Getting to Argentina is not straightforward if you’re coming from Ireland as there’s no direct flight. Flights to Argentina from Dublin will have to pass through another European hub first. From Europe, your best bet is British Airways (BA), Lufthansa, Iberia (IB), and KLM flights to Buenos Aires. Buying an all-in-one ticket from Ireland is probably a better idea as it will generally be cheaper and your luggage allowance is higher. This ticket will also cover any lost luggage expenses for the entire journey. Flights to Argentina hover between €800-1200 for most of the year and flights within Argentina fluctuate so it’s worth checking those prices regularly. The options below also work for the UK, with similar prices in many cases. Irish people living in the UK, or indeed Europe can avail of even better deals by flying directly to Buenos Aires.
Flights to Argentina
Buenos Aires, the main entry point for visitors to Argentina has two airports. The first is the international airport Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini (EZE), also known as Ezeiza International Airport (thus the airport code letters). The second is the domestic airport Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP), which is located in the city and services international flights to Rio de Janiero, Asuncion, and others.
The ‘error flight’ website SecretFlying often lists cheap flight deals from Ireland to Argentina. These are mostly not actual error fares, rather they are low-cost sale periods for flights that the airlines need to fill. But occasionally there are some real bargains. I have flown to Argentina from Dublin for less than €400 with these bargain flights. It’s hard to beat that price but you must be willing to fly at awkward times, such as Thursday to Monday (10/11 day stay) and notice can be pretty short.
I’ve booked most of my flights in the last few years through Expedia, and yes, it’s a Microsoft product, but the support is excellent and the flights are cheap. The booking interface works well too. Check it out but obviously, compare these flight prices with those of the other sites listed below.
Here is a list of some flight search engines that often turn up good options for cheap flights to Argentina:
- Adioso is one of my favourites. Simple interface and it delivers the goods. The flight alerts option works very well.
- Vayama is a no-frills service but the search interface is fast and they often have great deals.
- Momondo is one of the original aggregator websites for flights. Searching for the cheapest flights to Buenos Aires (or other cities even) is a breeze. I’ve used Momondo quite a few times.
- Hipmunk is definitely worth experimenting with although I have yet to book a flight anywhere through this site.
The following websites promote so-called Error Fares and heavily discounted fares. You can search via region (UK & Ireland) in many cases and receive region based emails also.
Internal flights in South America and Argentina
The good news is that RyanAir and Avianca are on their way to Argentina so internal flights in South America are about to get a whole lot cheaper. The Buenos Aires Herald reported in July 2016 that thanks to the the Macri (the new president of Argentina, elected in late 2015) government the market will be opened in 2017 to low-cost carriers. Ryanair is probably the world’s most (in)famous low-cost carrier and nobody knows for sure if this announcement is a publicity stunt or if their plans for expansion out of Europe begins in South America.
The big players for domestic flights in Argentina are currently Aerolineas Argentinas and Lan Argentina. They are the only real players because Government policies have meant that competitors cannot enter the market. Travelling 16 hours on a bus to Bariloche or Salta will soon not be the only option for people on a budget.
Ryanair is already operating in Colombia and Mexico using their (part-owned) Viva Colombia and VivaAerobús companies respectively. This new move might be the first time Ryanair use their brand outside of Europe. I’ve used Viva Colombia on a number of occasions and I have to say that it’s a very respectable way to fly. A step up from the bucket seats on Ryanair in Europe. It’s nothing fancy, of course, but for short flights the price can’t be beaten (€30-40) between major cities.
Ryanair usually locates it’s in-country base in less-used airports, often located far from the destination city. The only viable alternative to Ezeiza International Airport is Aeroparque, which is a few miles from the city centre. This is a good thing. It’s reported that Ryanair is looking at Andes Airline based out of Salta so it’s possible that their base will be located in the northern province of Salta, close to the border with Bolivia.
Ryanair won’t be flying to or from Brazil, however, as there are concerns over corruption. We can probably safely rule out Venezuela in that case also (sorry, Venezuela!). Currently, there are quite a few flights every day from Aeroparque Jorge Newberry to Brazil and these can be quite economic tickets. It looks like, for the moment, there won’t be any competition for Aerolineas Argentinas and Gol there are least.
With two low-cost airlines competing for our pesos there’s no telling how low flight prices will go.
Getting from Buenos Aires Airport to the city
Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini airport is about 50 minutes drive by car to the centre of the city.
Minibuses are the best option if you want comfort and value. It costs about €12 (note: the currency moves fast so this can change quickly) for a Minibus. Use the beautifully-named Manuel Tienda León Bus Company for your transport needs. Their website is unreliable so it’s not included here. Check in the airport for details.
Don’t take public buses from the airport as the journey takes you through some unsavoury areas and it’s a long journey.
Taxis can be very expensive and don’t grab one outside the airport. Negotiate first in the terminal with the official representatives of the White Taxis or a Remis.
And last but not least, an excellent option for transfer from both airports to the city is Hoppa. Book in advance and get picked up at the airport and delivered to your destination. Easy!