Argentinian Airlines. KEEP IN MIND, if you arrive late at night. You will not be able to check your bags until 5:15 in the morning.
TIPS: If you are a Naturalized American Citizen who was born in Argentina you don't need to show proof of a return ticket. If you are an American Citizen and you are married to an Argentinian Citizen who is accompanying you, you will be allowed to enter the country. However, they will ask you for proof of return but they WILL NOT deny you entry to the country. Just let them know that you are visiting your spouse/husband/wife's family and you intend to be there for about 30 days or so and they will note it on the computer. If you are a United States Citizen and you are travelling alone and have every intention of staying, I strongly recommend you consider getting a return ticket. It does not necessarily have to be a return ticket back to the U.S. You can buy yourself a ticket from the U.S. to Argentina. Then buy yourself a separate ticket going from Argentina to Uruguay. This will be sufficient for Argentinean immigration to let you through.
9 Hours later I landed in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. I presented myself to an immigration representative there. If you are NOT an Argentinian citizen you will have to pay a penalty fee of 150 U.S. Dollars to enter the country. Since my spouse was born in the U.S. he had to pay the fee. After that ordeal was over we grabbed our luggage and sat in the waiting area. 
TIP: The airport in Buenos Aires has wireless internet connection at no charge. Your cell phones will automatically start linking with the network in Argentina. WARNING: Cell phone use will bring an international data charge every time you use your phone. Also, I don't recommend you travel outside of the airport. This can be dangerous if you don't know anyone in Argentina. Stay put until it’s time to board your flight. Our destination was Cordoba. Keep in mind that you cannot check your baggage until an hour before your flight to your next destination. It can be nerve wracking because there's only an hour for you to check your luggage before your flight leaves, but don't get discourage. You will be fine and on time for the flight to your final destination. There aren't that many people travelling between provinces, mainly foreigners.
The next morning, Monday June 18th, we checked our luggage in. The people at the Buenos Aires airport are a little more thorough. Be careful about bringing too much electronics. Argentina has a limit of no more than 300 dollars in electronics per passenger. Anything higher may result in you getting charged taxes, like one lady who brought four X-Boxes in her luggage with the obvious intent to sell. I brought my blu-ray player and my DVDs for personal use. If you bring a lot of DVDs be warned that when your bags are x-rayed they will ask you what they are. Stay calm. Stay friendly and most importantly ... be HONEST. They let me through without any incident.
TIP: If you bring medications with you there is no way in hell that you will be able to get through customs without being questioned about them. So here is what you do. Go to your doctor before your trip and ask them to write a letter explaining the reason you need your medication. This will satisfy the Argentinean authorities at the checkpoint.

After we were cleared, my spouse and I walked over to the waiting area. Then we took a shuttle bus to a smaller plane.  
TIP: Once you travel from Buenos Aires to Cordoba or any other province in Argentina, this will be considered a domestic flight. So the plane you will board will not say Aerolineas Argentina. It will say AUSTRAL which is a branch of Argentinean Airlines. So if your connecting flight ticket says FLIGHT AR 2900 and the monitors in the waiting area say that your flight is AU 2900, DON'T PANIC! It's the same thing!

The flight from Buenos Aires to Argentina was only suppose to take an hour but it in fact took a little longer because of the plane's flight check.
TIP: Don't take a photo of the plane. I realize that you want to preserve the memory but security will see it as a threat and you will be warned once. Try it again and you may find yourself in custody.
After the plane landed in Argentina we grabbed our bags. Don't worry. At this point they know you've gone through all the immigration and security checkpoints. You're done. You made it. Relax.
We were welcomed with open arms by my parents who were extremely thrilled to see us. We were all glad that this ordeal was finally over and that we were safely at our destination.
Now the tough part is going to be assimilating to a completely different society.

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