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Getting the Argentinian visa in record time

View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

After preparing my documents for the Argentinian visa, I had to apply in person. Good thing my employer had significant clout to arrange for an appointment on Tuesday and the visa to be processed extra fast. I got my visa one day afterwards, on April 16th. This is it - will be flying out in the fastest route available.

Since I used to work in the travel industry, I put my skills to great use. The unrestricted business class fare to Buenos Aires was about $6,200, any route notwithstanding. The following were my options at that time:

1. Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur, Johannesberg, Capetown, and then Buenos Aires - flying in a westerly direction

2. A combination of airlines via Los Angeles, Miami and then Buenos Aires

3. Any combination of airlines via Europe - Manila [Manila-travel-guide-885524] to Frankfurt, Paris or Amsterdam, then Buenos Aires

4. A combination of airlines from Manila to New York via Tokyo, then south to Buenos Aires.

5. A combination of Cathay Pacific and Canadian Airlines/Air Canada via Hong Kong and Toronto

I had to go with the fourth option even though no.1 had the shortest flying time, the schedule didn't jive. I also couldn't go through Europe because I didn't have a transit visa. More so the United States because I didn't have any visa since the last time I lived there. Option number 2 would be the most hassle - Filipinos without visas were not looked well upon by Immigration officials back then (no need to elaborate, but many Filipinos back in the 90s know what I meant). So I had to risk the fourth option, even if that meant transiting in New York without a visa. I already had a Canadian visa (having visited earlier that year, during my Vancouver and Calgary trip), but the route via Toronto was too northerly and had the longest flying time.

So I calculated my itinerary and dictated it to the travel agent. The final outbound route was the following:

* Manila-HongKong on Emirates
* HongKong-Tokyo on United
* Tokyo-New York (JFK) on United
* JFK to Buenos Aires on United

Or roughly about 36 hours travel time.

On the way back, I had more flexibility with time. So I decided to route via Toronto, as I haven't visited the city yet. The return leg would like the following"

* Buenos Aires to Toronto via Sao Paolo on Canadian Airlines
* Toronto to HongKongvia Anchorage on Cathay Pacific
* HongKong to Manila on Cathay Pacific

Good thing our business travel policy required business class due to the duration and distance of the flights. The beauty of travel back then - nowadays, many companies require employees flying longhaul to get the cheapest fare, never mind if it is a 16 hour non-stop flight. Only the highest level employees are usually allowed to fly business or first class these days.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Philippines

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