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South America

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Denver nonstop to Panama means 1-stop to South America

From USA Today:
United Airlines to add Denver-Panama City nonstop

This would have been great news for me in 2012, when I did a few flights between Colorado and Latin America.  To Uruguay in my case,  where I now live.  I took United’s Star Alliance and Mileage Plus partner Copa on one of those flights, starting with a United connecting flight to a Copa Airlines international gateway. But had to fly to Washington Dulles (IAD) to connect to Copa.

three side-by-side shots - Aerial view of hub showing relatively small size, a line of Copa 737s at gates, and a night view of the airport

Copa’s Hub of the Americas

From Panama, Copa Airlines has nonstop flights to many cities in South America, even to under-served Uruguay at our Montevideo International Airport (MVD). (Posted edited to expand information, add some links and images, after initial posting from WordPress’ inadequate mobile app.)

Continue reading »

Why you need to subscribe to airline fare deals

Most of the time, pretty much worthless. No cheaper than what you get directly at your airline website, or at one of the online travel agencies.

Once in a while, holy cow! My brother-in-law found a $352 USD all-in from New York City to Buenos Aires (EZE, their International Airport). I love living in Uruguay but it’s one of the most expensive ex-US airfares for the actual flight distance. Likewise, Buenos Aires, Argentina, where many Uruguay visitors arrive and then take the Buquebus ferry across the Rio de la Plata. Continue reading »

Pluna Plunges – Uruguay’s own airline is defunct

Crosspost from my Uruguay-specific blog Uruguay Expat Life. Lots of better ideas for how to get to Uruguay on Star Alliance, oneworld, or Delta-allied carriers.

Latin Star (Alliances that is)

Well I blew it.

AviancaTaca Group and their subsidiary airlines Taca, LACSA (the Costa Rica branch of Taca), Taca Perú, and Avianca all joined Star Alliance today 21 June. Along with their competitor in Central and northern South America, Copa Airlines, whose accession was never in question.  With AviancaTaca even jumping the gun by a day on its websites yesterday.

Which makes me just about as prescient about airlines as most airline CEOs, who continue to lose money and go in and out of bankruptcy.

I still stand by the logic in my earlier posts about why LAN would want to find a way out of oneworld into Star. But not happening now.

Keep an eye on the Stars, however. I do not expect this to remain static. Logically Star still is a better global partner for LAN than is the weak oneworld, and Star needs a continent-wide South American partner. Which neither Copa nor AviancaTaca provides.

But for now… mea culpa. I stand in good company with the Bloomberg London reporter who said 2 days ago (at 00:39 into the video) that LAN is leaving their alliance,  and with the Copa agent in DC who had come to the same conclusion as me about AviancaTaca not joining (or at least not staying) in Star Alliance.

Until then, however, AviancaTaca LifeMiles is now going to be my primary Star Alliance frequent flyer program, totally replacing the devalued United Mileage Plus with its ridiculous fees. LifeMiles has great earnings on its own fares, and now has an excellent Star Alliance online booking engine, along with a flexible cash-vs-miles sliding scale. I just was able to find an LAX-to-Montevideo award in August for only 19,000 1-way miles. And because I only have 10,801 LifeMiles right now (all earned from just one cheap Uruguay-USA flight a week ago with booking/fare bonuses), I can use 10,500 + $131 USD as a dirt-cheap way to get that ticket. Not sure if I will, because I’ve got an AAwful Airlines AAward for that timeframe already, but it is a super value.

¡Tu tienes correo! (You’ve got mail)

I am unreasonable excited by the fact that I got mail delivered by Correo Uruguayo to my new apartment in this brand new building. How you get the mail is one of those little things that differs from place to place. In Uruguay, at least in my town of Altántida, homes do not have mailboxes. Unless they have fenced-in yards, in which case a mailbox is bolted to the fence with just a front slot but an opening on the other side for removing the mail. We don’t have that. Just a gravel driveway and a dirt-becoming-grass patch in front of each modest apartment.

I was really unclear if we needed to do something to let the postal service know we existed here, that this building even existed. Also, there are no street numbers to buildings in Atlántida, so you give your address in various informal ways, like (in Spanish of course), “7th Street at the corner of Pine”, or “General Artigas across from the Bank”. If you have named your home with a big sign out front, you add that. Our complex has a name, but absolutely no sign, so we are just Apto 3 at the corner of two streets.

But which street to name first? It is an L-shaped building, and Aptos 1 & 2 are on one street, while 3-5 are on the other. Do I go by where the building starts? Do I go by the larger of the two streets? Do I go by the bizarre-to-me Padrón, Manzana, and Solar? Do I place it between the two avenues rather than on the corner? Plus do I include the unposted and perhaps simply informal name? Mysteries upon enigmas 🙂

But resolution comes in the form of two pieces of mail slipped under the door Wednesday and Thursday. The water bill, and the electric bill. Both arrived. Both with forms of addresses different from anything I have given out. Each different from the other!

I think I’m going to send myself a letter. Or three. See which ones get here.

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