Argentina: Flights

Find Cheap Flights to & Around Argentina: Tips + Tricks

Argentina is an amazing travel destination, but it is literally at the ‘end of the world.’

Argentina is a long way away from Europe, Australia and North America, which means a flight here can be the most expensive part of your trip (unless you are doing something big, such as an arctic expedition).

The Starbucks in the Ezeiza arrivals area
Travelers arriving early in the morning can at least take comfort knowing there is a famous coffeeshop chain right outside of arrivals at Ezeiza.

Luckily for tourists, that cost can be offset by the fact that Argentina is once again a budget travel destination.

The cost of hotels, dining out, and transportation are reasonable compared to most northern countries, but both international flights to the country and domestic air travel have historically been one exception.

Buenos Aires’ International Airport

Most international flights land at Buenos Aires’ Ministro Pistarini International Airport.

Locals call it ‘Ezeiza,’ after the district where it is located.

The airport code is ‘EZE’.

This airport services the majority of the international commercial flights to and from Buenos Aires.

Ezeiza is located about 45 minutes by car to the south of the city and unfortunately is not serviced by Buenos Aires train or a metro service.

Argentina Travel & COVID update:

People dining in an open area in the San Telmo Market

Since April 4, 2022 Argentina’s borders are open to everyone, even the unvaccinated.

Argentina Entry Requirements: Travelers to Argentina no longer need to proof of vaccination, nor a negative COVID-19 PCR.

Visitors only need to fill out a Declaración Jurada (Sworn Statement) found here 48 hours before their trip.

Those over 70 years old are not required to fill out the declaration online.

Check out our Travel Insurance page to learn about inexpensive insurance options that cover Covid-19.

Argentina’s Current Covid situation: After a peak of the contagious Omicron variant earlier in the year, the number of new cases and related deaths have fallen sharply so the government decided to open borders completely — they can use tourism dollars and the dollar is strong.

Eighty one percent of the country is fully vaccinated and 90% have had at least one dose. Boosters are now being administered to more vulnerable populations.

Schools, restaurants, bars and some activities such as tango shows and Buenos Aires city tours and are operating, although masks may be required while moving through enclosed spaces.

Stadiums are operating at full capacity again for soccer games.

Vaccinations

Anyone in Argentina who is still not vaccinated can head to any local vaccination center to get a jab for free. Those who qualify can also get a booster.

The Struggles of Budget Airlines in Argentina

The former pro-business national government was investing in aeronautical infrastructure and turned the old military airbase, Palomar Airport (EPA), 18 km west of Buenos Aires into a new domestic hub for low-cost airlines.

Before the national government changed hands in 2019 and Covid hit in 2020, Argentina’s notoriously underdeveloped domestic airline industry was improving.

Among the airlines who set up shop in Argentina when it opened in 2018 were Fly Bondi, Norwegian Air, Avianca, and RyanAir.

Since Argentina’s airline industry is chronically underdeveloped, Palomar quickly became the country’s fourth largest airport, serving 1.5 million passengers per year.

The rapid growth of low-cost airlines in Argentina meant many citizens were able to fly the friendly skies for the first time.

With a little bit of web savvy and research you can find the best airfare here so you will have more money to spend on tours, food and fun activities.

After the government changed hands and Covid hit, the Palomar airport was shut down in December 2020 after two years of operation as a commercial hub.

The controversial closing resulted in much chagrin of the airline companies who had invested considerable resources in establishing hubs there.

Argentina is the only Latin American country that sets a state-mandated minimum fair for flights, meaning domestic air travel is traditionally expensive and non-competitive.

Even though Argentina is a huge country, only 7% of the population take domestic flights — most people still rely on luxury long-distance buses for domestic travel to go to destinations such as San Carlos de Bariloche or Iguazu Falls.

When the budget airlines arrived, for the first time some domestic flights were more affordable than the traditional intra-country transport of long-distance buses.

Buenos Aires primary domestic airport, Jorge Newbery was also temporarily shut down during the pandemic but got a 500 million dollar upgrade in the meantime.

The addition of a international terminal, a longer runway and better approach lighting expands its capacity to receive international flights from other Latin American countries.

For now, airlines such as Emirates, Air New Zealand, Norwegian and Qatar have stopped their flights to Argentina.

According to a study commissioned by the Buenos Aires City government, 17 airlines stopped doing business in Argentina between the years of 2020-2022.

LATAM, the largest airline company in Latin America, filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 and in shut down LATAM Argentina in early 2021.

On the bright side, Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aéreas has resumed service to Buenos Aires and plans to resume service to Cordoba and Mendoza soon.

The new low-cost airlines SKY is offering eleven weekly flights between Buenos Aires and Santiago.

Initially FlyBondi whose motto is, ‘The Freedom to Fly,’ fought the closing of Palomar airport and threatened to leave the country.

Finally they acquiesced and now have set up their fleet of Boeing 737-800 at Ezeiza and Newbery airports.

FlyBondi is now the main budget airline in Argentina and they recently increased direct intercontinental flights, adding one from Porte Alegre to Bariloche.

Flybondi also flies into Bariloche from Rio de Janeiro and operate flights between Bariloche and Cordoba.

Another new addition is flights to Puerto Madryn from Bariloche.

Until more airlines get back in the game, there are only three airlines to choose from for domestic flights in Argentina:

•Aerolíneas Argentinas (the state-owned airline)

• Flybondi (budget)

• Jetsmart (budget)

Soon, Chile’s Sky Airlines, which merged with Avianca, will hopefully start offering intra-country routes in Argentina.

Popular International Routes into Buenos Aires

Low-cost airlines started offering new international routes to Buenos Aires in 2019.

They were eager to get into the market, as Argentina is a country that attracts a lot of tourism but has a chronically underdeveloped airline industry.

Among the other new 80 international routes into Argentina that were granted in recent years are flights from Istanbul, Barcelona, Helsinki and even secondary European cities such as Kefalonia and Split.

Norwegian was also trying to establish routes between Buenos Aires-Honolulu and Buenos Aires-Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as Buenos Aires-Singapore via Perth before they stopped operations in March 2020, the month the pandemic hit.

As of 2022, there are now 50% fewer international flights into Argentina compared to 2019, according to a study conducted by the city of Buenos Aires.

Before the pandemic there were 49 cities with routes to the capital.

There are now only 32 airlines flying into Buenos Aires international destinations.

Now, due to scarcity prices to fly to Argentina are even higher.

If you see a good price on a flight, bite the bullet and buy because now that there is a dearth of flights, the longer you wait, the more the price rises.

Search for flights 💃🏽

Hopefully more routes will resume sometimes in the future.

Now that people are eager to travel, things are looking up.

Turkish Airlines offers four weekly flights between Istanbul and Buenos Aires, with a stop in Sao Paulo.

Air Canada increased the size of their planes to the Boeing 777, which holds 400 passengers, for their three weekly flights between Montreal and Buenos Aires, also with a stop in Sao Paulo.

As it stands, traveling between Asia or Oceania and Argentina is an ordeal that usually requires a stopover in the USA, Europe or the Middle East.

One exception is the thrice weekly 17-hour Qantas flight between Sydney and Buenos Aires.

Should you buy round trip ticket to Argentina?

Argentina has one of the highest tax rates in the world, so even those who are moving here or coming for a few months to work remotely, often purchase round trip or onward ticket to avoid the astronomical taxes purchasing the return ticket in Argentina.

If you think you might stay in Argentina longer than the maximum 180 days legally allotted on a tourist visa (with one renewal), consider reserving a round-trip ticket that can be changed — even if there is a fee to change the ticket, it will likely be less expensive than purchasing a new one-way ticket out of Argentina.

International round-trip tickets are almost always less expensive to purchase than two one-way tickets anyways.

Proof of Onward Travel

Even though Argentina is famously lax on immigration, they require proof of onward travel for those arriving to Argentina on a tourist visa.

Digital nomads or expats who plan to stay longer than the three months allowed under a tourist visa sometimes buy a refundable ticket out of the country and purchase one and cancel it within 24 hours.

Another popular alternative is to just book an inexpensive ferry ride across the River Plate to Colonia Uruguay, which will give you a brand new stamp in your passport, and another three months visa (although we caution against using this option too much on our Living in Argentina page.

• How to get the cheapest airline ticket to Argentina?

Despite a couple of remaining lower-cost airline options with regular flights to Argentina, it still costs a pretty penny to get to Argentina.

One of the best ways to save on airfare is to book a flight from a major hub and purchase any domestic tickets separately.

For instance, if you are coming from Portland, book your ticket to Argentina from a hub such as Miami and then book the domestic flight separately.

This works for Canadians too.

Air Canada has flights to Buenos Aires directly from Toronto.

But a traveler from Vancouver or Calgary may discover it makes more sense to fly to Houston or Miami for the international flight to Buenos Aires rather than flying to Toronto and departing from there.

It does vary based on demand and sometimes Air Canada’s prices are competitive with US airlines.

Miami is the number one U.S. hub for flights to Buenos Aires and sometimes there are deals for round trip flights to Buenos Aires from Miami for competitive prices on Cheapo Air.

The same idea applies for Europe — to get the cheapest flight, buy the cheapest ticket to Buenos Aires from one of the continental hubs such as Madrid or London, and then buy the intra-E.U. ticket separately on a low-cost airlines such as Ryan Air, or take the train.

There are also regular direct flights to Buenos Aires from New York, Washington DC, Atlanta and Houston. Iberia and British Airways fly direct to Buenos Aires from London.

If purchasing the various legs of the trip independently, make sure to allow enough time to change flights during layovers.

Layovers Save you Money

Unfortunately the more you are willing to suffer, the less you pay —flights with one or two layovers tend to be far less expensive.

According to a historical analysis of data from Google Flights, direct flights are 20% more expensive than those with just one layover.

There are online tools such as Skyscanner that allow you to see which days have cheaper fares.

There are also newer tools such as WayAway that help you to do a multi-city flight itinerary to take advantage of the layover savings.

It’s true that dates and day of the week does influence cost. Early, mid-week and Saturday fares are lower.

November is known as a ‘dead zone’ in the airline industry — this is a month when flights generally cost less (except for around America’s Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.).

It also happens to be perhaps the nicest month during the height of spring in Argentina —  so if you aren’t sure when to visit, November is a good bet cost-wise and weather-wise.

October and early December are other times when flights cost a little less and are a good time to travel to Argentina.

The day of the week that you travel matters more, but the day you search for tickets is a factor too.

Most airlines tickets sold online are purchased on Sundays, when people are off work and arranging travel.

But Tuesday afternoon is the best time to shop for flights online — this is when discounted fares are released and start making the rounds in the search engines.

If your travel date is close, this does not apply. In that case it’s better to just purchase the ticket as soon as possible.

While some say that you should erase cookies every time you search for flights, the theory that flight prices go up every time a new search is conducted has been debunked.

The reason the cost goes up when you check the same search engine again is simple supply and demand — the tickets are being purchased, so demand is higher.

When searching for tickets to Argentina, you may notice that flights are much cheaper into Rio de Janeiro, Santiago or Montevideo.

It cost more to fly into Ezeiza due to Argentina’s high taxes and strong unions.

If the savings are significant — or you’re someone with more time than money — it may be worthwhile to fly into one of those cities and then purchase another flight to Buenos Aires separately.

You could even take the ferry from Montevideo.

Argentina’s Domestic Airport

The new runway at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) airport in Buenos Aires
The new runway at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) airport. After shutting down the El Palomar airport, the government invested 500 million for upgrades at Newbery. -Photo: courtesy Aeropuertos Argentina 2000

Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery, commonly called Newbery (airport code: AEP) services most of the country’s 30 domestic flights.

It is a short distance north of downtown Buenos Aires and convenient for those staying in the popular Palermo neighorhood.

Argentina’s Domestic Airlines

Aerolíneas Argentinas is the main domestic airlines in Argentina.

It is a state-run airline that has been in business since 1950.

LATAM used to be another major airline that operated domestic flights in Argentina, but they dissolved operations in 2020.

The Chilean airline still operates flights in and out of Argentina, but stopped domestic flights in Argentina during the pandemic.

As long as passengers purchase the tickets at least several weeks in advance, tickets are available to major destination in Argentina such as Mendoza, Cordoba and Puerto Iguazú.

Due to the limited number of flights they sell out fast, so the best advice is to book as far in advance as possible to get the best price.

Those who are flying into Buenos Aires from an international destination and then immediately going to another destination will most likely have to get a transfer from Ezeiza to the domestic airport, Newbery.

When booking internal flights keep in mind that domestic flights get canceled, or have delays more than anyone cares to admit, so tight itineraries should be avoided, especially on budget airlines. Flybondi offers the cheapest flights, but like most budget airlines, doesn’t get rave reviews.

Most domestic airlines allow up to a 15kg checked bag and a carry-on of 8kg.

How to get the best price purchasing flights within Argentina?

To get the best price for flights within Argentina it pays to book them well in advance, either through a local travel agent or online from abroad.

This particularly holds true around Argentina’s vacation periods of December through February, Easter week and the winter holiday month of July, when prices are higher.

Since there are still relatively few internal flights within Argentina, the prices rise as availability goes down and the date of departure nears.

There is not a phenomena of ‘last-minute flight deals’ in Argentina, so plan ahead.

It is particularly expensive to fly to remote areas of southern Patagonia.

While they don’t have many flights, if arranging your own travel it is worthwhile to check out the state-run Lade Airline, based in Comodoro Rividavia.

Norwegian Air Argentina was granted permission to operate flights to 72 Argentine destinations, creating 51 new routes within the country but now their grand plans have been put on hold indefinitely.

For now travelers have Aerolineas Argentinas, Latam, Jetsmart, the Brazilian company Gol and others for flights around South America.

For domestic flights the only choices are Aerolineas Argentinas and the sole survivors among the budget airlines doing domestic flights, FlyBondi and Jetsmart.

From Buenos Aires there are flights available to:

• Bariloche • Córdoba • Iguazú • Jujuy, • Salta • Corrientes: • Mendoza: • Posadas • Tucumán • Santiago del Estero • Trelew • Neuquén

Like most budget airlines, Flybondi is cheap, but not that great. Jetsmart gets even more complaints.

Whether more low-cost airlines will brave enough to reenter Argentina’s domestic market remains to be seen.

Laws such as that requiring the airlines to hire only Argentine pilots, union demands and inflation were already a challenge to the successful establishment of an Argentine budget airline industry.

It should also be noted that the state-run Aerolíneas Argentinas has a two-tier pricing system for internal flights in Argentina.

Citizens and those who have a DNI (resident identity card) get much cheaper flights, and foreigners pay the big bucks.

Some foreigners have found they can get around paying the non-resident price by purchasing flights online for the local price and paying in cash.

See the post ‘Hacking Argentine Air Travel‘ on Gringo Buenos Aires to learn more how this works.

The main tricks are to purchase the ticket online, check-in online, and only take a carry on.

It’s worth a shot for those who think rules were made to be broken, but be aware if you are busted trying to fly on the resident fare you will have to pay the difference on the spot before boarding.

Those who are staying in Argentina have the option to pay for domestic tickets in cash after reserving online.

After booking online, go to Pago Facil or Rapipago with the payment information and your I.D.

These payment services sometimes conveniently offer Western Union and other money transfer services that foreigners are fond of because they pay out rates close to the Blue Dollar.

Get in touch via our contact form if interested in arranging a trip with flight arrangements included — popular destinations are Iguazu Falls, the Andean Northwest, Mendoza and Patagonia.

How to Search for the Best Flight

A good tool to start your search is Google Flights, which is one of the fastest airfare search engines.

This gives you an idea of the availability, airlines that fly your route, and a starting price range.

You can also use the map tool on the upper left-hand pull-down menu to see alternate routes to and from nearby cities and sign up for alerts.

Another great tool from is Google Explore, which lets you set a variety of parameters, such as ‘flights to Buenos Aires in the next three months.’

You can filter by the cheapest fares and once in a blue moon maybe find a cheap mistake fare.

Once you have an idea of the cost and availability of the flight you want, use an airfare search engine retailer such Skyscanner.

Skyscanner doesn’t sell tickets directly and they don’t work with every travel agent and airline.

Once you spot a good deal on Skyscanner it is worthwhile to keep the tab open and check out a few other search engines to compare prices for the same itinerary before purchasing.

Ticket consolidators often have good deals.

Here are a few alternate options:

CheapoAir lives up to its name, with some of the best fares out there. Unlike some larger flight consolidators, they have actually have customer service if you need to call them.

They also specialize in round-the-world deals for those who are doing extensive traveling.

• One Travel is a search engine for cheap tickets that displays prices on a calender

• Jetrader is a good tool because, unlike many other search engines, their searches include budget airlines and their calendar indicates which days have lower cost flights.

Expedia sometimes has good deals, so it’s worth checking out. If there are problems, their overseas customer service can be a pain to deal with though.

Don’t miss your flight with Expedia unless you love talking (and waiting) on the phone  — you’ve been forewarned.

Once you’ve checked out a few different sites, you usually have a good idea of what you will be paying and which websites offer the best deals.

It’s best to go ahead and pull the trigger after searching for an hour or two  — if you wait the price will usually increase, and this is especially true for domestic flights within Argentina, due to its limited airline industry.

Also, buying something online that costs hundreds of bucks is stressful.

It’s easy to prolong the torture searching for a few days, but, once you’ve searched in a few places, it’s unlikely that a lot of anxiety-filled hours waiting on more search results will save you enough money to make up for the time invested.

It’s also worth considering, not just the price of your airline ticket, but the value of it.

Consider the extra costs of travel transfers from far-flung airports, airport food and extra airline fees.

Is it really worth saving $50 to endure a 18-hour layover in a dingy airport?

Are you bringing so much luggage that you will get stuck with high baggage fees on a budget airlines, thereby defeating the purpose of buying a cheap flight?

Will you earn miles and have more legroom if you take a flight that is slightly more expensive on a favored airline?

→ Wander Argentina can help arrange travel around Argentina with customizable itineraries to all the top destinations including Mendoza, Patagonia, Salta and Iguazu.

Flights are arranged free of charge for those purchasing a travel package. Get in touch via our contact form to request sample itineraries.

Do you have any flight purchasing tips that we’ve missed? Let us know on the Wander Argentina Facebook Page or Twitter.

→ Don’t forget to check out our curated list of Buenos Aires City and Day Tours

→ Do you Need Travel Insurance for a Trip to Argentina?

→ Driving and Car Rental in Argentina

→ What to Pack for Argentina?