There are direct daily services between Buenos Aires and several North American cities, with New York and Miami as primary departure points. Many airlines fly to Buenos Aires via Santiago de Chile or São Paulo in Brazil, which only adds a little to your trip time.
Aerolíneas Argentinas, the flagship airline, operates direct flights between Buenos Aires and Miami. Since being renationalized in 2008, Aerolíneas's reputation for chronic delays has improved vastly.
Chilean airline LAN is Aerolíneas's biggest local competition. LAN flies to JFK, Miami, and Los Angeles via Santiago de Chile or Lima. There are direct flights from Los Angeles and Atlanta on Delta. American also has nonstop service from JFK, Miami, and Dallas. United flies from JFK via Washington, D.C. Continental connects Buenos Aires with Houston, and Dallas and Newark via Houston.
Flying times to Buenos Aires are 11–12 hours from New York, 9 hours from Miami, 10½ hours from Dallas or Houston, and 13 hours from Los Angeles via Santiago de Chile.
Aerolíneas Argentinas and its subsidiary Austral operate flights from Buenos Aires to more Argentine cities than any other airline, including daily services (often more than one) to Puerto Iguazú, Salta, Mendoza, Córdoba, Bariloche, Ushuaia, and El Calafate. LAN also flies to these cities.
Aerolíneas Argentinas's South American Pass allows you to visit Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The price is based on your total mileage (1,900 miles cost $319, for example), and, to be eligible you must fly in and out of the continent on Aerolíneas and visit at least two countries.
If you plan to take at least three flights within Argentina or South America in general, you might save money with the Visit South America pass run by the OneWorld Alliance, which LAN is part of. Flights are categorized by mileage; segments (both domestic and international) range from $119 to $359. The catch is that many domestic routes only operate from Buenos Aires, so you often have to return there. Round-trip flights to Iguazú and Calafate from Buenos Aires would cost $690 altogether.
Airlines and Airports
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration (www.tsa.gov.)
South American Pass (800/333–0276 Aerolíneas Argentinas. www.aerolineas.com.ar/en-us/cheap_flights/south_american_pass.)
Visit South America Pass (866/435–9526 LAN. www.lan.com/en_us/sitio_personas/southamericanairpass/index.html or www.oneworld.com/flights/single-continent-fares/visit-south-america.)
Visit Argentina Pass (800/333–0276 Aerolíneas Argentinas. www.aerolineas.com.ar/en-us/cheap_flights/visit_argentina.)
Buenos Aires' Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (EZE)—known simply as Ezeiza—is 35 km (22 mi) southwest of and a 45-minute drive from the city center.
Aerolíneas Argentinas and its partner Austral operate out of the older Terminal B. All other airlines are based at Terminal A, a pleasant, glass-sided building. A covered walkway connects the two terminals. Each has a few small snack bars, a small range of shops—including a pharmacy—a public phone center with Internet services, and a visitor information booth.
The ATM, 24-hour luggage storage, and car-rental agencies are in Terminal A. By far the best currency exchange rates are at the small Banco de la Nación in the Terminal A arrivals area; it's open around the clock.
Most domestic flights operate out of Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP). It's next to the Río de la Plata in northeast Palermo, about 8 km (5 mi) north of the city center.
Security at Argentine airports isn't as stringent as it is in the States—computers stay in cases, shoes stay on your feet, and there are no random searches. Air travel is expensive for Argentines, so airports are more likely to be crowded with foreigners than locals.
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (11/5480–6111. www.aa2000.com.ar.)
Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (11/5480–2500. www.aa2000.com.ar.)
From Ezeiza the quickest way of getting into town is in one of the registered black-and-yellow city taxis that you can get at booths outside either terminal. The trip costs about 90 pesos (you pay the metered price and tolls) and takes 45-60 minutes.
Almost as fast are private shuttle buses run by Manuel Tienda León. Services to and from its terminal in the Retiro district leave roughly every half hour; some include free drop-off at downtown hotels. You can buy the 40-peso one-way ticket at booths in the arrival halls of both terminals and in the walkway connecting the two.
The only public transport that connects Buenos Aires and Ezeiza is Bus 86. It leaves from a shelter in the parking area opposite the Aeropuertos Argentinos 2000 building (turn left out of Terminal B). You need change for the 2-peso ticket and patience for the two to three hours it takes to reach San Telmo and Plaza de Mayo (it runs along Avenida Paseo Colón).
The highway connecting Ezeiza with the city is the Autopista Ricchieri, which you can reach by taking either Autopista 25 de Mayo out of the city or Avenida General Paz, which encircles the city. Note that most flights to the United States depart from Buenos Aires in the evening, so plan to offset afternoon traffic snarls by allowing at least an hour of travel time to Ezeiza.
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery is actually inside Buenos Aires, on the Costanera Norte in northeast Palermo. There are several routes to Aeroparque from downtown—about a 15-minute trip. The easiest way is to take Avenida Libertador north to Avenida Sarmiento, and then take a right and follow it until Costanera Rafael Obligado. Note that traffic can be heavy between 6 and 8 pm.
A taxi to Microcentro or San Telmo costs 20–25 pesos and takes anything from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Manuel Tienda León operates shuttle buses to and from its terminal and downtown hotels, but a ticket costs 15 pesos—not that much less than a taxi, really.
Several city buses run along Avenida Rafael Obligado, outside the airport: the 160 and 37 go to Plaza Italia, and the 33 and 45 go to Retiro and the Microcentro. All cost 1.10 pesos.
Transfers Between Airports
A taxi ride between Ezeiza and Aeroparque costs 90–110 pesos and takes an hour in normal traffic. Manuel Tienda León shuttles make the same trip for 45 pesos; there are usually two departures per hour in each direction.
Manuel Tienda León (11/4314–3636 or 810/888–5366. www.tiendaleon.com.ar.)
Taxi Ezeiza (11-15/6128–8301. www.taxiezeiza2000.com.ar.)