Hello everyone, this is the FR for the return trip after a couple of days of work in DC, if you want to check the BOG-IAD flight click here
I got picked up by a shared van early in the morning so I could arrive around 8am to check in…I was dropped by even earlier, I thought I was going to have a quick check in and then off to have breakfast in the lounge. Tough luck cowboy, the AV queue was full!
While I was at the queue I heard one of the AV crew that if we had already checked in we could use the bag drop queue. And so, using the airport's free wifi I checked in through the AV App on my phone…I managed to dodge that bullet, yay. Check in was quick, treatment decent and hassle free. I was sent to the airside, because let's be sincere: there's nothing else to do in the main building, in no time.
Saarinen's work is just majestic with this light
Aesthetically IAD is really pleasing, it might be my favourite US airport. It's a shame is so impractical to reach… down to the TSA
TSA was quick and painless…they checked my passport and was spoken to in Spanish, I thought this only happened in FL or the States bordering Mexico, go figure.
After TSA…quick train ride
Isn't it awesome?
I had access to the Galleries Lounge, which was conveniently near my gate.
The place was basically deserted, thus, just for me. Unfortunately for me…no breakfast for me this once. I stayed some time reading a BA magazine, which ended up in my bag, drinking a Spriite and a pair of small bites. Then I went down to check the local traffic.
The A/B Concourse is huge!
CM should adopt this as their main livery, much better than the wannabe UA livery they have since the 90s
ZA A346 with the historic ATC tower
Last time I went to IAD Ethiopian sent 788s, they must be doing really well to upgrade to 777s
And that was basically it with the spotting, because IAD has likely the most boresome traffic ever…then I was off to my gate, where it was obvious the flight was PACKED TO THE GILLS! (well, its December's VFR traffic) mainly with people from all of Central America. I reckon AV would channel South Americans through BOG.
Cabin scene, the A321 feels huge compared to the A319 that brought me to IAD
Seat pitch was perfect…as you see, I had to carry my bag of booze, as a FA requested me to carry it under the seat in front due to the fulll flight
I wonder why I never manage to see more than a pair of UA planes at IAD, isn't it one of its hubs? This was basically its presence at that hour
Taxi to the gate took ages, and thus I fell asleep on the wait. I woke up when take off was announced, our take off pattern allowerd for nice views of the field and suburbia in northern Virginia.
Some views of Virginia and the Carolinas
Around 1h30 into the flight we were given our ration of food…no oshibori before food as on Avianca Colombia flights. I was offered beef or pasta.
Beef turned out to be Bangers and Mash for lunch. It was really good…the amount, as usual nowadays on AV, insufficient. The side salad, was of something I fail to discover what it was, but it tasted really good.
View became clouds…so I'd rather focus on finishing my movie…I don't recall its name but it's the one where this guy crosses the US to find his crush, only to return after being permanently friendzoned.
Bummer, no views of Yucatan
But I managed to see Cozumel!
This meant we were around 50m away from SAL
Eventually the skies cleared and I managed to spot El Salvador
The Lempa River Reservoir (?)
Central America is really pretty with the lakes and volcanoes
This should be….Ilopango city, part of San Salvador's Metro Area
Lake Ilopango? and San Vicente volcano…I guess
El Salvador's single international airport (not that they need more) sitting idle on the shores of the Pacific
Fancy neighbourhoods for North American retirees?
The best view I could get of San Salvador's area
This area looks great for a summer vacation
SAL's approach pattern takes us to the Pacific so we can allign with RWY 07
These cane fields mean your landing is imminent
An US Coast Guard Hercules welcomes us to Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, formerly known as Cuscatlan Airport (check the Azul A330 at Aeroman's hanger)
Views of the Terminal building, with AV's A332 preparing for the SAL-LIM route
Will this be my next ride?
AeroMexico Connect to MEX
Being a totally full flight de-boarding took ages…I had a tight connection, but enough time to do my chores at SAL
Our A321 at the gate, my first time on one of AV's (I managed to score almost all of AV's fleet during 2016, I only missed the A332…bummer)
British Airways Galleries Lounge
Washington - IAD
San Salvador - SAL
Since Avianca's service is nothing extraordinary, why would someone get into a two-flight segment when one could get directly between Washington and Bogotá? Two main reasons my friends: The main one, I'm a total AVGeek, and an extra flight is really cherished, regardless of the service. It also meant a lot of news for me: first AV A321 and a new city pair. The other one, is that even when I had to connect, I would arrive around 2 hours earlier to BOG, which is something I needed so I could have a weekend vacation out of Bogotá.
The plane was comfortable enough, I didn't feel crowded even when the flight was packed. The IFE was appropriate for the flight, and the crew was decent too, much better than on the BOG-IAD flight. Catering was good, pitty for the size.
The Galleries Lounge was OK...I guess, but I resent there wasn't anything hot for me to have breakfast. Not even a bagel!
I like IAD, is a pretty place, it has decent stores, TSA was good...but it is really a pain to reach. A decent and efficient public transport link is needed ASAP (I know the silver line is on its way...but until then I'll score IAD lowly on the access item, let's see how much it will cost BTW)
SAL....well wait for the next report.
Have a nice week and thanks for passing by, saludos!
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