Flight-Report

Review of Avianca flight Bogota Washington in Economy

Airline Avianca
Flight AV 246
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 05:30
Take-off 02 Dec 15, 08:15
Arrival at 02 Dec 15, 13:45
AV   #59 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 63 reviews
Chibcha
By 1792
Published on 20th January 2016
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.
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The discussion took long and eventually there was this queue, I reckon for another of the US departures of the morning block

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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…
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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.
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My ride from the Lounge, it's the Airbus at the left.
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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)
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Jetblue's A320 to Orlando
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My plane, a new-er A319 with sharklets and all!
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Along a company A320 in Star Alliance livery
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What's all this cargo for?
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Ah…the daily A330 to Miami
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Boarding was called, the flight didn't seem to be full. Around 80% occupancy as per my eye-meter.

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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.
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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.
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Mood lighting display
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The view
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Seems that other than flighing people and cargo across the skies, the A320s are also usefull for the ground services' naps
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In no time we were good to go.

Delta's leaving first
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BOG is an Airbus domain, with some Boeing intruders
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Avianca Ecuador, formerly AeroGal is deploying its planes recurrently in BOG, doing runs to CUR, AUA and PTY, along with GYE and UIO
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The new control tower, which came into operation the day after. The former tower was decommissioned this week actually.
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The MIA 332 is not ready yet
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The control tower with the former Air Force One…
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Searca provides aerotaxi services …this is their depot
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Take off would be through RWY 13R, as usual for north-bound departures, right besides the airport is Engativa Borough
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As we rise over Boyacá Avenue, we can se most of Bogotá's north
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The plane began to bank northward over 68th Avenue
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And now the view is of Bogotá's west, with BOG in the middle
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This part of Bogotá is called Niza
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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
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Arrayanes Country Club's golf course and the municipality of Cota in the distance
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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
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This zone is called Guaymaral, and it houses Bogotá's general aviation airport
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Soon clouds would leave the view nil
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The tip of Nevado del Ruiz (without much snow nowadays due to El Niño) can be seen in the distance
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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
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El Gúajaro Reservoir, it has become nearly dry due to El Niño
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We're leaving Colombia near Barranquilla
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I chose Ted 2 to entertain me…I found it less fun than the first one.
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This is the first time I manage to spot a ship sailing the Caribbean
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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
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Wrong Condor in the cover…
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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.
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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
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This is Manzanillo, Cuba
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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
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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
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Smooth touchdown
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IAD's ATC tower
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Traffic at IAD is rather boring…
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Our plane, before boarding the boogey to the Arrivals Building.
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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.
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Verdict

Avianca

7.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering6.5

Avianca Lounge

7.2/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi9.5
Services7.5

Bogota - BOG

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Washington - IAD

9.1/10
Efficiency6.5
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

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!

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 161723 by
    SMilano 1266 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this nice FR !

    Look like a super long flight with a small A319 ! But it looks finally quite confortable with a good cabin from AV.

    Never been to Bogota but looks like a huge city !!

    Nice aerial views :)

    IAD isn't my favorite airport too, totally agree with your comment.

    See ya soon for the return. Saludos!

    • Comment 338289 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 425 Comments

      I didn't really mind doing this flight on a narrowbody, I wouldn't be mad if it were on a 787 or A330 though!

      Bogotá is pretty big indeed, we're about 9 million people in here, you just saw a quarter of it, other FRs by me show other parts of the city.

      Thanks for passing by!

  • Comment 161764 by
    ashleyyau 211 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report with nice pictures!

    I like the AV Lounge interior design (in bright color) and makes it looks modern. But it does not have hot food items?
    The new AV livery on a new A320 looks beautiful^^ Good seat pitch and the IFE seems impressive. It should be the same model with CX.
    The size of breakfast looks a bit small. IMO the crew on your side was very bad. He should notify you no OJ…

    Look forward to next report!

    • Comment 338290 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 425 Comments

      I didn't find hot food...what I served for me was basically the most wholesome thing I found for breakfast.

      Yep, AV's hard product is pretty much up to date with big players...shame their soft product isn't at the same level

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Comment 338291 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 425 Comments

      I found it really funny...it breaks in a way with the monotony of some flights.

      Compared to what I've got on DL on the shorter flight to ATL, it's really cheap.

      Indeed, I guess AV is having problems with their FAs, it wasn't so bad a few years ago.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Comment 161783 by
    KL651 TEAM 4374 Comments

    Thanks for the FR.

    Funny that you had catering with the AR logo, I wonder if it's a one-off mistake.

    The tray looks really empty with only a hot item and fruits, a yoguhrt or a croissant would be a necessary addition.

    Seems AV crew are it or miss. A recent FR in J class showed a mediocre crew as well.

  • Comment 161823 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Nice spotting shots from BOG!

    I'm glad you got one of the newer birds. The cabin looks clean and modern with a good IFE system.

    The portion size of the meal looks quite small.

    Great aerial shots!

    Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 161840 by
    767 traveller 46 Comments

    Hi great report, thanks for sharing!

    I'm glad that you had a nice flight with AV. I took the same flights but in reverse order and found the Salvadorian crew to be much friendlier than the Colombian crew.
    The meal looks a bit on the small side and the crew's attitude doesn't seem right as well.

    I agree that AV has ideas and could be a great airline, but they just don't seem to get key details right!

    Saludos desde Peru!

    • Comment 338293 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 425 Comments

      I've always found TACA crews nicer, either from SAL or from LIM. But some crews from Colombia are also nice.

      To be fair, this bloke was a fluke in what has been a consistent treatment I've got from AV, in most times they're nice. Not as nice as crews from AF, DL or LH I've had, but they've done their job nicely.

      Saludos!

  • Comment 162065 by
    jetsetpanda 2295 Comments

    Gracias Chibcha por compartir este reporte.

    A pleasant flight on AV despite the hipcup in service. I would ring the call button after a while if the FA did not appear with the O.J.

    The eggs look dry. Good thing that you had a piece of melted cheese and ham to accompany it. Was that supposed to be queso frito?

    Great aerials on your dept. from BOG.

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