Flight-Report

Review of Avianca flight San Salvador Bogota in Economy

Airline Avianca
Flight AV 363
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:45
Take-off 05 Dec 15, 15:15
Arrival at 05 Dec 15, 19:00
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 697
Published on 23rd May 2016
This FR is a follow up to the IAD-SAL flight, as part of a quick visit I made to Washington last December.


Some views of SAL's airside, compared to SJO and PTY is a pretty ugly place, PTY was very alike the first times I went there back in 2002, but it has come a long way. But SAL is as ugly as it is efficient, so I don't mind, since I've never had to spend more than 60 minutes there.
photo dscn0249.photo dscn0250.

So after I got out of the IAD flight, I rushed to see if I could find a store to buy a Kolashampán, El Salvador's national soda. But unfortunately the errand proved pointless. So, I figured out maybe at the AV lounge I could find one.

The Lounge was pretty basic, and without an interesting view. I didn't mind to explore it much because it was mostly filled and I had just secured a seat, so I wouldn't like to lose it.
photo dscn0252.

The Kolashampán campaign also failed at the lounge. This is the best I could get there…food offerings were awful.
photo dscn0253.

For some reason, the IAD flight had arrived a bit late to SAL, so my connecting time was tight. I got to eat that canapé and I was out as fast as I could. On my way to my gate I bought a bottle of Zacapa rum as a birthday gift for a friend who I would meet later that day.

Victim of its own success, SAL is really crowded and tight.
photo dscn0254.

The view of the Gate area…this is the better side of SAL's concourse, with higher ceilings and big windows resulting in an airier ambience. Other gate areas are quite gloomy.
photo dscn0255.

The plane that was going to take me was a former TACA plane, without any cabin renewal. I got to fly in it from Lima to Bogotá in August.
photo dscn0256.

So the downside of these cabins is that they lack PTVs, but those recaro seats sure give you huge legroom.


It was great for me, since I needed to have the most rest during this flight as I was to drive that night. So I didn't mind not having the PTV, and the space is awesome. As occupancy was around 75%, I had the whole row for myself.

The view before being tugged
photo dscn0260.

The terminal building with the Lima-bound A330, and the gorgeous San Vicente (?) volcano in the background
photo dscn0262.

A company A321 landing
photo dscn0263.

The smallest guy in the AV mainline fleet the ATR
photo dscn0264.

Aeroman's facilities with Southwest planes and an Azul A330
photo dscn0265.photo dscn0266.

The Terminal Building
photo dscn0267.

The Unused 16/36 Runway
photo dscn0268.photo dscn0269.

Some hangers
photo dscn0270.

US Coast Guard base
photo dscn0271.

While we gained altitute we were granted awesome views of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua which was my IFE for the flight
photo dscn0272.

The Lempa (?) River
photo dscn0273.

Final views of El Salvador
photo dscn0274.photo dscn0275.

The Gulf of Fonseca
photo dscn0276.

Now over Nicaragua
photo dscn0277.photo dscn0278.

This should be Chinandega
photo dscn0279.

Close in to the San Cristóbal (?) volcano
photo dscn0280.photo dscn0281.

This either Lake Managua or Nicaragua
photo dscn0282.

The crew was cheeful and kind ( I love former TACA crews) I was given my meal with two bottles of Inka Kola. I don't recall what I ordered.
photo dscn0283.

Then the viewing show was thwarted by clouds over Costa Rica, I really wanted to see San José from above.
photo dscn0284.

The afternoon lights were lovely, by this point we must have been over Panamá…but they meant the show was about to be over
photo dscn0285.photo dscn0286.

I fell asleep soon after, and I woke up about 90 minutes later when we were told to prepare for landing. Something weird happened, I did notice we were going quite high for approaching BOG, and then the plane began to circle over Facatativá, about 25 km from BOG. We were provided with an awesome view of Bogotá and its vastness…it was like a huge crater, sorry but my camera is too crappy for decent night photos.

After we landed we were taken to a hard stand, which I thought it meant we were in for a long ride to the terminal, but fortunately it wasn't so. We were quickly bussed to the building. I crossed Immigration quickly, but then, progress was lost waiting for bags (something quite regular in BOG). All in all it took me about 45 minutes to be picked by my friends to begin my roadtrip.
See more

Verdict

Avianca

7.3/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi2.5
Meal/catering8.0

Avianca VIP Lounge

3.9/10
Comfort6.5
Meal/catering3.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Services3.0

San Salvador - SAL

7.3/10
Efficiency10.0
Access5.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Bogota - BOG

8.0/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

AV's hard product is filled with contrasts between the PTV equipped fleet (mostly Avianca Colombia) and the part of it that hasn't been refurbished (mostly Avianca Salvador, Costa Rica and Perú). The positive side of this is that the seats are really comfortable, and the SAL/LIM (?) based crews are sweethearts, I enjoy my flights with them even when I don't have PTV.

San Salvador's airport is a very efficient hub for connections, I love how short they're there. But the place is a dump and it is crying for a renovation, specially if they pretend to compete with PTY.

Avianca's lounge at SAL is really awful when one considers that it is one of its Hubs (not that the ones in BOG are something fantastic) really disappointing in any case.

Thanks for reading!

Related

6 Comments

  • Comment 349583 by
    jetsetpanda 2295 Comments

    Thank you Chibcha for sharing this last segment of your trip with beautiful aerial views along Central America.

    SAL is an ugly airport, but as you said it is efficient. i see that the AV lounge has gone through some renovation judging by the lights on the ceiling. For being a hub it is very lacking and when I visited there under TA it was one of the worst lounges that I have ever seen.

    I agree with you about the TA crew. Most of them are friendly and professional. You were lucky to have the row for yourself.

    Saludos.

  • Comment 349687 by
    767 traveller 46 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report with us!
    I agree that SAL is pretty ugly and too crowded. I see I didn't missed much by not visiting the AV lounge during my layover there earlier this year.
    Nice to have a whole row to yourself and a good crew in your flight!

  • Comment 350040 by
    NGO85 1624 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Chibcha!

    The ex-TA bird looks quite comfortable, but the lack of IFE on a flight of this length is a little disappointing. Reminds me of the older CM planes with decent seat pitch and no IFE. The catering looks pretty good, getting a meal tray is better than just a normal sandwich snack. Glad to hear the TA crews haven't eroded under the AV influence yet.

    Great aerial views on that sunny day during take-off and your cruise over El Salvador and Nicaragua.

    SAL doesn't look very nice, your pictures make it look very congested with a lack of seating areas around the gates.

    • Comment 350296 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 425 Comments

      Well it seems standards in Central America weren't really competitive when TA and CM ruled those skies, fortunately the AV CM competition has made them work towards better standards...I guess.

      TA crews have kept their charm and I hope they remain so...I remember TA's catering to be awesome too, but they have succumbed to AV's bean counters here in Bogotá.

      There is no seating space around the gates, only at the gates....I didn't have enough time to make a decent photo tour of the place...but there isn't much left for imagination.

      Thanks for passing by!

Login to post a comment.