In my country you might hear old people say something like:
Thank you for cleaning my garden for free, my dear. You are worth a Peru.
Yes, Peru became a synonym of huge riches. So, someone who's "worth a Peru" is someone you deeply value or appreciate.
Flight reporters also have reasons to appreciate Peru.
For one thing, you can fly "vintage".
Here's an example:
Peruvian Airlines started operations in 2009 and only flies domestic routes at the moment.
For years I have read here and there that they are planning to increase their number of international destinations, including my local SCL, but it seems like the gods of aviation have ruled against.
Their only international destination until last year was La Paz, Bolivia, but in November they had an accident at that very airport. According to aviation-safety.net, "the aircraft landed on runway 10 at La Paz-El Alto Airport and when the main landing gear collapsed it came to rest on the runway with the nose landing gear and both engines contacting the ground."
This accident, plus the retirement of their two 737-200 last year, reduced their fleet to barely eight aircraft, which has affected their ability to keep up with their scheduled flights, as you'll see in this and my next report on Peruvian Airlines.
By the way, lucky member joaointhesky flew on one of those 737-200 last year and wrote an exceptional report that you shouldn't miss! Can you believe that he flew the first leg of the trip, stayed on board the plane during the turnaround, and flew back on the same plane?! And you thought you were passionate avgeeks! XD
Purchasing my ticket
Delays? Old planes? Collapsing landing gear?
How could I say no! :D
Just to make sure I'm choosing the correct airline, I check the punctuality record for flight P9 2710 on flightradar24.com.
Let's go to their website.
Oops! Something broke. But this screen shows that their server runs on Linux. Wow! We are in the same team. Whenever I buy a new laptop I love to sweep Windows away and replace it with Ubuntu, LinuxMint, or any other wonderful Linux distribution. <3 In this case, they use the distro called CentOS, which is designed for servers (though you can also install it on a laptop or desktop and then install a desktop environment like Gnome or KDE) My favorite desktop environment is LXQT. It's light and fast. (End of offtopic. LOL)
After a reload I enter my dates and route. Red and white are Peru's national colors, in case you didn't notice it.
The search brings up one flight for each day, with three different fares. The problem is that no specific information about luggage allowances is given. There's no info on what fares allow for seat selection. Just the prices. I click on the + sign on the right…
…but the information about seats or luggage is not here, either. I fear a bad moment at the check-in counter.
Well, I think I'll do the same thing that the world governments have been doing with the humanitarian crises in Oman or Syria: shrug it off.
I pick the cheapest fare for both legs. I'm asked to enter my personal info. They are incredibly well prepared for foreign customers! All the information about the administrative divisions of my country - even some recent changes - are there.
I'm informed that I'll be given an electronic BPso I don't need to print it…
…and I'm presented with a summary of my itinerary and a plethora of paying methods.
Choosing my seat
Check-in was supposed to be available 48 hours before ETD, but I try and try and keep receiving the message that it is too early. Only minutes before 5 p.m. on Monday 8 - as I'm sitting at SCL waiting for my gate to open for my flight to Arica - I am finally able to check in using my cellphone.
Here comes the exciting part of the process. I have been assigned a random seat by Peruvian - 19E. How horrible! But the shiny red button under the seat number reads "CHANGE SEAT"!! Woo - hoo!! I click on it immediately and, Oh holy day!, 19F is available! No screenshots of the change because I wasn't willing to lose this chance for nothing in the world.
They ask for my personal information…
…and it's done. I'll be sent my BP via email.
I am checked in.
Something unbelievable happens to me. I - the meanest flight reporter ever seen - take a taxi to the airport! And I don't care about the price! How did that happen?
It turns out that almost everything - especially food and transportation - is extremely cheap in Peru. You can eat wonderfully for 5 - 10 sols (1.5 - 3 USD) at a restaurant, move around the city on a bus for 1 sol (0.30 USD), or ride a taxi around Tacna for 4 sols (1.2 USD)!! The ride to the airport - 5km from the city - is 12 sols (3.5 USD)
Coming from Chile - where we earn third-world wages but pay for everything as if we were in Dubai - this is paradise!
TCQ is conveniently located by a main road.
It's named after a colonel of the air force (FAP = Fuerza Aérea del Perú)
The guard gives the driver a ticket. The car can stay only five minutes at the airport.
As we follow this other taxi…
…I am impressed by the modern looks…
…of the terminal.
TCQ was modernized as recently as 2014.
Arrivals is over there at the far end…
…and departures is right here.
No need for air conditioning. The weather is wonderful and nothing like a lot of fresh air.
What Peruvian drama queen wrote this sign?! Keep off the grass would have done the trick, but they went a little further.
"I am growing. Don't hurt me, PLEASE!" They forgot "Don't talk to me. I want to be a-lawn."
…Viva Air passengers are checking in.
Peruvian's counter is still lonely and quiet.
Viva Airlines baggage allowance. 10kg free cabin luggage. Not bad!
Giving a good image to always controversial cellphone antennas.
Plenty of ATMs.
A video plays with information…
…about your righs as passengers.
A lot of emphasis is given to the topic.
You can send your complaints to the aviation authority.
In another corner of the hall…
…and more info…
…about your rights.
Good thing that I took these photos. I will need this information in a subsequent flight!
With a lot of time to kill, let's go outside.
The weather is nice and balmy all year long.
This blue canopy must be intended to protect from the sun, not the rain. It hardly ever rains here.
…the FIDS doesn't have much work.
Tacna is well connected for such a small town, though. The country's geography makes air travel indispensable. The bus ride to Lima takes about 20 hours!
Poor design? Going through the duty free is not mandatory at TCQ. You can get to security check along this corridor…
…that goes around the duty free area…
…which is there on the left.
You see? Duty free is on the left…
…and security check is on the right.
But for the lack of seats (people have been gathering) I'll sit on the floor next to that wall outlet for a while. There are phone chargers but all of them are busy.
About 12 the counter is still closed, but someone is working in it.
Lots of noise! Drill, electric wood cutter, etc.
At last! They open exactly two hours before STD.
These things explode, afaik.
Peruvian's cabin baggage allowance is two kilos below that of Viva Air.
Survival of the fastest.
So I'm Nelso now.
But this is when Peruvian's curse strikes. The counter staff shyly tells me "I have to inform you that the flight has been delayed for 5:25." I don't even roll my eyes. As shown at the beginning of the report, I knew this was going to happen. To his surprise, I take the news with a smile. This will give me time to go back to the city and have lunch with glorious Peruvian food. You should know that Peruvian cuisine is among the best in the world.
So I take a taxi and ask the driver for some advice. He wisely suggests La Glorieta restaurant…
…a beautiful, spacious place…
…apt for large events.
They even have a stage for live music…
…and a corner for photo sessions.
I will sit…
…near the kitchen.
The menu is long and varied, but I come across this short list of promotional dishes. Look at those prices! You will never, EVER, find a dish for 2 or 3 USD in Chile! Wait… GASP! Alpaca? They eat alpacas?
They're the cutest, fluffiest, and most adorable members of the camelid family! I'd hate to see them on a plate!
I eat with a heavy heart… at first. But two minutes later I'm like munch, much, yum, munch. I want more. And with a nice glass of chicha morada - a drink made from purple corn - my fluffy friend tastes heavenly!
It's much like pork.
The only drawback of a Peruvian lunch or dinner - for a Chilean diner - is the absence of bread. Instead of some nice bread rolls, they serve dry corn! How am I supposed to clean the plate at the end of the meal??? That is what you do in Chile when you liked what you've just eaten! It's frowned upon by some, but please! Nothing must be wasted!
Even though it's a delicay shared by Chile, Bolivia and Peru, I never thought of an humita as a dessert before.
But the Peruvian sweet humita, with nuts and raisins, is wondeful!
Lunch at La Glorieta was a delicious experience. Time to go back to the airport.
Let's go straight through safety check…
…in order to have enough time to look around the waiting room.
Let's go counter-clockwise. The have the same cafeteria as airside.
Plenty of seats, which, ins spite of being plastic, are ergonomic and quite comfortable.
One set appart, just in case.
Not really spotter friendly. And the small windows don't help.
Gate 1 is ready for us.
And finishing the circuit, a view on safety check. On the right…
…more reminders of your rights as a passenger…
…and our flight has been confirmed…
…to depart at 5. Let's hope it's true.
Wise Peruvian Airlines. No fuss boarding. Just front rowns and rear rows.
One more photo just because I was bored.
Minutes before the plane arrives I pay a visit to the restroom, which is slightly larger than the plane's restroom.
A couple of minutes before ETA I manage to get as close to the window as possible.
Right on time!
Something new for me - the plane parks parallel to the building, not perpendicular.
Gate open minutes later.
The great moment.
My first flight…
…on a 737-500.
Nice tail. That Peru logo…
…is the ubiquitous official logo of the Peruvian…
…tourism authority, which doesn't mean that Peruvian Airlines is the flag carrier.
It's just a (troubled) private company.
I am welcomed politely, though they don't look really happy to see me. I can't blame them.
The cabin is fitted with modern, LCC-style ironing boards.
WORST LEGROOM EVER. Deserves the capital letters. My knees touch the front seat! And I'm not tall.
I get barely a couple of centimeters of space if I push myself against my seat.
I'm not kidding. I can hardly move.
It's with a superhuman effort to accommodate my alpaca and hold my stomach in, that I can photograph the tray table…
…and the seatback pocket contents.
But this brochure just won't fit between my belly and the front seat, and I'm turning blue from holding my breadth, so I have to find another way to take the photos.
Two years ago I would have been happy to get a snackbox for my collection. By now, however, the BOB menu has been reduced to the minimum.
Not even the empanadas that I saw in another report not long ago! :(
Since the plane is parallel to the terminal building…
…the captain just puts pedal to the metal…
…and in a matter of seconds…
…just as Inti…
…(the Sun god of the Incas)…
…is hiding in the west…
…we take flight towards the south…
…past Carlos Ciriani Santa Rosa…
…above the dry…
…which quickly dissapear under the mist.
Inti is back up in the sky…
…when we bank to the left in order to avoid the air space of a certain unsufferable country.
And so our journey begins.
We fly to the north-west above the dry landscape of the Peruvian coast…
…whose narrow valleys sometimes remind me of those in the Chilean north.
I see that this phenomenon of the mist coming inland from the coast…
…occurs all along the Pacific coast. I saw the same on my trip from Santiago.
The landscape doesn't change much along the way…
…and the mist and the dimming light don't help…
…so I can barely see what's down there.
In fact, I can see more of the land after I edit the photos a bit.
In the peaceful cabin the BOB service has just started.
I choose the Three Ham sandwich. Cecilio - a survivor - is not impressed…
…and nor am I.
I hate arriving in a new city when it's dark.
The good thing is that LIM is much easy to navigate than SCL.
No creepy, unending corridors, at least this time.
We descended this escalator right into baggage claim.
Tacna, belt 6.
Not in this room…
..but I have to keep going along this short corridor…
…a second, smaller baggage claim area.
Great. The walk was not in vain. The exit is right there.
Tarapoto is a funny word. Poto is Chilean slang for buttocks. So there's a city in Peru called Tarabuttocks! XDD
From there on I am unable to take photos because I'm concentrated in calling an Uber without being noticed by taxi drivers, which are everywhere.
Anyway, I must say that LIM is all congestion and mad traffic, just like the rest of the city. Will post pictures in a future report.
Bonus - Miraflores
Miraflores is one of Lima's well-off neighborhoods.
Fearing that the city might be insecure…
…I only took my cellphone in my first walk around the city.
Quite silly. The place is very safe. At least Miraflores.
I saw police officers and municipal guards everywhere.
Here you can have your fill…
…of shopping centers, parks, restaurants…
…and many other amenities.
The seafront is a beauty, with a long, long park where you can walk your doggy…
…or just sit with your cellphone.
I heard that lady above me screaming at the top of her lungs. Now she can't let go of her selfie stick.
Let's hope she won't end up flattened against one of the cliffs that border the city all along the ocean.
My favorite corner of Miraflores?
Kennedy park! Why?
Because it's home to lots of gatitos!!! <3
An charity takes care of them…
…feeds them every night…
…and care for their health.
Of course, money is needed, so…
…as explained on the wall of that kiosk…
…donations are welcome.
Downtown Lima offers amazing examples of its colonial architecture.
And there's a local Chinatown, too!
Amazing! I bought some delicious God-knows-what-they-were-called.
To finish with, a walk around the streets surrounding the Plaza de Armas…
…in the very heart of the city…
…reminds you that Lima was for a long time…
…the most important Spanish city in America.
To think that the amazement has just begun!
Thanks for reading! :)
Tacna - TCQ
Lima - LIM
A bittersweet experience.
On the sweet side, Peruvian offers a fantastic free baggage allowance. Your cabin and checked baggage are free! Seat selection is also free, even for the cheapest fares! And you can make changes free of charge!
But on the bitter side, you'd better not be claustrophobic if you're taller than 170cm. Legroom is really tight. The BOB menu is dissappointing. And the worst part, Peruvian is struggling to fulfill their schedule due to their small fleet, so be ready for delays.
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