Hi everyone, this is the return trip from the Coffee Region, I had arrived from Bogotá on an ATR 72 flight into Armenia, but as Avianca enjoys a monopoly into AXM, prices are sometimes really high. Fortunately there are two other cities nearby, Pereira and Manizales. I was actually near Manizales, but AV also has the monopoly over there. The logical choice then, was Pereira. Pereira is the biggest city in the Coffee Region and Colombia's 9th biggest city.
We had to return to Bogotá on new year's day because of my GF's work. and I had to get on with my thesis. I had woke up feeling badly, everybody joked about it thinking I was hung over… but I tried not to dwell on that (must not appear weak before GF's family). We had a barbecue and then on to Pereira.
I thought PEI would be deserted because of the date, but I couldn't be more wrong. AV's check in was chaotic. And very inefficient. I saw some people arguing with AV's personnel because they had checked in online and only needed to drop their bags, but it was useless as the queues where messy and poorly managed.
We took about 30 minutes checking in, by the time we made it through the lady at the counter told us to run to the gate… I was feeling awful by the time. My GF felt I was feverish and so the hangover hypothesis was discarded.
We stopped at the second floor landside, where some shops and restaurants are found so she could go to the WC and I could buy some water to drink a Dolex pill.
As you can see, the place is a dump. Fortunately PEI's getting a state of the art terminal.
Security, which was quick, was done in a very small area. PEI has two boarding gates, each with its own security check. But they're interconnected by an open air corridor. Awesome for spotting, probably the only good thing in PEI.
LAN's 737-700 to BOG was getting ready.
Then into the gate. Each gate has been named after (I guess) politicians from the region…I've only seen this in Pereira.
Our plane made it from Bogotá…
And LAN's was leaving…
Boarding was called and carried out orderly.
Into my first Star Alliance plane!
The Cabin had been fitted with AV's new standard cabin.
With leather seats, and confortable pitch.
And also PTVs and mood lighting.
Seat pocket contents
A LAN Dash 8, inbound from Medellín.
PEI's Terminal Building and ATC tower, the new one can be seen behind at the left of the picture.
Another AV Airbus had arrived from BOG
The flight was packed, as soon as everyone was settled we where OK to go.
Due to Pereira's geography, takeoffs are from RWY 26, whilst landings are into RWY 06.
CBD in the distance
The plane entered the runway, backtracked (no taxiway) and we took off into Pereira's skies
Pereira's football stadium
Pereira and its irregular sprawl, because of the rugged geography crossed with small creeks
Another view at Pereira and Dosquebradas
Now over Armenia
We were following the same route as the main road that links Bogotá with the Pacific Ocean and Ecuador a.k.a. la Línea.
We weren't flying very high neither…
Almost level with the Nevados…which were covered by clouds (bummer)
Or not? We were only 1200 metres over this one.
Nevado del Ruiz, a Volcano, can in the distance.
Service begun by then…consisted only of boxed juices.
A cloudy beggining of the year.
Tolima Department's plains.
Crossing Magdalena River
LAN into BOG
The road to Medellín and the Caribbean snaking its way to Bogotá.
In Bogotá's plateau
Zoom into North Bogotá
Bogotá River, one of the most polluted river in the world.
The route we took
Chapinero's skyline while exiting the runway
Monserrate and Guadalupe mountains over Bogotá's CBD
Satena's hangars and Líneas Aéreas Suramericanas' 727s with Monserrate at the back.
A318, A320 and A319
On to baggage claim…
The flight was impressively quick, less than 30 minutes
By that time I was feeling so sick, I just wanted to jump to my bed and sleep…but no. The bags took their good time to come out, and then 15 minutes waiting to catch a cab. Awful.
Pereira - PEI
Bogota - BOG
It was nice to see AV's new interiors,really nice and much better than CMs and LAs in Colombia. CMs new interiors are the only comparable in the region (AFAIK). The views over the Coffee Region were great...but other than that, nothing extraordinary.
AV: They should really consider how to make their catering more attractive. PTVs are great, but not useful in these short flights. The map function is great though.
PEI: Awful terminal, but clean and does it job. I know it can be hell when Pereira is hot and humid, but that day the weather was ok. Fortunately a new terminal is underway.
BOG: Beh.. Puente Aéreo is like a bus terminal for planes instead of buses. The taxi issue is awful.
Thanks for reading, saludos!
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