There are direct daily flights between Buenos Aires and several North American cities, with New York and Miami being primary departure points. Many airlines also serve Buenos Aires via Santiago de Chile or São Paulo in Brazil, which adds only a little to your trip time.
Aerolíneas Argentinas, the flagship airline, operates direct flights between Buenos Aires and JFK once a day and Miami twice a day. Since its renationalization in 2008, Aerolíneas' reputation for chronic delays has greatly improved, although strikes do still ground planes.
Chilean airline LAN is Aerolíneas' biggest local competition. LAN flies direct from Buenos Aires to Miami, and via Santiago de Chile or Lima to JFK, Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, often in partnership with Brazilian airline TAM. LAN also allows you to bypass Buenos Aires by flying into Mendoza and Córdoba from JFK and Miami, both via Santiago de Chile.
U.S. carriers serve Buenos Aires, too. There are direct flights from Atlanta on Delta and from Houston on United; American flies nonstop from JFK, Miami, and Dallas.
Flying times to Buenos Aires are 11–12 hours from New York, 10½ hours from Atlanta, Dallas or Houston, and 9 hours from Miami.
Most domestic flights operate from Buenos Aires, so to fly from the extreme south of the country to the extreme north, you often have to change planes here.
Aerolíneas Argentinas and its partner Austral link Buenos Aires to more Argentine cities than any other airline, with flights running to Puerto Iguazú, Salta, Mendoza, Córdoba, Bariloche, Ushuaia, and El Calafate at least once a day. LAN also flies to these cities. Andes Líneas Aéreas operates flights between Buenos Aires, Salta, and Puerto Madryn; and sometimes provides direct service between Puerto Iguazú and Salta and Córdoba, bypassing Buenos Aires.
Aerolíneas Argentinas has two coupon-based air passes, the South American Pass and the Visit Argentina Pass, both of which must be purchased before you arrive. Although you do not need to fly in and out of the continent with Aerolíneas to take advantage of either, prices are cheaper if you do. Each allows you to travel to between three and 12 destinations, using one coupon per flight; coupons from the two passes may also be combined.
The South American Pass includes all countries the carrier serves within the region (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela). All routes operate from Buenos Aires, except Rio de Janeiro to Puerto Iguazú and Santiago de Chile to Mendoza. Coupons cost between $90 and $250. The Visit Argentina Pass is valid for domestic flights. Coupons cost $180 each except for ones covering Patagonia, which cost $220 (prices drop to $150 and $200, respectively, if you fly into Argentina with Aerolíneas). The downside with these passes is that each connection you make through Buenos Aires counts as a flight and, therefore, requires a coupon. If you want to visit Buenos Aires, El Calafate, and Iguazú with the Visit Argentina Pass, for example, you would need to buy four coupons.
If you plan to take at least three flights within Argentina or South America in general, you might save money with Visit South America pass offered by the OneWorld Alliance (of which LAN is a member). Flights are categorized by mileage; segments (both domestic and international) start at $160.
Aerolíneas Argentinas. www.aerolineas.com.ar.
Andes Líneas Aéreas. www.andesonline.com.
American Airlines. www.aa.com.
Delta Airlines. www.delta.com.
United Airlines. www.united.com.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration. www.tsa.gov.
South American Pass. 800/333–0276; www.aerolineas.com.ar/en-us/cheap_flights/south_american_pass.
Visit Argentina Pass. 800/333–0276; www.aerolineas.com.ar/en-us/cheap_flights/visit_argentina.
Visit South America Pass. 866/435–9526; www.lan.com/en_us/sitio_personas/southamericanairpass/index.html.
Airports in Argentina are mostly small, well maintained, and easy to get around. Security at most 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.
Buenos Aires' Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini (EZE)—known as Ezeiza—is 35 km (22 miles) southwest of the city center. Ezeiza is the base for international flights operated by Aerolíneas Argentinas and its partner Austral; both airlines run a limited number of domestic flights to Puerto Iguazú, El Calafate, Bariloche, Trelew, Córdoba, Ushuaia, and Rosario from here as well. These all depart from the newest terminal, C; inbound international flights on Aerolíneas, however, arrive at Terminal A, a pleasant, glass-sided building. Other major international carriers also use Ezeiza’s Terminal A. SkyTeam-member airlines (including Delta) are the notable exception: they operate entirely out of Terminal C. At this writing, Terminal B is being renovated.
A covered walkway connects all three terminals. Both A and C have a few small snack bars, a small range of shops—including a pharmacy—a public phone center with Internet services, and a tourist information booth. The ATM, 24-hour luggage storage, and car-rental agencies are in Terminal A.
Avoid changing money in the baggage claim area. The best exchange rates are at the small Banco de la Nación in the Terminal A arrivals area; it's open round 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 miles) north of the city center. Both it and Ezeiza are run by the private company Aeropuertos Argentinos 2000.
Elsewhere in Argentina
Several other airports in Argentina are technically international, but only because they have a few flights to neighboring countries; most flights are domestic.
Aeropuerto Internacional de Puerto Iguazú (IGR) is close to Iguazú Falls; it's 20 km (12 miles) from Puerto Iguazú and 10 km (6 miles) from the park entrance. The northwest is served by Salta's Aeropuerto Internacional Martín Miguel de Güemes (SLA), 7 km (4½ miles) west of the city of Salta.
The airport for the wine region and western Argentina is Aeropuerto Internacional de Mendoza Francisco Gabrieli (MDZ), usually known as El Plumerillo. It's 10 km (6 miles) north of Mendoza. Northern Patagonia's hub is Bariloche, 13 km (8 miles) west of which is the Aeropuerto Internacional San Carlos de Bariloche Teniente Luis Candelaria (BRC), known as the Aeropuerto de Bariloche. The gateway to southern Patagonia is Aeropuerto Internacional de El Calafate Comandante Armando Tola (ECA), 18 km (11 miles) east of El Calafate itself.
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery. 11/5480–6111; www.aa2000.com.ar.
Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini. 11/5480–2500; www.aa2000.com.ar.