Trying to take things one fax at a time…

On Friday I shared my brilliant plan to fly Aerolineas Argentinas’ Club Condor Class to Sydney via Buenos Aires. After all, who wouldn’t want to fly a business class product featuring up to four different movies in stereo, and 12 audio channels with varied genders. I mean, does it get better than that? I sure as heck didn’t think so, and apparently neither did you guys based on the feedback you left me in the comments section:

  • “To call a spade a spade, f*** that. I fly MIA/EZE about 6 times a year. Once on Aerolineas, never again. Not even if Madonna was the purser and performed her Oscar winning song You Must Love Me while sitting on my lap.”
  • “Not even for free. Total piece of crap airline.”
  • “I made one flight with Aerolineas Argentinas (it was and will remain my LAST flight with them).”
  • “I don’t think you should do it unless you are in the mood to torture yourself.”
  • “Don’t risk it! They go on more strikes than Iberia. Now…If you plan on doing multiple shots before departing, it may not be that bad at all. If anything come to Lima :)
  • “As someone who is married to an argentine, aerolineas is the joke and disgrace of the nation. The flights are sometimes reported as 13% on time, if and only if they take off. The flight attendants don’t tuck in their shirts or shave (women included) and don’t expect a smile or customer service anywhere. I’d avoid that if I were you. But secretly deep down, I’d love to read about it with a snarky comment thread that only you could do :)
  • “Didn’t Aerolineas Argentinas become nationalized by the Argentine government (read: stolen from the original owners)? If so, it is like the government running an airline (think post office).”
  • “Yup, Aerolineas Argentina is owned by the bankrupt Argentine government headed by the Eva Peron wannabe nut case President CFK.”

So if I’m interpreting the above feedback correctly, what you guys are trying to say is that Aerolineas Argentinas is too bad not to try, right?

I’m about ready to pull the trigger on this, though I can’t seem to crack the most important part of this puzzle. As I covered in the last post, the real selling point of Aerolineas Aregentinas is their onboard fax machine:

You will be able to make satellite phone calls through an individual telephone from your seat, paying with your credit card, to a cost of U$S 7.50 per minute. If you wish to send a fax, you will be to request it to the crew to a cost of u$s 7.50 per page.

I’ve drunk blogged/Tweeted from 35,000 feet, though I’ve never drunk faxed. And for that matter, given that there are no power ports and only four movies on the 15hr50min flight, faxing might just be the most entertaining activity onboard.

The problem is that I can’t seem to get more information on this damn fax machine. I tried calling Aerolineas Argentinas to ask for more information on which aircraft featured fax machines and how the process worked, though they seem as unfamiliar with this feature as they do with a flight operating on-time.

So I’m hoping some of you have more info on the fax machine, as this is the deciding factor between me booking this itinerary or not.

Does anyone know if all their Airbus A340s feature fax machines? What are the chances that the fax machine on my flight is “broken” after I try to send the first fax? What about the third? Sixth? Do they accept incoming faxes, so that you guys can fax me during the flight to keep me entertained? At what point will I cause a diversion to Antarctica?

I guess I’m trying to figure out just how much fun I can realistically have with this. Hourly blog post updates via fax, anyone?

Comments

  1. If the fax machine is “broken,” can you demand your money (or miles) back because of the lack of productivity you were promised during the flight?

  2. Can you receive a fax during the flight? If yes, make sure to bring paper in case the machine is out of paper. 🙂

  3. What if you want to distribute copies of your fax to fellow passengers? Are any of their aircraft equipped with mimeograph machines?

  4. Hopefully one of the flight attendants is a skilled stenographer. At least then you could dictate your message for later dispatch.

  5. If they can in fact receive faxes, can we please try to set the Guinness World Record for most number of faxes received by one person during a flight? Should be completely doable.

  6. I’ll call tonight through Skype and ask them about it. I’ll call to their Argentinian number (Spanish Language) and tell you what they tell me. Maybe the people on Argentina know more than the ones on the US which I guess you are calling?

  7. Perhaps it’s just a mistake that they have neglected to fix on the website? Looking at their translation job…

    But i’d really like to see your impressions on the experience nonetheless. Any way you could get to Argentina via Aeromexico and then hop on Aerolineas to Sydney? That would inject a bit more productivity into the trip by reviewing another airline before clunking out if you choose with alcohol…

  8. @ Euro — I had exactly the same thought and was trying to get Aeromexico onto the itinerary, but it seemed to exceed the MPM in every instance. If anyone knows of a way to make that happen (Aeromexico as far as Buenos Aires, and Aerolineas from Buenos Aires to Sydney), I’d love to hear!

  9. @ Alonso A. — That would be great, thanks. I’m not sure where the call center I actually called was, as they were speaking English, though not very well, so it could have been that something was simply lost in translation.

  10. 10 to 1 odds that the fax machine will be “broken”, but that fact will not be revealed until after take-off. At which point you will be stuck for nearly 16 hours on a flight that will have you wishing you were on a Greyhound Bus instead.

    Unless you bring along a parachute, and do a DB Cooper as a protest against the lack of faxing capability. Which come to think of it, would make an awesome trip report, even by your usual standards. 😀

  11. @Gary, I think they recently upgraded the mimeographs to dittos. Now you get that lovely purplish ink rather than boring old black and white.

  12. I did some research and looks like we are talking here about Southernmost commercial flight: EZE – SYD. It out-weights a lot of contra-arguments 😉

  13. Of the various systems I support at work there is an enterprise facsimile system that interfaces with the PBX, the Exchange servers, and several Xerox MFP’s. Much of the workload is in the form of fax-to-email and email-to-fax transmissions, which makes me wonder why these people don’t just send the emails directly to their intended recipients. I guess they have their reasons. Maybe they all have personal blogs where they secretly mock an IT solution that still supports faxing to and from obscure aircraft in 2013?

    In any case I would strongly recommend reaching out to more folks on Flyertalk and Airliners to see if you can find someone who has actually completed a fax or two on these specific aircraft. Otherwise this seems likely to result in a lot of head scratching by the crew and little or no actual faxing. You might need to be the “expert” on how this works before you even set foot on the plane. You can still pretend to be clueless at first, but if the crew gives up knowing enough to get the troubleshooting moving along might be a big help to a more rewarding blog post.

    -Dax

  14. I just finished talking with the customer service of Aerolineas in Argentina, I impersonated you and told them that I was THE frequent flyer and that the only reason why I was booking their cheap Club Condor was because of their Fax Machine, since it was one of the few things I still hadn’t done while on a plane. The guy took some time, called a supervisor, they both checked the A340s configuration, read the website, and they got to the conclusion that “if its on the page, then it has to be true. There is even a $7.50 charge for it.”

    So…its risky business. They have no idea at all. For the faith I have in Aerolineas, you’ll probably enjoy some extra unplanned nights in Buenos Aires because of the strikes and the broken planes, and then get on your broken seat just to find out that where there was supposed to be a Fax Machine there is tape just like in LOT. I hate Aerolineas, lol. You can definitely tell. Just mentally prepare yourself to deja-vu-ing yourself to your LOT experience. Just drink a lot of wine and pass out. Then you will be a hero for all of us.

    (BTW LAN also does SCL-AKL-SYD or even more exotic SCL-IPC-PPT)….but also from Lima to Easter Island (IPC)…world’s most remote airport, how about that to add to your experience. It would be awesome to meet you, I’ll treat you for drinks.

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