Hola everyone, this time I will cover a trip I made to Washington DC last December. My workplace's travel agent chose to send me on the direct route, but it gave me the chance to choose between the direct route or one via-SAL. As a avgeek I obviously chose the latter. Thus, my itinerary and thus FRs to be covered are:
AV BOG-IAD (here) AV IAD-SAL (soon) AV SAL-BOG (soon) ———-
Since the flight was departing around 8AM, I had to arrive early to the airport around 5AM. I took a pre-booked taxi to the airport which took me in no time (sure, there was no traffic at all!)
Upon arrival, the AV counters were basically deserted. Other than a couple of pax and me there was nobody else…but a pair of asian third age people who were arguing about their flight with the agents, as far as I could gather from the discussion, they lost their flight as it had left the day before, but they were playing fool to gamble a chance.
The discussion took long and eventually there was this queue, I reckon for another of the US departures of the morning block
Boarding pass in hand I went to the AV lounge, I recently got a Priority Pass card so now I have access to lounges, yay!
Entry to the AV lounge was painless…I expected to have something for breakfast, but this is all I got. Quality was good. But i felt a bit dissapointed. I felt like having something like eggs. But well…
Some other views of the Lounge, I feel somewhat uncofortable taking pictures in lounges as it is somewhat invasive, so these are the inconspicuous pictures I took.
My ride from the Lounge, it's the Airbus at the left.
I later discovered there's a place where you can sleep for a while, a shame I didn't find it before. But well, instead of sleeping I was productive during that time so points for me!
Some people like to stay in the lounge till the very last, I prefer to have a little round checking the local traffic:
Delta's daily 757 to ATL, I'm so glad they've upgraded from the 737 700, besides the AA 757 to Miami (they've downgraded both flights to 738s, from 752 and 763, something's not working with them), a LAN Colombia A320 going to its parking possition east of the international terminal (LAN usually busses their pax to the planes instead of using gates)
Jetblue's A320 to Orlando
My plane, a new-er A319 with sharklets and all!
Along a company A320 in Star Alliance livery
What's all this cargo for?
Ah…the daily A330 to Miami
Boarding was called, the flight didn't seem to be full. Around 80% occupancy as per my eye-meter.
Seat pitch was acceptable, I placed my bag under the seat in front and it didn't feel as I had lost a lot of space. The seat in between me and the aisle was not occupied, favouring space even more.
The plane featured the new seats and new IFE systems, just like on the 787, but the seat covers are in leather and not in fabric as on the widebody fleet. I personally find the leather seats very comfortable.
Mood lighting display
Seems that other than flighing people and cargo across the skies, the A320s are also usefull for the ground services' naps
In no time we were good to go.
Delta's leaving first
BOG is an Airbus domain, with some Boeing intruders
Avianca Ecuador, formerly AeroGal is deploying its planes recurrently in BOG, doing runs to CUR, AUA and PTY, along with GYE and UIO
The new control tower, which came into operation the day after. The former tower was decommissioned this week actually.
The MIA 332 is not ready yet
The control tower with the former Air Force One…
Searca provides aerotaxi services …this is their depot
Take off would be through RWY 13R, as usual for north-bound departures, right besides the airport is Engativa Borough
As we rise over Boyacá Avenue, we can se most of Bogotá's north
The plane began to bank northward over 68th Avenue
And now the view is of Bogotá's west, with BOG in the middle
This part of Bogotá is called Niza
This picture shows how Bogotá comes to a sudden stop and gives way to rural activities such as farming and flower cultivation, Suba Hills serve as a divide between upper class neighbourhoods and less affluent parts of the city
Arrayanes Country Club's golf course and the municipality of Cota in the distance
US-style suburbs are being built around the Bogotá Savannah, sprawling the city and creating more and more traffic to the region's insufficient road network
This zone is called Guaymaral, and it houses Bogotá's general aviation airport
Soon clouds would leave the view nil
The tip of Nevado del Ruiz (without much snow nowadays due to El Niño) can be seen in the distance
The clouds recede and now we can see the mountain ranges of the Eastern Andes Cordillera, with the Central Andes in the distance.
Eventually the Andes come to an end and we are over the plains of the Colombian Caribbean Region
El Gúajaro Reservoir, it has become nearly dry due to El Niño
We're leaving Colombia near Barranquilla
I chose Ted 2 to entertain me…I found it less fun than the first one.
This is the first time I manage to spot a ship sailing the Caribbean
By this time the FAs passed distributing paper Oshibori and in no time we were asked whether we'd like eggs or pancakes for breakfast
The tray as received
Wrong Condor in the cover…
Scrambled eggs, a piece of ham and melted white cheese. Not the best presentation nor a lot, but it was decent enough. It lacked salt, and you must request it from the FA though.
So here the guy serving my row screwed up. I requested a pair of OJ glasses, he took a long time to serve me and came back with two glasses of water. I told him I had requested OJ. He gave me "the look"… vanished, and I guess he decided to punish my insolence by not giving me anything to drink.
Our route took us right over Kingston, Jamaica
We crossed the island in no time and then we were over Cuba
This is Manzanillo, Cuba
Then I fell asleep… I managed to catch this views of the Bahamas, with its stunning blue sea
And then we hit the US over the Carolinas…I was falling in and out of sleep, totally drowsy
At some point we were given a drinks round, and maybe a small sandwich, but my memory fails me because of my drowsy state at the moment.
Awful weather in the Mid Atlantic Region…bummer for views
IAD's ATC tower
Traffic at IAD is rather boring…
Our plane, before boarding the boogey to the Arrivals Building.
We were lucky to arrive before the international arrivals bank from PTY, SAL, CPH and so on… so it "only" took me around 30 minutes to get stamped into the US. I usually get through hassle free, this time I got a lot of questioning about my visit and my job here in Colombia. Then after I picked my bag from the carrousel I was taken into "secondary inspection", which turned my arrival process into an hour's deal. After the CBP finally let me into the US, I went to find a shared ride into DC which took me to my hotel in about 45 minutes.
Bogota - BOG
Washington - IAD
As I've mentioned in previous FRs, I find AV's product to be quite normal. It does have a very good hard product, the IFE programming is a bit lame though, compared to one gets in other airlines. The crew this time didn't get all the cookie points, I won't let go of the OJ fiasco easily.
I found the AV Lounge in BOG to be good, but I expected more of the airline's flagship lounge...but then again, everything is like that with AV. Great ideas, poor execution.
IAD is not my favourite airport, it's a pain in the back to reach it, and the international arrivals process can be really slow.
Thanks for reading, saludos!
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