Review of Avianca flight Bogota Panamá City in Business

Airline Avianca
Flight AV 60
Class Business
Seat --
Flight time 01:25
Take-off 07 Jul 08, 14:15
Arrival at 07 Jul 08, 15:40
AV   #64 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 92 reviews
Chibcha
By 3153
Published on 14th March 2014
Welcome to another Retro FR. This time covering my last time visiting my second family in Panamá, back in '08. My mum's best friend used to live there, and she is like a second mum, and her daughter like a sister for me. I used to spend summers there until they moved to Europe. For this trip time my mum only managed to get mi Business Class seats, no problem for me! It was a special trip as it was the last time I was visiting these special friends and as AV was replacing their MD83s for Airbuses it sure was the last trip on a MD83 for me.


Check in was swift on AV's dedicated zone for Business passengers. I wasn't handed any invitation for AV lounge nor told about it. I knew it was technically possible for me to go there anyway, and so I went. At the entrance the lady at the front desk was unsure about me being there…but after checking out they let me in…

AV's lounge at the International Pier was recently refurbished at the time, and AV took great proud on it. But it was really lame. It was just a pretty place, but with little space and poor offerings of food and drinks. No relevant pics taken, sorry.

The tarmac from the Lounge.
photo Moyatotiao 005

I was called to the front desk, where a lady was waiting for me and rushed me into the plane. I was practically the last person to board. I reckon their logic is for you to spend the most time at the Lounge…but I would have rather be the first at the plane. Oh well..

AVs MDs had these generic Business Class seats, nothing extraordinary.

We were handed either OJ, water or bubbly, I chose the former. While trying to set it on the table I managed to spill it all over me and the lady besides. Shame level: 10000.

As I was one of the last people in, taxi was in no time for me.

BOG's old terminal and ATC tower…soon to be just a memory.
photo Pty 003

DAE's F100s were a novelty at the time, they quit Bogotá about three years ago and I think they've kicked the bucket too.
photo Pty 006

It's impressive to notice how much things change in 6 years… at that time these three airlines were competitors. Now TACA doesn't exists, and the two remaining airlines are on the same airline alliance. AV's F100 used to be so common.
photo Pty 007

Nice room at the bulkhead, I carried so much junk that time, but they didn't say anything about that bag.
photo Pty 008

Take off from RWY 13R, immediate bank southwards towards Soacha an eventually heading NW
photo Pty 013photo Pty 014photo Pty 015

Check out AV's terminal, Puente Aéreo, T-tails were the norm before the Airbus came to AV's fleet.
photo Pty 016

Now over Bogotá…now this hasn't change as dramatically…bummer.


Cruising over partly cloudy skies.
photo Pty 024photo Pty 025photo Pty 026

The Magdalena River with the town of Ambalema, Tolima (?)
photo Pty 027

Even when sent on routes over 2 hours to Lima and Miami and even doing jumps between JFK and Barranquilla, AV's MDs didn't have any IFE at all. It was bring your own IFE those days.
So, Umberto Eco and music for me. Not a big deal as the flight to PTY is really short.
photo Pty 029

Then service begun. I thought it was really good for a flight under 2hours.
photo Pty 030photo Pty 031

In no time the islands that point that arrival into PTY was imminent were in view, followed by the army of ships and then skyscrapers…welcome to Panamá!



We landed on RWY 03L, a first for me as all previous time landing was on RWY 03R…taxi to terminal took its time but permitted to spot more of PTY.


This must have been one of the original buildings at Tocumen.
photo Pty 054
The terminal was deserted at AV's arrival time. All of CM's 737s were crossing America's skies.
photo Pty 055


De-boarding, Immigrations and Customs were done in no time. But the good timing was marred by my friend being late because of Pamamá City's horrible traffic. I was even scared because she took almost 2 hours to get to the airport and I had no way to communicate. Thankfully nothing bad had happened.
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Verdict

Avianca

6.1/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew6.5
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Meal/catering8.0

Avianca Lounge

3.4/10
Comfort5.5
Meal/catering2.5
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Services3.5

Bogota - BOG

5.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness4.0

Panamá City - PTY

4.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access3.5
Services2.5
Cleanliness4.5

Conclusion

AV's Lounge was really lame. For me it was ok, being a new experience, but it was well known that among experienced travelers the lounge was thought of as a dump.

AV's Business Class...OK for a short trip to Panamá. Catering was nice and seats confy. The crew was practically unmemorable and didn't do anything that made them stand out. Same service level as behind the curtain.

BOG was despicable, even when holding a soft spot in our hearts, at the time. PTY was horrid for arriving passengers...I still think it is that way though.

Thanks for reading this retro-FR, Saludos!

Information on the route Bogota (BOG) Panamá City (PTY)

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