Budget Flights are cause for celebration in Argentina, a really, really geographically big country. Photo Source :https://branddazza.wordpress.com/tag/plane/

“Low-cost” flights are just around the corner in Argentina, an eminently sensible turn of events in the world’s eighth biggest country by surface area.

LATAM Airline Group, Latin America’s largest carrier, has announced plans to introduce low-cost domestic flights in Argentina beginning 2017. Fares will be up to 20 percent cheaper, according to a company press release.

The LATAM flights will be offered as part of a new “travel model” that enables passengers to choose the services they want to pay for. This means cheaper flights if you’re happy to travel lean and hungry (which you probably are). Under the new model, you’ll have to pay for luggage check-in, seat-selection, “enjoying a wide range of food on-board,” and ticket cancellation. 

Translated into lofty corpspeak, it means you’ll have the ability to “personalize” your “travel experience,” thereby self-realising your identity as a free agent in (what was until Tuesday at least), an increasingly borderless world.

“Our objective is that fares continue to fall, increasing access to air travel both to more people and to those who wish to fly more frequently. The new travel model seeks to satisfy the needs of today’s passengers, who value fast, convenient and seamless travel, as well as the ability to manage and personalize their travel experience, only paying for the services they require, said Enrique Cueto, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

LATAM Airline Group formed in 2012 from the merger of two big aviation companies down south, LAN Chile and TAM Brazil. It’s had a rocky couple of years, partly influenced by Brazil’s economic woes, though it has bounced back in 2016. The new “travel model,” to be launched in all six of the domestic markets in which LATAM operates, is part of a “global strategy to make the group more efficient, innovative and flexible.”

The news also raises another important question. Will it bring an end to the awkwardly-reclining beds and numerous wheat based foods of the current king of Argentine transport, the long-distance omnibus?

Wheat and Seat, the Argentine Omnibus Experience
Wheat and Seat, the Argentine Omnibus Experience

LATAM thinks so. They anticipate a sharp rise in air travel per capita,  projecting that passenger numbers on domestic routes will increase by as much as 50 percent by 2020.

The company has certainly done it before. Over the last 10 years, it increased flight traffic from 3 to 10 million passengers per yer in Chile.

It’s surely a good thing. In a country as big as Argentina (over 3,500km long) it just never made sense to rely on four earthbound wheels as a means of moving about.