I > Background:
Return flight after a quick visit to see some friends in Bogotá and have a little too much drinking time in Parque 93. I believe this will be the 2nd report on Aero República and the first on the BOG-CCS segment; an excellent coverage by Rleiro on their CCS-MDE operation can be found here
II > Pre-Flight:
a) Before Airport:
Aero República is an airline based in Bogotá, Colombia. It is the second largest air carrier in Colombia behind Colombian flag carrier Avianca. It operates scheduled services from Bogotá to 11 domestic destinations and to Panama, as well as domestic and international charter services to the USA and the Caribbean.
This flight is operated by Aero Republica on behalf of COPA. The ticket was thus bought at COPA’s website at www.copaair.com. While I was impressed with the ease with which I could buy the ticket and have it delivered to my e-inbox, I was disappointed that the website had no feature to reserve seats. Also, I had to call their reservation line to include my Delta Skymiles number. Surprising given you’d think a Skyteam airline would allow the same.
b) At Airport:
I cannot wait until the renovations are all complete at Bogotá airport. Moreover, check-in should not take 1 hour. I was lucky that I had actually come to the airport to have a café with a friend who works with Avianca to give me company. Apparently, the ditzy agent were dealing with a “crisis”. There was a man who had arrived on Avianca from Miami and was connecting to the Aero Republica flight to Caracas. He was a Namibian national and since Bogota has no transfer desk for interlined passengers, he was detained as Aero Republica and Bogota immigration staff figured out what to do. When I over-heard the situation, I asked the check-in woman to just print his boarding pass and deliver it to him. Something clicked inside her, and I solved the problem and became the white night . I later spoke to the Namibian man and he was amused that an international airport did not have any protocol to handle international passengers between 2 airlines. Sad indeed.
Anyways, I bid adieu to my Avianca friend and made my way pass surprisingly quick immigration and security. Boarding was VERY “ILBST” as I used the jet-bridge to some non-smiling crew and a fresh mint (but a little too white and sterile) E95 of Aero Republica. Y load was 75%.
Airport - External:
Airport - Internal:
Scenes of the tarmac:
a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
After take-off, beverage and snack box.
b) Aircraft + Seats:
Aero Republica’s E95 were in mint condition. The leather seats were comfortable, with recline and pitch both above industry average. Moreover, I actually thought they were pretty good when compared to other “regional jets”. If I had any complaint, it would be that the cabin needed color. Colombia is a colorful country and I wish the airline better reflected the same. It was too-white and I felt like I was in a hospital.
Views from Aircraft:
General Seat Views + Seat Legroom
Seat Recline + Angle View:
c) Meal + Beverage:
On a short flight in Economy, I am happy to receive a meal or snack box. I find this is the segment where there is wide variety from region to region on what is offered on board. The Aero Republica snack-box was “very Latin”. The sweet bread was a bit too sweet and I am not a fan of processed cookies. What was truly disappointing is that the café sucked. Again, this is a flight from Colombia … how about some good café?! Having said that, I did appreciate the gesture on a short-ish flight.
d) Inflight Entertainment:
Nothing more than the in-flight magazine was on offer.
(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)
The best words to describe the crew would be “blah” and unmemorable. There was nothing that stood out about them. Upon boarding, they just stood there with no smiles or assistance with luggage. During the flight, they did the beverage and food run and disappeared. I did not see a single smile … and when I am doing a trip report, I usually look at these things. C’est la vie.
Arrival at CCS was smooth and I went through surprisingly smooth immigrations to be picked up by my friend in 14 minutes flat.
(Tarmac action @ CCS)
(CCS Arrivals Internal)
V> Impressions + Scores:
Aero Republica gets you from point A to B. One should not expect anything more from them. While their economy seats were comfortable, and I mildly appreciated the gesture of having a snack box, the personnel on the flight made Aero Republica an experience I would likely forget very soon. Both BOG ground personnel and cabin crew were just non-descript. I can overlook the lack of IFE and stuff, but on flights, it is the crew who make all the difference. For the right price, I would fly them again and recommend them only if their fares were dirt cheap. Thumps down.
(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1702 posts, RR: 43 Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10269 times:
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter): Also, I had to call their reservation line to include my Delta Skymiles number. Surprising given you'd think a Skyteam airline would allow the same.
Surprising, not at all!
Until the end of last year if you were a non Skymiles member, you had to call Delta to get your number put in let alone select exit row/elite seats. Even that in itself was far from trouble free. I received numerous answers over the years from the Delta phone agents. Some of the better ones were:
"Sir there are no seats left for you." (This when none of the Elite seats were taken on a 767!)
"Sir, Air France or KLM (My elite account was with them) is not part of Skyteam, your not entitled to the preferred seats unless you pay for them."
Also once Delta started allowing you to put other Skyteam account numbers online, they never opened up any of the Elite seats, not even for a Skyteam Elite Plus.
So surprising, not really. Sometimes you only get as good as you give.
Great report as always. I have been interested in seeing what AeroRepublica offers on their new EMB's.
Chepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 5965 posts, RR: 12 Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9613 times:
Thank you for the entertaining trip report, always good to see a trip report from a Latin American carrier.
Your experience sounds very similar to my Copa experience (back in 2001). Copa's planes as well are very sterile, the food is tasteless, and the crews are not very friendly. However, Copa is a very reliable airline, they get you from point A to point B in a timely manner. That AeroRepublica aircraft (interior) looks like any US Carrier, never flown AV but I would think the experience with them is a tad better.
RCS763AV From Colombia, joined Jun 2004, 4279 posts, RR: 14 Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 9388 times:
Another typical P5 flight. Nothing to say about it, lame, bad food (on domestic secotrs in Colombia no food is served on any airline, just a snack), but getting you from point A to point B.
The only thing that has improved about this airline is their punctuality. There were times in which you would hear horror stories of ten hour delays for a 1 hr flight to CTG, the airline not letting the pax leave the airport because the flight would take off "any minute". I was once on a flight to LET that ingested a bird, returned to BOG and then re-departed to LET even though there were severe thunderstorms in the area, so we ended up landing in Rio Branco, Brazil and they kept us for seven hours in a wating room because the airline's representative in Brazil was on vacation and they couldn't reach the guy.
Even when complete things will not be anywhere as good as they should be. The current government, which has mismanaged the whole concession process has made a pig's ear of it, with its typical incompetence and lack of vision. The new international terminal will be better than the current building, which will remain for domestic flights. Internationl/domestic connections will continue being far from smooth. Even after realising that the project would lack capacity at the time f delivery, they tried to improvise an alternative project, spending a huge amount of money on plans, but this is also mediocre and badly conceived and will most likely be shelved next month after a shocking audit report.
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter): he was amused that an international airport did not have any protocol to handle international passengers between 2 airlines. Sad indeed
Terrible state of affairs, and only goes to confirm the lack of vision by those in charge.
It is sad that Bogota's transformation has come to a grinding halt and the airport will reflect that old vices are back. In the mean time, a former transforming mayor, lectures around the world his respected planning ideas and wins awards, is sneered at at home.
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter): What was truly disappointing is that the café sucked. Again, this is a flight from Colombia … how about some good café?!
Coffee in Colombia is indeed mostly terrible due to its bad preparation and/or use of the dregs. Only decent coffee seems to be Juan Valdez, which is of very high quality. I have it most mornings, but I prefer to prepare it myself, though.
DavidCA From Canada, joined Jun 2009, 63 posts, RR: 5 Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 8362 times:
Thanks for an interesting report! I haven't flown Aero Republica, but have always enjoyed Avianca. Aero Republica, from your report, seem to lack sparkle. Avianca, I guess, give a truer representation of what a spectacular country Colombia is and how warm and friendly its people are. Avianca's coffee--at least in Y--is lousy too.
SOUTHAMERICA From Colombia, joined Dec 2003, 2496 posts, RR: 15 Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7795 times:
Aero Republica is just an extension of Copa and Continental.
This report concentrates all the basic elements I've found on my flights with the 3 airlines, which for better or for worse means that they are at least offering a coherent product.
Maybe Continental is superior thanks to its website. On the other hand, I find Aero Republica's flight attendants' overall appearance far superior (uniform, spotless). But yeah, the overall experience is blah, with all of them.
I find this pretty strange. In my recent flights with Copa/Aero Republica I have been able to choose and change seats. In fact, I flew BOG-MDE last week with them and had chosen my seat through Copa's website way before.
Tell me about it. The check-in hall is depressing, but the international arrivals area after immigration is just sad. Can't wait for them to bring down the whole thing.
Quoting RCS763AV (Reply 7): The only thing that has improved about this airline is their punctuality.
Your experience was pretty terrible, but hey, let's be fair here. The 1998 yellow tacky, pre-historic DC-9s never compare to a 2009 spotless E-190. Copa gave them a complete turn-around. At least now Avianca has a reliable competitor in the domestic market.
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 4915 posts, RR: 55 Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7310 times:
Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 12):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern
Is it so you don't want to have the crew not get into trouble for not smiling?
= LOL. I am not that harsh ... the average crew scores are pretty high. Actually, if a crew is good ... or bad, I insist on sending information to HQ ... one should always recognize talent; and one should always spot the bad apples instead of saying the entire airline sucks.
I actually change the date because I work in the industry and do not really want people to know of my exact travels.