Friday, 25 January 2013

Compensation for NO Movies/Music on United UA846

My wife and son are finally home and flew (Business Class) from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Newark, New Jersey on United flight UA846 a few days ago (January 19th). The outbound flight was great but the return not so great.  I splurged 117,500 miles for her return ticket. In fairness I earned those miles for free via 'the knowledge'.  The entertainment system was out of service for the entire 11 hour return flight. United offered this option (take it or leave it) as compensation via email.

a.) 7,000 miles or b.) $100 e-voucher or c.) 10% off an economy fare

I'm glad they are at least making an effort to compensate but not sure it's quite enough - thoughts?
Tags: ..Compensation for NO movies/Music on United UA846..
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Monday, 21 January 2013

How to maximize when you volunteer to be BUMPED from a flight

My wife and son were to stay in Buenos Aires for another two weeks after New Year, but I needed to return to work in New York.  I typically max my vacation time by flying home on the latest possible red-eye and going straight to work but on this occasion I had booked a one-way with miles (Xmas travel is $$$) and taken the only option, a Friday night American Airlines (economy) flight from EZE (Buenos Aires) to JFK (New York).  When I presented my passport the agent told me they were looking for volunteers to give up their seats and fly the following day. For my trouble I would get a u$d600 travel voucher and 1 nights hotel accommodation and food (dinner, breakfast and lunch) and taxi to / from the airport. 

My plans were flexible and it seemed like a good deal but I already had accommodation with family so how could I get this to work even more to my advantage?  There was a family event in BA 2 days later that I would like to attend so I asked if I could fly 2 days later instead of 1 day later.  After the agent spoke briefly with a supervisor, the answer was "YES" but only 1 day/night hotel / food would be provided. Good enough, I thought, I'll take it!

So a voucher was issued for a limo taxi (to/from airport), hotel and food (dinner, breakfast and lunch) x 1 person (yes just ONE) + $600 travel voucher (valid for one year). Hotel and food for one person isn't much use when you're with your wife so we would need to hustle a little more.  I returned in the limo taxi back to the in-law family abode, offloaded luggage and then wifey and I left Junior with Gran-Ma and headed to the 4 star InterContinental Hotel in the center of Buenos Aires.  

Check-in was a little awkward when I presented my voucher for one person (solo) but after some banter the clerk called a supervisor and all was good. Dinner (3 courses but no alcohol included) was also only for one but the menu was surprisingly affordable for a 4 star hotel so the extra main course dish only came to u$d15.  I had delicious steak for the fourteenth day in a row (it's hard not to order steak in Argentina)  

Breakfast was also only for one and checked by half a dozen staff with guest names on clipboards so I went alone, ate my fill and brought back a few plates to the room for wifey. We had the option of late check out and lunch but declined as we had the family event to go travel to.  

So instead of a Friday night flight, I flew on Sunday night - When I checked in they asked me again if I wanted to volunteer to take the next flight.  Not an option for me this time I said.  An 11 hour flight later and then straight to the office for Monday morning - Bottom line - Maximize the BUMP by asking. Nothing ventured - Nothing gained!

Tags: ..How to maximize when you volunteer to be BUMPED from a flight..
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Friday, 4 January 2013

Asado (BBQ Argentina)

Perfecting this is no easy process.  Wood is the preferred fuel to burn until the embers are broken down and orange. Timing the cooking of the lomo (tenderloin) takes practice. The chorizo (spicy sausage) takes on a delicious smokey flavor. Add ice cold beer and some malbec wine and you're in food heaven.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

How much do things cost in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2013?

Prices have increased considerably since I spent a year here back in 2007 to 2008. Back then it was relatively cheap to live here in comparison to the USA or EU.  Assuming you had modest savings in a strong currency like Dollars or Euros you could live very comfortably. Many people chose Buenos Aires as a location for retirement.

The exchange rate in 2007 was u$d1 = arg 3 pesos
The official exchange rate in 2013 is u$d1 = arg 5 pesos
The actual exchange rate on the street aka "blue rate" is more like arg 6.5 pesos 

You might expect more bang for your buck with the change but with inflation it is quite the opposite.  In the table below I have tracked changes in prices since 2007.  Here is the original post that attracted a lot of attention back then. 

.Use the scroll bars below to see the entire list or click here


Tags: ..Inflation in Buenos Aires, Argentina 2013..
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