TAME - Ecuador's Military-Run Airline, A Nice Flying Experience
Dec 11, 2005 (Updated Jul 18, 2006)
Review by Javelina
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Nice aircrafts, nice staff, efficient boarding, bilingual staff, decent food
The Bottom Line: TAME was a pleasure to fly on, and I had a great experience with this airline.
My husband and I booked our one-year wedding anniversary to the Galapagos and Ecuador. We booked through Lindblad Expeditions, which turned out to be a wonderful company. They handled all of our booking and airfare, so everything was set up for us.
Recommend this product?
Our international flights through American Airlines were pretty much a nightmare hassle after hassle, dingy old planes, horrible service, etc. However, it was refreshing when our flights to and from the Galapagos Islands were booked through TAME Airlines, the airline of Ecuador.
TAME is a fairly new passenger and cargo airline, just over 40 years old (founded in 1962). The acronym TAME stands for Transportes Aéreos Militares del Ecuador - yes, TAME is run by the Ecuadorian Military. There are only a few other airlines in Ecuador, including AeroGal and Icaro.
This airline serves the Galapagos as well as other parts of the country. Airports include Cuenca, Quito, and Guayaquil (largest city in Ecuador). There are other airports in smaller towns as well. The one international flight available through TAME is through Cali, Columbia.
- 48 million passengers transported.
- 693,000 flights.
- 471,000 flying hours.
- 228 million kilometers traveled.
- 570 million pounds of cargo transported.
Booking & Fares
As I mentioned, Linblad handled our booking. However, you can book right online at www.TAME.com. The booking system looks pretty simple, although you have to register on their website to book. You can earn frequent flyer miles/rewards after a certain number of flights.
You can also check fares right online. I actually dont know how much our tickets were, but a quick glance online, as well as some Galapaguenos telling us, the fare is about $300 for a round trip ticket from the Galapagos to Guayaquil/Quito.
The website is simple, but I think this is because of the simplicity of the airline mostly domestic flights (other than the one to Columbia), meaning fewer flights and fewer departure times.
The boarding information at the airport for the planes were announced in both Spanish and English (unlike our flight in Miami!). An employee checked our tickets and our passports before we boarded the plane. The boarding procedures were pretty standard. Security seemed usual, and it doesnt hurt that this airline is run by the Ecuadorian military!
One of the big things I noticed about flying on TAME was that we boarded and disembarked through both the front and back of the aircraft. It was really nice, highly efficient, and a heck of a lot faster than squeezing everyone through one door.
The planes seemed fairly new and well-maintained inside and out. They were clean and there were white fabric clothes over the headrests. I think I had better legroom on TAME than I did with any of my American Airline flights (6 legs) on this trip.
We had assigned seats, and there were no problems with seat assignments. The crew was friendly and efficient. The pilot made regular announcements in both English and Spanish about our altitude, destination, temperatures, etc.
The stewards/stewardesses were friendly and bilingual. We had a nice meal and drinks. Our meals were served on trays and were actually appealing on all three flights that I took. I distinctly remember the fresh fruit (white pineapple), fresh salad, a chocolate bar, and a roll. The entrees were meat with veggies on the side. I got my typical orange juice, which was a really tasty pineapple/orange combination. I actually took a picture of my meal if youre interested, e-mail me!
When we left the Galapagos, we flew into Guayaquil, where some passengers disembarked and some new passengers came on board. The flight crew was efficient, and the stopover was very quick. Staff came around with garbage bags to clean the plane and pick up any garbage if we had any.
According to their website, TAME serves 3000 passengers daily. Our plane to the Galapagos was pretty full, and I would probably attribute this to being a) a weekend flight, and b) there are only two TAME flights to the Galapagos per day.
We had no problem with our bags. On the way to the Galapagos, our tour guide (through Lindblad) told us that we needed to limit the weight of our luggage to about 40 pounds per person, which we were worried about. In hushed tones, she explained that lots of people were taking just carry-ons, so we would be fine, since they just average the weight of the luggage. Despite our luggage being slightly overweight, we didn't have any problems.
Although we didn't handle our baggage, our luggage was available quickly, without a lot of waiting around. We were all happy that no one had lost/damaged luggage.
I wasnt sure what to expect with TAME as I was going into this leg of my travels somewhat blindly. I was pleased with both the service and the airplanes. I feel the flights to the Galapagos are reasonably priced, and overall, I was happy to do business with TAME.
Thanks to cr01 for adding this destination to Epinions!
Ecuador Tourism: http://www.vivecuador.com/html2/eng/home.htm
Ecuador is a beautiful country! We absolutely loved every minute in Ecuador and the Galpagos
My related reviews:
Lindblad Expeditions (to the Galapagos)
Hotel Colon Guayaquil
Hotel Hilton Colon, Quito, Ecuador
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
Black Sheep Inn, Chugchilan, Ecuador
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, Cotopaxi, Ecuador
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