Hey everybody and welcome to my newest flight report!
As you may know from my previous reports, I made an aviation trip to Peru in July. My objective was to fly some rare birds in Brazil… the main objective was the 737-200, or "Breguinha", as the -200 is known in my country. Well, I got it! Here's the routing:
Peruvian Airlines is the second biggest airline in Peru, in terms of domestic traffic, waaaay behind LATAM. It was founded in 2008 and today operates a fleet of more than 10 Boeings 737 of the -300, -400 and -500 series. Today operates in many domestic routes and also to La Paz, in Bolivia. It also plans flying to Chile, Ecuador and Colombia.
This one was one of the most planned flights in my life: Peruvian had only two operating 737-200 at the time, so the ticket I bought would be almost a gamble. After talks with a spotter friend of mine in Lima and much meditation about the matter, I gambled this ticket to Piura.
The day before my flight, while I waited my boarding to Chachapoyas with ATSA (check the report of this flight in the "routing" area above), the 737-200 made the flight to Piura. Obviously, I only would be sure on the boarding gate the next day, but this was already a very good signal.
So finally the day arrived! After a night of very few sleep - the anxiety comes strong these times -, I arrived very very early at the airport. In fact, it was still night. Way before dawn, though, traffic in Lima is very intense, even because of the strong tourism in Peru. Most of the tourists come from other countries.
Anyway, Peruvian's check-in counters were crowded. I waited in the line for approximately 15 minutes until I was attended.
If you still don't know in which airline you're gonna fly today, here's a hint:
The check-in agent treated me with quickness and cordiality. She also printed the boarding pass of the return flight for me, as I asked. I'd try to stay in the aircraft during the turnaround in order for saving time.
Then I immediately got myself to the screening, as I really wanted to know which my aircraft for today would be. Again, screening proccess was crowded, as every single place in Lima Airport, but the queue moved rapidly.
Domestic departures for today. Glad to see my flight was - apparently - on time and the gate was already assigned.
Annnnnd there I was… gate 14. Time to face the truth!
I asked the gate agent if the aircraft for my flight would be the 737-200, and she promptly confirmed. There were few times in my life in which I've been happier than that!
She said, though, that the plane was still on Peruvian's hangar, and was yet to be towed to the gate. The crew for my flight was also waiting.
My boarding pass for this flight.
While our bird didn't arrive, I talked to the captain a little bit, telling him about my aviation trip. He got pretty impressed, and I also asked him for some photos after landing! Of course he agreed. You gotta be lucky to fly one of these classics in 2018, let's not say to pilot one of these!
Estimated time for boarding was 06:30, so I noticed the flight would be delayed a little bit as the time passed. Well, still totally worth any wait! :)
At 06:45 our 737-200 was finnaly brought to the gate. As everything in that day, it was still unbelievable I would fly one of these!
This day I would fly on OB-1954-P (cn. 23188, ln. 1071), which was made in December 1984. She was NTU for USA's Western Airlines, then delivered to China's state-owned CAAC. There, it also flew for China Southern and Xiamen Airlines, until 1994, when it moved to Eastern Europe for flying with Ukraine International. In 2005, it started flying for Indonesia's AdamAir. It finally moved to South America in 2007, when it went to Ecuador flying with Aerogal. 23188 was then stored in 2010. In 2011, it was finally recieved by Peruvian Airlines. A lot of stories to tell, for sure!
What a sweet bird, innit? I think this red livery is proper and classy, fitting the 737-200 just fine.
I was one of the first ones to get in the queue for boarding. While the plane was still being prepared for boarding, everybody got in the queue. Then the gate agent started to tell the passengers, one by one, which part of the boarding pass to show her later; I found this pretty proactive!
Love these custom signs
The flight would leave a little bit late. Finally, at 07:10, five minutes before the estimated time of departure, we were called for boarding. You can imagine how anxious I was for that moment!
That classic angle everyone must take when boarding! I never imagined I would take one of these of a 737-200 in the whole of my life. And there I was… Back there, an Aeroméxico 737-800 departing to Mexico City as AMX49.
A closer look at that iconic engine. I'm not much into engines, but the JT8D is one of the most popular jet engines of all time.
And theeere we go! I was wondering how would be the state of the cabin, considering the aircraft was almost 34 years old.
…and honestly, it was much better than what I expected. Leather seats with adjustable headrests… you don't even see this any many modern aircrafts.
I promptly sat in my seat, 12F. Unfortunately the seats were not that clean, but that's what you can get from an old-school bird like this one! I chose this seat just for watching the back of the engines, that make that "bucket-type" reverse thrust when landing.
We waited a little bit more on the gate for finishing the fueling.
Finally, the doors were closed at 7:32, that is, 17 minutes after the estimated time of departure. The flight was almost full: most of the 120 seats were occupied. Then, at 7:39, we started our pushback and the pair of JT8Ds came into life.
Though I was not in Santiago, I quickly remembered about LATAM's enourmous presence in South America.
After a relatively long taxi due to the intense traffic in Lima, we lined on runway 15. At 07:53, the captain applied full throttle on the engines. Then I finally discovered why the 737-200 is considered "noisy". In fact, during the take-off the sound produced by the engines is very loud. As an enthusiast, though, I can't complain in any way!
In few moments we passed through the thin fog that covers Lima every single day during the winter.
In very few time, more specifically at 08:10, the onboard service was started. Drink options were the classic ones: sodas, juices, water and coffee. The snacks were presented in a Peruvian-branded package. It consisted of a tiny bread with ham and a little cake of something that looked like corn with chocolate. Not any gourmet experience, of course, but it was great for a domestic flight. To drink, I took a coffee and a Coca-Cola.
The appearance was not marvellous, nor the taste. But as I said before, for a domestic flight, it's great. Even more when you consider that the Peruvian market is very competitive, with other carriers offering nothing for free.
After that, I asked for more Coke and coffee. The flight attendant that served me was not very happy.
The only entertainment option was an airline magazine which was not marvelous. Of course for a short flight it was ok. Anyway that's what I expected for a short flight in a 737-200, you know.
Then I started to explore each detail of this classic airplane. The seats could pass the image of a new airplane, but after all, it's impossible - thankfully - to hide completely the signs of the time!
Reading lights panel. Very 80s-like. Sweet!
The new fabric of the seats is put with velcros over the original seats. A good, simple and best of all, cheap idea.
Emergency instructions available in the galley
The bathroom was clean; nothing that seemed old, it's just like the regular 737NG/A320 bathrooms we see everyday. Anyway, let's take a look.
And of course I couldn't help but take one of these in the mirror!
Overview from the back of the cabin. One interesting detail is that the 737-200 has only one galley, and not two, as we're used to. It is localized in the front of the cabin.
Also I talked to the leader FA, which was way more happy than the two others, which unfortunately didn't seem to be too motivated.
Legroom was good for me, but as I always like to say, I'm 1.68m tall (5.5ft).
There was not much flight time left, so I took some time to enjoy the ride without many photos.
Boy, this wingview is neat!
Yeah, it didn't take too long, really. At 8:46, we started our descent to Piura. Weather there was virtually the same as Lima's; overcast. At 9:01, we passed through the 10,000 feet mark.
At 9:14 OB-1954-P touched its wheels in Piura, bringing one of the moments I waited for the most: the reverse thrust setting of the JT8Ds - I wasn't in that exact seat for nothing, you know. The sound was astonishingly loud. Fantastic!
Piura Airport is small, so in a few moments we were already parked.
After everyone deboard, I went to the cockpit to photograph it. Honestly, those big screens of the modern aircraft are cool, but this load of analogical clocks are class, don't you agree?
I talked a little bit with the pilots, who really appeared to be proud on flying such a classic.
I asked not to deboard, since I would return to Lima. They allowed me after the flight attendant warned the ground agent about my situation.
Meanwhile, I took some photos of the aircraft interior.
The cabin was actually really good for an almost 35 year-old frame.
The FAs communication system was also a nice - and very classical - touch.
I asked to leave the aircraft for a bit to take some photos, but the chief FA just allowed me to stay on the top of the stairs. Fair enough.
Piura Airport tower and terminal.
Each detail of the 737-200 still amazes me.
Preparations for the next flight.
And that's how my experience in a 737-200 was. It was a great day which I will take with me forever. Honestly, it was a great experience. Now there aren't any 737-200s flying in Peru anymore, but I highly recommend you to find somewhere in the world which still operates this bird and give it a try. You won't regret, and unless you are a really boring person it will be worth every single cent you spend.
Thankfully we arrived in Lima on time, so I didn't really had to rush to my gate. Now I would board to Huánuco for flying in LC Perú's Q400…
What an amazing flight - and I'm pretty sure I would say that even if Peruvian's flight experience was terrible. It was not. In fact, really a domestic standard experience I would say. I believe you won't see many differences when flying with other carriers in Peru. Plus, even though now they don't fly the 737-200s, they fleet is now composed exclusively of the Classic 737; so, instead of flying with LATAM or SKY, give Peruvian a chance. I think you won't regret.
Cabin: surprisingly fresh for an old bird like this one. Pretty comfortable leather seats. Of course I wouldn't expect it to have AVOD screens, etc.
Cabin crew: apart from the leader FA who was REALLY nice, the others seemed quite unhappy... a shame, otherwise it would definitely a 10.
Entertainment: Peruvian's own magazine. Again, I wouldn't expect wi-fi or other ammenities, so it's ok.
Catering: the regular soft drinks and coffee. That tiny cake was ok, but I imagined they would give a bigger portion of food.