After arriving in SAL which is officially known as Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport since March 2014, I made my way to the new AV Lounge by gate 8. Back when the lounge was TA, it was a dreadful space with little amenities and non-existent catering. This time I was pleasantly surprised by the contemporary design and smart allocation of space.
Upon entering there is a desk staffed with several agents and right after that there is a big seating area.
When you turn left you will access the WC's and showers followed by a children's playroom.
There is a corner with a buffet and a set up with disposable and metal utensils on the opposite side. .
Computer room in the back.
View of the lounge from the back.
I had a very short 45 min. connection so I quickly inhaled my food and walked to the gate.
The gate was full and boarding has not commenced, so I did some airplane spotting.
Meanwhile back at gate 6 some crew members were already boarding the plane. The customary greeting of kissing on the cheek was in full force.
Passengers requiring special assistance were boarded first followed by J pax. For this segment I bid for an upgrade online and was confirmed at 72 hrs. before dept. However, when I called for a seat assignment, I was informed by the agent that they were unable to assign anything at the time and to try during web check-in within 24 hrs or at the airport. It seems strange that AV would block the seats at more than 24 hrs. before dept, but to each his own. Anyways when I checked online I had no problem getting a window seat in the last row and there were still a couple of open seats in the J cabin.
A pillow and blanket were on each seat. Once I sat down I noticed a footrest. Pitch was decent.
Pre-dept. drinks were offered consisting of water or orange juice. I had the orange juice and it tasted very artificial. This was followed by another FA distributing arrival forms.
Finally when everyone boarded the door closed and we taxied to the runway. I took advantage of my window seat to do more plane spotting.
Some vestiges from the past.
Good bye SAL.
Once we leveled off the service started with hot towels.
The FA addressed everyone by name and by the time she reached my row she asked if I would like the omelette. Either there was no choice for this short flight or the other option ran out. However there was a choice of breakfast breads from the basket.
The fruit plate was sweet.
Decent omelette served with potatoes and sausages.
The bread pretended to be a "croissant" but it was not. At least it was served warm.
I asked for tea to accompany my breakfast. AV only offers black or chamomile tea. After the meal service the FA went back to the galley and soon we were getting ready for descent in SJO.
Nature is everywhere in Costa Rica.
Taxiing to the gate.
Immigration and Customs were practically empty and I got out of there in no time.
Avianca VIP Lounge
San Salvador - SAL
San Jose - SJO
A 45 min. connection sounds tight and even risky, but thankfully SAL is a small and compact airport so this worked very well.
The AV Lounge is a huge improvement over the former TA lounge. It's well designed with smart use of space and the catering is decent, although dishes should be replenished more frequently from my experience. I did not see any hard liquor except for beer in the refrigerator. My visit was in the the morning and for a very short time so perhaps liquor is brought later during the day.
FA's were friendly and smiling. I appreciate that I was addressed by name. Catering was solid for a flight of this length.
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