‘Hop on, hop off’ flight

19 Apr

Anyone who has travelled within South America will know that unfortunately there are no budget airlines offering cheap flights to cover the thousands of miles which might lie between you and your next destination, so you either make a dent in your credit card by taking a flight or spend many long, mind numbing hours on the network of buses that service the continent.

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So when we encountered the little known Argentinian firm called ‘Lade’ (recognised as the airforce’s passenger service), offering flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (the most Southerly city in the world) at a fraction of the going rate (and saving us many days of bus travel), we thought we’d struck it lucky.

Upon further inspection of our tickets, we realised that what should be a 3.5 hour flight was actually going to take 8 hours. Perhaps the ‘little Focker’ F28 would be flying slower than its jet fueled counterparts? Perhaps we would need to make a brief stop for refueling? All of our hypothesis and speculation was answered when we realised we were about to engage on a voyage of discovery with what could only be called a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ plane ride.

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After five stops (Mar del Plata – San Carlos de Bariloche – Comodoro Rivadavia – El Calafate – Rio Gallegos), multiple traverses across Argentina and many comings and goings with passengers and their bags, we finally reached our destination.

Being the only two passengers crazy enough to have stayed on for the whole of the journey did have a couple of benefits though. The first being that every time we took off, the inflight service would once again commence, with free food and flowing drinks! Woo-hoo – we were full and tipsy by the time we arrived in Ushuaia! The second of course was the amazing views through our tiny window of the patchwork of fields, the towering snow-capped mountains and thunderous rivers which we had to look forward to over the next year.

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