Welcome to another Aeroplan adventure! This time, it’s off for a quick jaunt to Chile with Air Canada and Avianca.
Here’s the rundown
AC962 YYZ-BOG 3/14/2016 - Here AV97 BOG-SCL 3/14/2016 - Here AV98 SCL-BOG 3/16/2016 - You are here AC963 BOG-YYZ 3/16/2016 - Coming soon
After an all-too-early wakeup call at my hotel in Santiago, I grab a cab out to the airport, making it there in about 20 minutes, getting me to the airport about 70 minutes before scheduled departure time for my flight.
SCL is pretty quiet at this hour of the morning, and it’s easy enough to find the Avianca check-in counter. Check-in takes just a few minutes, although to my disappointment, my boarding passes to Bogota and onwards to Toronto are printed on paper, rather than any kind of Avianca card stock. Pity.
Customs and security are equally quick and painless, and within about 20 minutes of my arrival, I’m finding my way towards Avianca’s lounge in Santiago, which is hidden away down a floor from the main concourse. Not exactly a grand entrance at this outstation.
My boarding pass is quickly scanned, and I’m inside. This is a very small lounge, and it’s quite packed, what with a widebody leaving for BOG in a little less than an hour. It’s a small room with seats and tables, and central buffet area. I fail to find a plug. But at least the WiFi is doing well.
The breakfast-time buffet is less than inspiring, and some items are still wrapped in plastic. But there are a few sweets, some breads, cereal, fruit, and sandwiches.
I grab a few choices — a croissant with ham and cheese, and a bun with some other sort of processed meat and cheese, and a very nice lemon meringue tart, accompanied by some pineapple juice. Nothing special, but it’s good enough to keep ,me tided over until breakfast on the plane.
As I’m finishing it, an agent comes through the lounge, announcing the flight is ready for boarding, so I pack up my kit, and end my ever-to-brief stay at this lounge, and make the short walk to the gate, where our ride up to Bogota awaits us.
A few minutes later, boarding is called, and I’m on my way home.
Flight: AV98 From: Santiago (SCL) To: Bogota (BOG) Date: 3/16/2016 Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Registration: N782AV Seat: 4K ATD (STD): 08:00 (07:53) ATA (STA): 11:03 (11:30)
For this flight, I’m in seat 4K, in the second-to-last row on the starboard side.
Controls and ports are along the outside wall of the pod, with a storage space for the included headphones in front.
Here’s a detail I neglected to mention on the flight down — when I first spotted this aise-side feature, I assumed it was, like many other such configurations, a pull-up armrest that needs to be stowed for takeoff and landing.
Nope. Not so much. It’s a nice little bit of storage — too small for a laptop, probably, but good for hiding a way a decent bit of gear for your flight.
As one would expect with a flat-bed seat, legroom is not an issue.
Once again, blanket and pillow are bundled together, with a sewn-in red ribbon tied in a bow around the blanket. The blanket is very good, light but fairly warm, and very soft. The pillow is not great, but does the job.
Service begins with water or orange juice — no sparkling wine on this early-morning flight.
And then flight attendants come by in short order with the menu, a little storage bag, and an amenity kit — quite a haul for a six-hour flight.
The menu, once again, is the full menu for every Avianca business class flight. Here’s this morning’s choice.
Huh. So if you don’t feel like cereal, you have a choice of egg product with cheese, ham, potatoes and tomatoes, or egg product with cheese, ham, potatoes and tomatoes. Alright then.
The mysterious fabric bag. Not sure what it’s for, but based on size, I suspect a shoe bag.
The amenity kit disassembled. Again, I appreciate the presence of a pen in this setup, even if I don’t really need it on this flight since I’m just connecting in Colombia.
The sun is starting to rise beyond the two hometown birds next to us.
Boarding is done quickly enough, the safety video rolls, and we push back as the sun continues its ascent.
The view to the left of our gate, where our twin in LAN colours is being prepared.
It’s a short taxi, and pretty soon we’re lining for takeoff, and into a beautiful early morning sky over Santiago.
I pull out my screen and explore the IFE offerings. To my disappointment, it’s a different set of movies on this flight than on my way down, so I won’t be able to “finish” Carol, which I was watching on the way down but fell asleep through the last half-hour of. Curses! Why must I always fall asleep during movies on planes? I select a movie called Legend, the story of the 60s London gangster twin brothers, the Cray Boys. It’s decent.
Once we begin to level off, a hot towel is offered. Again, it’s a small, thin, cheap hot towel, but it does the job.
They don’t mess around with getting you fed on Avianca. Pretty much as soon as the hand towels are collected, the trolley comes through with breakfast, all offered together on one tray. The fruit is okay, particularly the pineapple. The omelette dish is tasty, and not quite as generic as many airline omelettes, but again, I find the meal size on Avianca a little on the small side, especially given there’s nothing else to this breakfast than what you see.
Okay, so there’s one more thing. I can’t resist requesting an espresso. It’s very good.
After breakfast dishes are cleared, which is very quickly. water bottles are distributed. Here, mine basks in the blue-tinged sunlight streaming in through the partially-dimmed windows.
It’s worth mentioning that the crew clearly has control of those shade, and wasn’t shy to use it, turning the shading up and down at various points throughout the flight.
With my movie over, I check in on the moving map, and see that we’re on our way.
Aside from maybe dozing a few short minutes, I stay awake through the whole thing, and I’m very proud of myself for it. But now it’s time for a nap, because I’m pretty tired, and I really don’t want to sleep on my Bogota-Toronto flight to try to make sure I’m able to sleep when I get home late at night.
I succeed in getting a good nap in, and as I wake up, the lights are coming up, and there are sounds that sound like a trolley coming down the aisle. Sure enough, the flight attendants are handing out some sort of snack item, it seems. What a pleasant surprise!
The snack isn’t huge, but the mozzarella cheese wrap is tasty, melty, and quite satisfying. It’s appreciated, since I know from experience now that there’s not exactly a smorgasbord awaiting me in the lounge at El Dorado. The dessert is also tasty, and the little snack morsels — not sure how also describe the Achiras — are fine too.
I put on the first episode of the HBO series Silicon Valley to watch for the rest of the flight. By the time the dishes from the snack are cleared, we’re into our descent, although still well above the clouds.
Soon, though, we break through over the rugged territory outside Bogota.
Here’s a look across the cabin as our descent continues.
Getting closer to El Dorado.
And finally, we arrive, touching down and we rapidly desecrate, bringing this pleasant ride to an end.
An Avianca A320 we pass on our taxi.
A look down the terminal, with a couple of LAN Airbii upfront.
Finally, we come to a stop next to another AV A320, the seatbelt signs are turned off, and we’re free to go about our journey.
I’m wished a fond goodbye, and quickly released into the terminal. One last look out the window at my beautiful ride this morning.
From here, it’s a short walk to transit security, which is very quick, and I’m up an escalator and off to find the Avianca lounge to get online and hang out for a bit while my plane home arrives from Toronto.
We’ll pick the story up there.
Thanks for reading!
Avianca VIP Lounge
Santiago - SCL
Bogota - BOG
Another very good flight with Avianca. The hard product on the 787 is really good, and service was fine, especially good considering the language barrier that exists.
While I was less than thrilled with the quantity of the catering after breakfast, the quality was good, and after the late-in-flight snack, I was quite satisfied with the food offerings on this flight.
All in all, I’d recommend AV’s 787 experience pretty heartily. It’s a very solid business class product.
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