This was the return journey home from our 12-day visit to Argentina, which was booked several months in advance, redeeming reward points from our Air Canada Aeroplan frequent flyer account. Given the great distance and long journey time from Canada down to Argentina, comfort was a priority. So we decided to splurge treating ourselves to Business Class reward tickets. We actually boarded the flight at its origin at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the short two-hour hop across the Andes to Santiago, Chile.
The Business Class cabin was two thirds empty on the two hour Buenos Aires – Santiago sector, and we landed an hour of so before sun down in clear and warm conditions, with the Captain informing us it was still 29 degrees C. All passengers were deplaned at Santiago during the one hour station stop, so that the aircraft could be groomed for the long-haul flight back to Toronto. Interestingly enough, Air Canada has traffic rights between Buenos Aires and Santiago, so some passengers left us, but a larger number along with the new crew were waiting to join the flight at gate 15 in the new Santiago Airport terminal. Large glass windows are a prominent feature of the new airport, which is great for aircraft spotters, but they somehow forgot to incorporate an adequate air-conditioning system. It was stifling hot as we waited to board the flight, although the Servisair-GlobeGround contract agents boarded the plane efficiently, there was no advance boarding for Business-Class passengers as normal in Canada.
As we took our seats 2D and 2F in a full Business-Class cabin, National Post and Globe and Mail newspapers were handed out, along with a Spanish language Chilean paper. A bottle of water was waiting in each seat for each passenger, however, there was no pre-departure drink service for the Business-Class passengers (orange juice, champagne, wine etc) as is standard on other airlines. I decided the check the magazine rack for some interesting in-flight reading material only to find Canadian Living, Chatellaine, Canada Food and Wine, and Canadian Fishing; titles that are of little interest to most business travelers. There were no business and news magazines such as The Economist, Business Week, or Time, which one would naturally expect to be provided. Our flight was under the command of Captain Green, and he did not provide the passengers with a welcome aboard announcement telling us about flying time, planned routing, enroute weather, or weather at destination.
Three flight attendants were allocated to the 25 passengers in the Business-Class cabin, with two working the cabin, and one working the galley preparing meals and drinks. Prior to take-off the menus were distributed, with passengers having a main course choice mushroom chocolate canada of Grilled Chicken Breast served over linguini with pesto, Over-baked Crabmeat and Corn Boat offered on rice pilaf, or Tortellini filled with mushroom accented by Bechamel and Tomato Basil Sauces. The fasten seat belt sign was turned off about fifteen minutes after our 945PM on-time departure from Santiago, and Gloria, the In-Charge Flight Attendant walked through the Business-Class cabin and personally introduced herself to each and every passenger, welcoming everyone aboard the flight. This was a very nice touch, and very impressive. As the flight was full, Gloria worked with her colleagues in the coach cabin for the duration of the flight.