Today, Chris and I flew back from Rurrenabaque to La Paz, with the affordable and reasonably-safe Transporte Aéreo Militar (TAM), the "military airline" of Bolivia. Slightly cheaper than Amaszonas, and just as efficient. After going through the experience of catching a plane in Bolivia twice now, I feel I should write up some instructions on how it's done, for anyone else who's interested in using Bolivia's fine commercial aviation services.
- Buy your plane tickets the day before you want to fly, preferably in the afternoon. The only available flight is the 8:30am flight, so take that one. Go in person, and pay in cash (preferably in US dollars).
- Turn up at the airline's office at 7:30am the next morning, as instructed.
- Wait ½ an hour for the airline office to open its doors. Check in your baggage.
- After another ½ an hour, be informed that your flight will be delayed by about 2 hours.
- Find a good café nearby, and have a nice, long breakfast. No hurry.
- Return to the airline's office after 2 hours. Wait another ½ an hour, then catch the shuttle bus to the airport.
- With no further information as to why the flight is delayed, wait another 1½ hours in the airport.
- Finally catch the plane, after a record extremely-short delay of only 4 hours.
- Arrive back in La Paz, 3000m higher than the place you took off from, and almost pass out from lack of oxygen and from the sudden cold.