I visit LPB about four times a year. Most of the time I take the AA922 flight from Miami nonstop to La Paz. AA Uses a 757 for this 6 hour flight. Many Bolivians use this flight to shop during the weekend in Miami. The plane is most of the time fully packed with people and unbelievable quantities of hand luggage. I've seen people trying to check in a huge fridge (which was refused btw). So, it doesn't seem that AA is using weight restrictions for the inbound leg of this flight. The outbound leg has a stopover in Santa Cruz. This is only an hour away from La Paz so fuel levels can be low. As far as I know American is the only none south-America carrier which flies to LPB.
I also flew in on Varig from Rio de Janeiro via Sao Paulo and Santa Cruz. Varig uses an old 737-300 which is also often fully booked.
I had the oxygen masks coming down one time on a flight from Arica, Chile to LPB. The whole cabin was screaming from fear! Pretty scary.
You will see loads of 727's in LPB because LAB and AeroSur still fly these old birds on a daily basis. There are always a couple of 727's on the platform. I just love these old ladies in their faded blue and green liveries.
However, the best part of flying into LPB is the incredible beautiful view from the plane as you fly past the many mountains in that region. The sky is almost always crisp blue and during the take off roll you will fly past and below the top of the mountain Illimani which is over 6000 meters high at maybe a 1000 meters distance or so. So bring your camera on board and try to get a window seat on the left side of the plane.
PS: also arrived at La Paz in a LLoyd Aereo Boliviano 737-300 and 727-100, and departed La Paz in a Lloyd Aereo Boliviano 727-100 and 727-200. There was nothing particularly notable about the landings, on in the take off of the 727-100. I remember the take off in the fairly heavily loaded 727-200 going to Lima as having a very very long ground roll, and also having the impression that the rotate speed was somewhat higher than normal. Aside from that, nothing remarkable about La Paz.
Incidentally though, I understand cabin pressure management can be an issue at La Paz. The air pressure at the airport is lower than that normally maintained in a jet airliner passenger cabin. If the cruise pressure is not decreased on decent (normally the cabin pressure would be gradually increased on decent) and if the doors are opened on the ground, the drop down masks may deploy.
CannibalZ3 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 392 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3357 times:
I've flown out of La Paz twice, and I can tell you that from a passengers perspective, it's interesting. On the approach (depending on which side you're coming from) you will gradually descend, and the ground will suddenly drop out from under you into a spectacular valley that holds the city of La Paz. The airport is in El Alto, the poor neighborhood very high above the city. As you turn on final you can see the entire city spread out beneath you, and it looks almost as though you'll fly into the mountain that the airport sits on top of. It can get pretty turbulent here I'm told, but I didn't notice. Upon touchdown be prepared for a loooong rollout past the military section and the scores of old C-46s and DC-6s and what have you. To approach the airport at Sucre, the aircraft (nearly always an old 727) has to make a sharp 180 to avoid a mountain on the way in; the airport is always closed during bad weather.
DeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3666 posts, RR: 9 Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3325 times:
There's a Flight In The Cockpit video, the Challenge 757 one, that features both a landing & takeoff. While I've never flown into/out of LPB, from what I saw, the landing looked pretty normal, but the takeoff seemed to take a while. (Expert analysis, huh? )
I wondered if because of the pressure change if the masks were necessary.... from what I've seen above, I guess they're not commonly used for flights unless the crew forgets to change the cabin pressure. Are there any airlines that have the passengers use the masks for approach?