We're on our way to the final leg of our round the world trip and flying from Rome to Buenos Aires. Newly representing the South American sector of Sky Team's portfolio, Aerolineas Argentinas is an interesting choice. In 2001, the airline filed for bankruptcy and it was through government intervention that it is slowly climbing its way back. Even the AA executives admit that they have a way to go.
The predominantly male cabin crew in business have a gentlemanly warmth to them. The service is the key here as the planes themselves are in need of a revamp. For many, the all important factor with overnight flights of about 15 hours is whether you can sleep and alas the beds only recline about 45 degrees. Only one plane in their fleet that has lie flat beds. And curiously, and something that I have never seen since 9/11 is that the cockpit door remains open for the duration of the flight!
You're still offered the creature comforts of business class-the welcome drink, the deferential service and an excellent amenity kit, one of the more comprehensive available. There is L'occitane hand cream and a refresher towel, ear plugs, brush socks, eye mask and tooth brush and toothpaste. Seats are in a 2x2x2 configuration with one arm rest in between the two.
The inflight entertainment consists of four current-ish movies at the time (Hugo, We Bought a Zoo, The Muppets and something else). However it is not on demand so you just have to hope that you segue into a movie at the appropriate time and not during the cliffhanger ending (as I did! ;)). And if you have your own noise cancelling headphones, bring those along as the ones provided are similar to those that you might find in economy class.
There is no menu handed out for this flight leg and food is brought out in three course intervals. We start with the prosciutto and leaf salad with tomatoes, olives and an olive oil and vinegar dressing. The rolls aren't bad-the sesame roll is the pick and is best with the olive oil rather than the butter.
The choices for mains are brought out on a trolley so you can see what they look like before choosing. There is a choice of beef, chicken breast and a pasta dish. I should have perhaps chosen the pasta but as we had quite a bit of pasta in Rome, I chose the beef getting into the spirit of Argentinean beef. I tried some of P. Bella's chicken which was quite dry, as expected, chicken thigh might have been a better choice and it was a shame as the flavour (stuffed with bresaola) was good. The beef fillet was cooked well done and served with tiny baby carrots, rosemary potatoes and zucchini coins with the rosemary potatoes being the pick.
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Dessert was profiteroles which we not too bad. The chocolate on top was moreish and I only wish I had more chocolate. Cheese is offered but as we had eaten our fill of cheese, I declined and I brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I recline the seat and the footrest rises a little. There is a small pillow provided and a blanket and I ask for another as I always find airline blankets a little thin. I get a very light amount of sleep which is broken with the clinking of glasses and cutlery signalling breakfast.
The breakfast selection is comprehensive and includes a hot dish of scrambled eggs, champignons and baby carrots. Alongside this is a croissant with a sweet sugar coat, a bread roll, some butter and some cherry jelly. A cup of much welcome milk tea and I suddenly feel human again. I check the time and it is 9am Rome time and I settle in with a magazine before we land.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you bring your own entertainment and/or headphones on flights? Or do you just consider that more to carry?
NQN tested out the flight as a guest of SkyTeam and Aerolineas Argentinas