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Interlining from UA to AR @ EZE/AEP for MVD

Interlining from UA to AR @ EZE/AEP for MVD

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Old Aug 29, 12, 2:40 pm
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Question Interlining from UA to AR @ EZE/AEP for MVD

Might you have any experience interlining from UA to AR? I'm thinking about flying IAH-EZE on UA, and then going overland from EZE to AEP, before flying from AEP-MVD on AR (who just joied SkyTeam).

I see on expertflyer.com that UA publishes a fare for this routing, so I'm about to pick up the phone and call UA's 1k desk to see if SHARES can automatically (or manually) price it out for me. It appears that this routing might be cheaper than routing IAH-GRU-MVD and more comfortable than routing IAH-PTY-MVD.

Assuming UA can price it, and UA is willing/able to sell it to me, I'm curious to hear if anyone else has tried this, and how well (or poorly) it's worked? For example did you get your AR boarding pass in IAH? Were your bags at least tagged through to MVD?

Any other pros/cons that folks might care to suggest are welcome!
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Old Aug 29, 12, 2:55 pm
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While I haven't done it before, I would imagine you wouldn't get a BP since you have to pick up your bags, go through immigration, etc.

Some things to think about -- EZE-AEP is quite a haul. You can take car service pretty inexpensively, but it will take you close to an hour.

Also, the EZE entry fee is steep (some like $130 US in cash). It will probably apply since you have to ground transit there.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 2:56 pm
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Would you be staying over in BA, or would you want to make an immediate transfer from EZE to AEP to fly onward to MVD?

If the latter, I would say such a transfer would be a living hell. EZE is located way out in the sticks, while AEP is almost in downtown BA, and traffic can be a huge problem as well. Factor in the fact that UA has become a very unreliable airline (search and you'll find a thread about mega-delays on their EZE flights) and you might find yourself in a mad dash to make your connection, or missing the AEP-MVD flight altogether.

Also, just out of curiosity - why not take the AR flight from EZE-MVD? They have several departures a day.

Personally, though, I'd take Copa or TAM.

Originally Posted by channa View Post
Also, the EZE entry fee is steep (some like $130 US in cash). It will probably apply since you have to ground transit there.
Yes - this, too. The OP would certainly have to pay the fee (if s/he hasn't already done so on a previous trip to Argentina). Something else to think about.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Aug 29, 12 at 2:58 pm Reason: merge
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Old Aug 29, 12, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
Also, the EZE entry fee is steep (some like $130 US in cash). It will probably apply since you have to ground transit there.
IME if one is transiting between two other countries in under 24 hours (akin to TWOV) the reciprocity fee is not charged. I managed to keep the $140 last year in this manner.

Originally Posted by M60_to_LGA View Post
Yes - this, too. The OP would certainly have to pay the fee (if s/he hasn't already done so on a previous trip to Argentina). Something else to think about.
No, they really wouldn't.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 3:22 pm
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Perhaps I'm missing something here, but according to expertflyer.com, there's only 1x flight per day in late November between EZE-MVD, and it doesn't depart/arrive at times conducive to catching the UA flight to/from IAH.

Therefore, I feel that I have little choice other than to fly out of AEP (or take the buquebus-ferry). I'm not opposed to the ferry, but doing that would still require me to take a taxi/bus from EZE into the city. Therefore, am I better off telling the taxi to take me to the ferry dock or to AEP? Sure, the buquebus might be cheaper than flying AR, but I'm hoping that the AR flight will get me to MVD a much more quickly than the ferry-bus combination.

Similarly, I'm hoping that by buying a single ticket from UA (interlined over to AR, as previously described) that I will be somewhat protected should I miss my flight out of AEP (due to UA delays out of IAH).

Lastly, my issue in transiting GRU is with the visa, as I'm an American. Yes, I know that TWoV should be possible at GRU, and I ought not to need a visa if I'm simply catching a flight to MVD. However, the Brazilian embassy's website makes a good point, in that if my flight from IAH to GRU is delayed, and I miss my GRU-MVD flight, then I am screwed without a visa. So, would you risk spending the night airside at GRU without a visa? I wouldn't. Therefore, I'd likely wind up buying said visa before departure, just in case. Hence, my decision to attempt to route via EZE and, as SBM12 mentions, get away without the reciprocity fee.......
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Old Aug 29, 12, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by IAATM View Post
Similarly, I'm hoping that by buying a single ticket from UA (interlined over to AR, as previously described) that I will be somewhat protected should I miss my flight out of AEP (due to UA delays out of IAH).
If there are significant delays out of IAH then UA should be able to alter the downline segment to help you out. If you get stuck in traffic or are fighting with immigration or anything else like that then you're mostly on your own.

Changing airports is a pain and Copa via PTY will be a much easier connection. But it also is a couple very long flights in a domestic config 737 so if you were considering premium cabins it wouldn't be my first choice.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
IME if one is transiting between two other countries in under 24 hours (akin to TWOV) the reciprocity fee is not charged. I managed to keep the $140 last year in this manner.
Good tip if it works but the story in your link doesn't point to any actual policy or rule, it just shows that you convinced one immigration official not to charge you based on another tip that this was indeed the rule. But what if the official says "You're wrong, if you leave the airport, you have to pay" (a policy/rule which, for what it's worth--which isn't much--makes more sense to me than a rule that lets leave the airport and spend the day in BA having a nice steak and a Malbec without having to pay the fee). A couple of months ago a friend of mine traveling using my reward miles on an itinerary IAH-EZE-SAfrica was told after landing at EZE that he couldn't board the SA flight without a yellow fever certificate, and when he asked to be able to speak to United CS about his options (CS was apparently outside the immigration area), he was charged the fee over his protest. Maybe he was a bad negotiator.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by IAATM View Post
Might you have any experience interlining from UA to AR? I'm thinking about flying IAH-EZE on UA, and then going overland from EZE to AEP, before flying from AEP-MVD on AR (who just joied SkyTeam).

I see on expertflyer.com that UA publishes a fare for this routing, so I'm about to pick up the phone and call UA's 1k desk to see if SHARES can automatically (or manually) price it out for me. It appears that this routing might be cheaper than routing IAH-GRU-MVD and more comfortable than routing IAH-PTY-MVD.

Assuming UA can price it, and UA is willing/able to sell it to me, I'm curious to hear if anyone else has tried this, and how well (or poorly) it's worked? For example did you get your AR boarding pass in IAH? Were your bags at least tagged through to MVD?

Any other pros/cons that folks might care to suggest are welcome!
You could land in EZE. Take Manuel Tienda Leon Bus http://www.tiendaleon.com.ar/home/home.asp to the Buquebus Terminal and if you book in advance with SeaCat http://www.seacatcolonia.com/index.php?sitelanguaje=EN ( same terminal ) the crossing and Bus to MVD is less than $25 and Leon is about $15. Just a thought.. I have done it before as well and it was a fun journey. AR is very prone to delays and Pluna was the low cost air alternative and they were recently shut down.. BTW the Visa is $160 and only charged at air crossings not land.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 5:08 pm
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1. It's not a visa, it's a reciprocity fee.

2. In theory they can charge it at any crossing. Reina Evita II is having/causing a hard currency crisis and wants dólares estadosunidense.

3. Cross-BsAs connection between the two least reliable airlines in the Western Hemisphere?

If you must involve UA, connect as early as possible to partner Copa at PTY for their MVD flight. Sure it's narrowbody, legacy-CO-style hard product. But great service, better reliability, nicer seguros amenities.

Or Taca.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by st530 View Post
Good tip if it works but the story in your link doesn't point to any actual policy or rule, it just shows that you convinced one immigration official not to charge you based on another tip that this was indeed the rule.
Yeah, I managed to hoodwink the Argentina immigration authorities. Great theory.

Originally Posted by st530 View Post
But what if the official says "You're wrong, if you leave the airport, you have to pay" (a policy/rule which, for what it's worth--which isn't much--makes more sense to me than a rule that lets leave the airport and spend the day in BA having a nice steak and a Malbec without having to pay the fee).
You may think it makes more sense but their TWOV entry in TIMATIC explicitly permits leaving the airport. Obviously they think differently than you do.

Originally Posted by st530 View Post
A couple of months ago a friend of mine traveling using my reward miles on an itinerary IAH-EZE-SAfrica was told after landing at EZE that he couldn't board the SA flight without a yellow fever certificate, and when he asked to be able to speak to United CS about his options (CS was apparently outside the immigration area), he was charged the fee over his protest. Maybe he was a bad negotiator.
Who denied him? Querying TIMATIC would have shown that he didn't need the immunization assuming he didn't leave the airport in Argentina. But once he went into the country without the ability to leave destined for a third country he was no longer eligible for TWOV.

ETA: I just read TIMATIC again. It actually sounds like he was rightfully denied boarding:

Exempt from Yellow Fever vaccination:

- Transit passengers not leaving the airport in South Africa.
- Those not leaving the plane during transit in the countries
with risk of yellow fever transmission concerned
Once he left the airplane in Argentina he needed the Yellow Fever cert to travel on to South Africa unless that was also a transit stop. Did he check the requirements before departure?

Last edited by sbm12; Aug 29, 12 at 5:30 pm
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Old Aug 29, 12, 7:04 pm
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I have done several times that interlining EZE-AEP and it can be anywhere from 45 min to almost 2 hrs depending on traffic (rush hour etc). Morning commute flows from EZE to the city, so you will be on the high side. Not sure if UA can ticket AR (never done it), but I had experience several problems with them ticketing TAM which is supposed to be same *A.
Connecting in GRU is fairly easy and quick(I have no visa too), and with several flights a day to MVD (including Gol) looks better option for me, plus UA will ticket TAM and protect you if delays. Only once several years ago, my flight to GRU was really late and with only one connection to ASU and no brazilian visa, the GA decided not to let me board and put me on the next day flight to avoid problems at GRU.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 7:55 pm
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I also like the advice from hoble. I've taken TAM to/from Montevideo several times now, connecting over GRU. Flown both from MIA and JFK gateways. JJ often used Pluna as codeshare on GRU-MVD but also runs at least one or two of its own flights on A320-family metal.

GRU TWOV airside isn't great, but it's fully functional. Even about 5% of the power outlets near the gates actually work There's decent food and shopping availability, including at least one sandwich shop that will take USD.

TAM is great once you are on the plane. They are mediocre-to-horrid before that, at US gateways (plan for LONG lines especially at MIA). But they do a predeparture water/candy service even in coach on longhaul! Seatback AVOD; not a high-res screen but it's AVOD, at your seat. That's not happening on the sUA 767 craft (UA847, used to be reliable from IAD, now is horrible cross-fleeted from EWR, there's a whole thread about how bad its reliablity is) where the back of the plane was ignored in the makeover.

If you consider TAM, keep in mind that if you are not Brazilian and they see your carryon, they will insist on weighing it and make you check it if it is over 5 kilos (11 pounds). If you are Brazilian, you can carry on the kitchen sink, even hitting me in the shoulder with it upon boarding after I had to pay $150USD to check my carryon as a 3rd bag. But you get a 2-bags 70-pounds free by Brazil law. And very nice onboard service. Plus the choice of Star Alliance miles in any program other than AviancaTaca Lifemiles, or LANPass miles if you want to build up in a oneworld program.

I love Buenos Aires. If your plan is to spend a few days there, then sure, take UA to EZE if it makes sense for you, and take AR out of AEP. But if you're just connecting, your plan simply is too complicated and expensive with negatives due to both airlines' lousy reliability.

TAM, AviancaTaca (usually all Taca/LACSA but some itins include AV to BOG), and Copa all offer good *A service into MVD, easy-to-use, no-transit-visa connecting airports, better food, amenities, service, baggage allowances than United, and get you right into Montevideo Carrasco International Airport.

With the TAM routing being widebody service USA-to-South America. Modern clean narrowbodies on the others (and on the TAM GRU-MVD midcon), with a decent chance of AVOD on Taca Peru LIM-MVD, a great chance of near-E+ seating due to the scooped-out seatbacks of Taca's Recaro seats (with or without AVOD), and a slight chance of AVOD on Copa.

I did JJ JFK-GRU-MVD r/t a year ago May, JJ MIA-GRU-MVD last November, CM IAD-PTY-MVD in June, and TA MVD-LIM-SAL-SFO later in June. Doing SFO-SAL-LIM-MVD in 2 weeks.

I've done UA 767s to EZE and GRU. Not my cup of mate. And back then it was real UA and I was a 1K. I shudder to think what it is now. UA IAH-LIM was bad enough a few months ago, and UA totally melted down on my return in LIM with 26-hour rolling delays, where I finally got them to put me on LAN back to the States.

I don't even want to think about Aerolineas!

edit: Oh, and the reciprocity fee is now $160USD thanks to the US State Department raising the visa application fee to that amount.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Yeah, I managed to hoodwink the Argentina immigration authorities. Great theory.

You may think it makes more sense but their TWOV entry in TIMATIC explicitly permits leaving the airport. Obviously they think differently than you do.
Thanks. I was only pointing out that your link didn't cite to a policy or rule, which I was interested in because your experience was different from my friend's. Now you've mentioned TIMATIC and TWOV. I don't know what those are, but I'll Google them.

Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Who denied him? Querying TIMATIC would have shown that he didn't need the immunization assuming he didn't leave the airport in Argentina. But once he went into the country without the ability to leave destined for a third country he was no longer eligible for TWOV.

ETA: I just read TIMATIC again. It actually sounds like he was rightfully denied boarding:


Once he left the airplane in Argentina he needed the Yellow Fever cert to travel on to South Africa unless that was also a transit stop. Did he check the requirements before departure?
I was making a different point -- that when he left immigration to talk to United CS about his options he was charged the reciprocity fee even though at the time he still had an onward same-day boarding pass to South Africa. This would seem to contradict the TIMATIC/TMOV policy.

I assume he did not check the requirements before departure. His theory was that United shouldn't have let him board the IAH-EZE flight without ensuring that he had the right papers for the onward flight to S Africa, but I told him I doubted that was their responsibility. Ultimately UA put him on the return back to IAH that same night and then on to IAD and S Africa the following morning.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 3:28 pm
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I transited from AEP to EZE a few years back after coming from RGA, and it took nearly 2 hours in the afternoon/evening rush hour. Not something I would want to do after getting off an overnight if I could avoid it.

I would suggest going through GRU despite the visa concerns.
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Old Aug 30, 12, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by st530 View Post
Now you've mentioned TIMATIC and TWOV. I don't know what those are, but I'll Google them.
TIMATIC is the system used by all the airlines which maintains documentation and health requirements for travel. It tells you (and them) what the rules are for visas, inoculations and such. Put your details in here (http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps...t/default.aspx) and see what it spits out.

TWOV=Transit without visa.


Originally Posted by st530 View Post
I was making a different point -- that when he left immigration to talk to United CS about his options he was charged the reciprocity fee even though at the time he still had an onward same-day boarding pass to South Africa. This would seem to contradict the TIMATIC/TMOV policy.
Without being there and knowing what was said, I cannot say for certain. But if the immigration officials knew that he was going in to deal with the fact that he was being denied boarding on the supposedly qualifying flight I can understand why he was charged.
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