Hey everybody and welcome to my latest flight report! This time, covering a direct flight between Porto Alegre and Lima.
As a real AvGeek, I have always dreamt about flying some rare birds, though I never had the chance. In Brazil, we mostly see - and fly - the common ones: 737s, A320s, Embraers… so at the beggining of this year I decided it would all be different on my winter vacations. I bought a ticket to Lima, Peru, so I could make an aviation tour by there. Peru, along with Venezuela and possibly Colombia, has the rarest and oldest aircrafts in South America. Of course I could go to Africa or North Korea and attain an even higher level, but that would go waaaay beyond my tight budget. Well, ticket buying was quite easy, though Avianca's website is not the most modern nowadays. I got the roundtrip for fair BRL1299.08, or USD335.06 in current (July 12, 2018) values. This POA-Lima route may seem strange. Why the hell does a Colombian airline fly between a secondary city in Brazil and the capital of Peru? Well, this flight was originally operated by TACA Peru, a TACA Group affiliate, since December 2009; TACA Peru had a modest hub in Lima, with connecting possibilities to Central America, northern South America and also North America. TACA merged with Avianca Group in 2010, and not only they mantained the hub, but they increased operations there.
The flight to Lima is one of the first departures of the day in Porto Alegre, so I arrived early at Avianca's check-in counters. It's important to say they separate domestic counters from the international ones. For this day, they had two open counters for my flight. I waited for some ten minutes in the queue. It would had taken way less, but a family spent their whole time being attended. When my time arrived, I was attended by a cordial bloke. In like one minute I had my boarding pass in hands!
Some months ago Fraport took over Porto Alegre airport, and there is already work in progress. Still nothing different from what I've shown in previous reports, though, so I didn't mind taking photos of the terminal. The only difference is now we have a wi-fi connection, which is free and fast. Way to go, Fraport! Testing the connection a little bit…
As I still had some spare time, I went to the second floor for taking some coffee.
Passing by the safety check and customs was fast, in no more than ten minutes I was ready at my gate.
At 05:43AM, that is, 27 minutes before departure time, boarding was started.
This day, we would fly with N520TA, a ten years-old A319, delivered in September 2007 for TACA.
Psychodelic view from the gate ;-)
Avianca's configuration in the A319 is really good: 12 seats in Business class (2-2 recliner configuration) and 108 in Economy. Hope someday I can go Business on this flight! For my surprise, N520TA has no personal entertainment. A shame, but that's how it works sometimes… during the boarding, the ceiling screens promoted some brands and also some Avianca destinations, like Aruba and Havana. This time, load was quite high: 6 passengers on Coach and 90 in Economy, making for 80% of occupation. Boarding was finished at 05:58AM.
View from my seat
At 06:04AM we were pushed back. As traffic was really not much, at 06:15AM we took-off.
Fastly we surpassed the haze layer that covered Porto Alegre that day, showing us the pretty pre-dusk sky.
At 06:20AM the screens were again turned up, showing five minutes of advertisements and then starting a movie, which I don't know if it was good or not. You know, these days nobody cares about entertainment on the overhead screens. In some minutes the sun was beautifully shining on the other side of the plane.
It took too much time for the catering service to be started. I was really hungry! It was only 08:06AM when the FAs started serving the passengers. At 08:18AM, it was finally my time. There were two options of hot breakfast: omelet and spinach pie. I chose the omelet, that came along with a little bread and a tiny fruit salad. The omelet was tasty: there was cheese and ham in it, though inside it was not as hot as expected. For drinking, the options were Coke, water, orange juice, peach juice and also coffee. I chose a Coke and a coffee. Coffee was good, but really weak: in Brazil, we call this "chafé", which stands for tea (chá) and coffee (café). Overall, the presentation was also very good, with a red tray and a paper promoting Avianca in it. Plastic cutlery was hard to use, but as soon as you learned to use it, it's alright. At 08:28AM, service was ended, with everyone served.
Flight attendants were mostly polite, and attended everyone well. Though none of them dominated Portuguese and most of the passengers were Brazilian (mainly in this period of Winter, with the scholar vacations), they handled pretty well the Portunhol when communicating. Anyway, possibly because of the flight hard time, they didn't seem that happy…
The aircraft was very clean. The toilet was well-mantained (A320's standards - honestly, I prefer the E-Jets one, which is way more spacious).
This is a very important photo!
About the seat, it was very comfortable, in a pretty blue leather. But I missed the adjustable headrest! Also, the space between seats was really good, though, as I always say, I'm not tall (5'51 feet).
View from my seat; another movie was passing now.
Besides the screen entertainment, Avianca also offered "Avianca en Revista", a very good magazine, and an entertainment brochure.
The safety card
But the best entertaiment option that day, and that's for sure, was the impressive landscapes we passed by. It was my first time seeing snow and seeing the Andes. I hope I can visit the Andes mountains personally some day! There is so much to see in South America.
Possibly lake Poopó, Bolívia
As the second movie ended, the screen was like that.
Some clouds down there
At 10:35AM (Brazilian time, 08:35 in Lima) we started our descent. The overhead screens passed a video - both in Spanish and in English - showing the passengers how to connect in Lima.
Lima, as far as I read, has simply no sun in the winter. So you'll always see that when you arrive in Peru's capital city.
Mood lighting turned on
At 09:03 (Lima local time) we landed in Jorge Chavez international airport.
We stopped, and on our side there was Avianca's A330 N279AV, in the Star Alliance colors. 279 had just arrived from Guarulhos as AV916 and was getting ready to go to San Salvador, another Avianca hub, as AV928.
When deboarding ended, I took some photos of the cabin.
Bye bye, N520TA! He would now go to México City as AV960.
Intense traffic: CC-BJF coming from Cuzco as LA2010, N684TA (Avianca-TACA merging livery) arriving from Montevideo as AV904 and CC-BAF taking-off to Cancún as LA2458.
And what a cramped airport! Really, it lacks structure for further growth. Besides that, in a little time I passed through customs and was officialy in Peru. My bag, by the way, was the first to be delivered in the carousel!
Now I'd pay a visit to ATSA Perú hangars before going to my hotel… this you'll see in my next report!
Thanks for reading my report and I hope you liked it! If you have any doubts, comments and suggestions, let me know it in the comments.
Porto Alegre - POA
Lima - LIM
Cabin: very clean and fresh. Spacious seats, though I felt they could have a headrest for this kind of flight. Cabin crew: polite and attentive, but they didn't see too happy for me. Entertainment: no AVOD this day, but at least some magazines and tremendous landscapes to see. Meal: very good for a breakfast. The only problem I had was with the temperature of the omelet!
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