Find out what it's like to travel from São Paulo to Buenos Aires on the Argentine low cost Flybondi, which offers tickets up to 60% cheaper

Low-cost companies, that is, low-cost, arrived in Brazil once and for all offering cheapest flights to some international destinations. In Brazil since October, the Argentine airline flybondi is one of them. Currently, the company offers routes departing from Florianópolis, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo towards the Argentine capital. In March, it will be Porto Alegre's turn.

With the idea of reducing operating costs to generate cheaper fares, Flybondi charges for any extra service, as is customary in low-cost airlines – in-flight meals, checked baggage and seat booking, for example, must be paid separately. The company also operates an alternative airport in Buenos Aires, El Palomar.

Read too " Os 100 lugares mais lindos para viajar no Brasil

But, after all, what is it like to fly with Flybondi? We were on a flight from São Paulo (GRU) to Buenos Aires (EPA) and we will report all our experience on board.

What is it like to travel on Flybondi?

Buenos Aires

Photo: Better Travel Guide

Traveling by low cost has its advantages and disadvantages. In the case of Flybondi it is no different. The airline fulfills its role well in transporting passengers from one place to another. However, don't expect perks or luxury: if you think the flight is already part of the itinerary, better rethink the decision to fly with a low-cost airline.

The company currently offers flights between São Paulo and Buenos Aires with three weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). Boarding by Flybondi in Guarulhos is very agile and fast – after preferential boarding, passengers are divided into groups and access the plane (a Boeing 737-800) from the last to the first seats. Even so, the spaces to store hand luggage in the luggage compartment are crowded, causing some passengers to have to carry backpacks and other personal items under the seat.

With aircraft that carry 189 people in a single class (economy) and offering seats in the 3-3 format, the space of the seats and their recline are satisfactory. Considering that the trip to Buenos Aires is short and takes about three hours from São Paulo, comfort is not compromised.

It is also important to know that Flybondi does not offer any type of inflight entertainment, except for a monthly company magazine. The aircraft also does not have USB ports to charge cell phones or other mobile devices.

Low cost: extra services are charged

flybondi

Flybondi's meal menu. Photo: Better Travel Guide

Before boarding a low cost airline, it is necessary to be aware that any extra will be charged. For example, at Flybondi, there is no food service on board – including water – unless you pay for it. The company offers a menu with options for snacks (110 pesos/ R$8), cold snacks (16o pesos/R$ 11.50), soft drinks (110 pesos/ R$8) or coffee (90 pesos)/ R$6.50. Despite the affordable prices, the company only allows the payment of these foods in Argentine pesos and does not accept cards.

Other charges also apply to baggage. Each passenger is entitled to take only one carry-on bag on board measuring 45 cm x 25 cm x 55 cm and weighing up to 10 kilos. If you need to check a suitcase, the amount charged by the company is R$ 100. It is worth remembering that, on international flights, liquids with more than 100ml (perfumes, shampoo, etc.) x from the airport.

In the case of booking a seat, the airline also charges from R$ 7 to R$ 44 per way. Check-in should also preferably be carried out online: if it is necessary to do so at the airport, a fee of R$ 11 is charged.

Arrival in Buenos Aires: El Palomar Airport 

Buenos Aires

El Palomar Airport. Photo: Better Travel Guide

El Palomar Airport (EPA), where Flybondi flights arrive in Buenos Aires, is very compact and much smaller than Ezeiza Airport (EZE), the main point of arrival for tourists to Buenos Aires. Considered the first low cost airport in Argentina, the place also receives flights from the JetSmart company.

When you arrive in El Palomar, don't expect to find a “duty free” or any other store. There is only one departure lounge and four immigration desks – which can make the process a little slower than usual. The only food option available, for example, is a food truck located outside the airport – but depending on the time your flight arrives, it may be closed.

The region where El Palomar is located has some shops and shops just a few meters from the exit. The airport is located 18 kilometers from downtown Buenos Aires (it is closer to the city center than Ezeiza itself, which is about 30 kilometers away).

The advantage, especially for those arriving with hand luggage only, is that El Palomar is next to the Retiro Station, on the San Martín line of the train, integrated into the city's subway. THE access is very easy and economical – the ticket costs 14 pesos with the city metro ticket and 33 pesos without it. 

For those who prefer, there are also taxis waiting for passengers at the exit. There is also the option of a transfer service operated by the company Tienda León, which makes stops in the main districts of the Argentine capital and which can be booked at Flybondi website. 

Flybondi: are the tickets really cheaper? 

flybondi

El Palomar Airport. Photo: Better Travel Guide

Finally, it remains to be seen: are tickets to Buenos Aires on Flybondi really cheaper? The answer is yes. A trip to Buenos Aires during Carnival, for example, departing from São Paulo on the 21st of February (Friday) and returning on the 26th (Wednesday) costs R$ 745.10 round trip with fees on Flybondi. For other companies, during the same period, the lowest value is that of Gol, for R$3728.00.

Flybondi, however, is not registered on airline ticket sales sites (such as Skyscanner, Decolar, Kayak, among others), and it is necessary to access the company's website directly to check prices and purchase tickets - this, by the way, is the only way to purchase tickets, as the airline does not offer in-person sales at airport counters. It is also not possible to split the price of the ticket.

* The columnist traveled at the invitation of Flybondi. The values in this matter refer to February 2020 and may change. 

Read too:

» Airlines start charging even for carry-on bags
» Low cost arrives in São Paulo with promotion of flights to Buenos Aires
» 11 places in Buenos Aires to escape the obvious
» Ranking points to cheaper cities to backpack in 2020

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