Sunday, January 13, 2008

Up to Here with Aerolíneas

The situation at Ezeiza, Buenos Aires's international airport, is apparently returning to normal after some of the 5,000 passengers booked on various Aerolíneas Argentinas flights responded to lengthy delays by vandalizing the airline's check-in facilities; other indignant clients even forced their way into the immigration area. Flights were delayed anywhere from seven to 24 hours, while Aerolíneas declined to provide vouchers for anything other than snacks.

Aerolíneas officials blamed the problems on a strike by labor intransigents, who in turn proclaimed that there was "shortage of staff"--explanations that are not mutually exclusive. In reality, there's plenty of blame to go around, though it's clear that Aerolíneas (with the bulk of market share) has the most problems of any Argentine airline. I addressed the topic of domestic flight problems, due to a shortage of planes, in an earlier post.

Meanwhile, today's Buenos Aires Herald contains a large advertisement recruiting cabin staff for Austral, Aerolíneas' domestic affiliate (any distinction between the two is more or less fictitious). In additional to fluent English, one of the basic requirements is the ability to swim.

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