I attended a fun-filled cultural event thrown by Aerolineas Argentinas, Argentina’s national airline in conjunction with the Tourism Board in New York City recently. It was held at the Malbec Wine Bar & Restaurant on Lafayette on the Lower East Side just near Astor Place, an eclectic part of the city with loads of great restaurants, cafes and bars.
What makes the Malbec wine bar unique is its Argentinian charm and flavor throughout. Remember that to be Malbec is to be ever so Argentinian and to be Argentinian is to be ever so Malbec, so it made for a perfect location for Aerolineas Argentinas debut this month announcing the launch of direct flights from New York’s JFK to Buenos Aires.
Starting December 16, 2013, there will be one direct flight a day from JFK and two direct flights from Miami. The departure time from JFK allows for convenient connections from their SkyTeam alliance partners to their flight. The flight will depart at 3:25 pm and arrive the following morning at Ezeiza International Airport at 4:40 am. The arrival time optimizes connections to their 35 destinations in Argentina as well as to important cities in the surrounding countries (Santiago de Chile, Montevideo, Asuncion, and many others).
The flights will be operated using new Airbus 330-200 planes with a state-of-the-art entertainment (audio and video on demand) system and special mood lighting which will change during the flight to enhance the ambiance. The food is prepared by their chef Martiniano Molina.
SkyTeam offers service to 1,000 cities and 187 countries and includes the following partners: MEA, China Eastern, Aeroflot, China Southern, AeroMexico, Saudia, Tarom, Czech Airlines, Delta, Vietnam, XiamenAir, KLM, Korean Air, China Airlines, Air France and AirEuropa.
The event drew a diverse group of people from the travel industry, including travel agents, partner airline reps, travel journalists and writers, hotel and resort managers and owners, and Argentinians who now call New York City their home, or at least their second home.
The man with the fabulous hat? Roger Kuperways, an Argentinian who now lives in New York and does small business coaching, but the more interesting thing I learned is that he teaches tango or something to that extent. In other words, I left the event so wanting to go dancing.
I did get the feeling that many knew each other or perhaps knew the owner of the Malbec Wine Bar & Restaurant Juan Fabbri (below far left).
Of course, they had Malbec on offer to drink and appetizers were passed around while people networked prior to the official presentation from the AerolineasArgentinas team.
Below Argentina’s National Institute of Tourism Promotion for Argentina Ines Segarra and Marcelo William Bottini, the Regional Director of North America, Central America, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador for AerolineasArgentinas.
Below, Marcelo addresses the crowd and sets the stage for the final talk by Ricardo Fernandez, AerolineasArgentinas’ Regional Sales Manager for Northern USA who spoke about the new route, the new planes and of course, the perks.
The team was incredibly busy but I managed to get a whopping 3 minutes with Marcelo before the presentation began.
It’s hard not to love what Argentina has to offer and I haven’t even set foot on its soil yet. The magestic mountains, glorious valleys, fabulous food, the Malbec wines, the energy of the people and of course the passion in their veins, which came through with everyone I met. The event concluded with a tango performance, which the Malbec Wine Bar & Restaurant offers on other evenings as well. Of course, I’d love to come back for a full evening as it’s so easy to see just how fun the experience would be with Juan’s fun-spirited energy behind it.
Argentina has been a high priority on my list for years now and after experiencing yet more of their culture on North American soil, I now feel “it’s about time!” BTW, they had a raffle for two free business tickets from JFK to Buenos Aires and a 3 night stay at a 5 star hotel and I missed it by ONE CARD. I was the next to last card drawn before the grand finale was announced and while I’m certainly not complaining about my beautiful wooden cutting board and knives, I left Astor Place that night dreaming of a flight for two to Buenos Aires with laptop and Canon 7D in hand, ready photograph and write up a storm upon arrival.