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.
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.
The Kolashampán campaign also failed at the lounge. This is the best I could get there…food offerings were awful.
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.
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.
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.
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
The terminal building with the Lima-bound A330, and the gorgeous San Vicente (?) volcano in the background
A company A321 landing
The smallest guy in the AV mainline fleet the ATR
Aeroman's facilities with Southwest planes and an Azul A330
The Terminal Building
The Unused 16/36 Runway
US Coast Guard base
While we gained altitute we were granted awesome views of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua which was my IFE for the flight
The Lempa (?) River
Final views of El Salvador
The Gulf of Fonseca
Now over Nicaragua
This should be Chinandega
Close in to the San Cristóbal (?) volcano
This either Lake Managua or Nicaragua
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.
Then the viewing show was thwarted by clouds over Costa Rica, I really wanted to see San José from above.
The afternoon lights were lovely, by this point we must have been over Panamá…but they meant the show was about to be over
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.
Avianca VIP Lounge
San Salvador - SAL
Bogota - BOG
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!
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