YV136C From Venezuela, joined Mar 2003, 198 posts, RR: 0 Posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3074 times:
I took this very short business trip to Bogota, my first time there, or anywhere in Colombia for that matter. I decided going on Avianca because they have 3 daily flights to/from BOG, good departure times and a better fleet than Aeropostal´s two daily flights at very crappy times on DC-9`s. Besides, I´d never flown Avianca before.
Sunday, December 28th, 2003
AV Flight 67
ETD: 1245 ATD: 1249
ETA: 1335 ATA: 1320
Assigned seat: 32D, traded to 15K and ended up in 15D.
When buying the ticket for this flight I found out that Avianca does not pre-assign seats for their flights, which I found really strange. Afterwards, during my journey I think I know why: No one knows what plane is flying the route on a certain day. My SABRE reservation shows the CCS-BOG leg as a MD-83, Avianca´s website showed it as a 757, which it was. On the return leg, SABRE showed the flight being operated by a 763, Avianca´s website showed a MD-83, when it turned out to be another 757. So, I guess no one can assign seats without knowing the aircraft type first.
Anyhow, I showed up at the airport a tad late, 90 minutes before boarding and was asked if I wanted window or aisle. I said window and was told there were none left as the flight was packed…..ok, aisle it is. Got seat 32D. I was told to go to gate 23 where the flight would board. I passed security and immigration and went to gate 23 where an Aeropostal flight to SDQ, was boarding. So I took my time to stroll around the international terminal and guess what?? When I got to gate 14 my flight was boarding there! Was I lucky, because no announcement was made on the gate change. Finally, I could see it would be a 757 we would be flying on. I really like the Alianza Summa colors, although I know my Colombians friends ( Juan and Federico) here on A.net don´t agree. While waiting in line to board I had a really funny Colombian man, to whom I looked nice enough for him to tell me every joke he knows. I really like Colombians. I gotta say it.
Once onboard I went all the way back to row 32 and saw that my seatmates were a young child with his father……then a lady came all the way from the front of the plane to chat with the man sitting beside me, so I offered my seat in exchange for hers (15K, goodie! A Window seat!). She said yes, and when I arrived at row 15 I found an older lady sitting there. It was a very polite and nice Colombian lady who told me she had switched seats when the other lady left, and asked if I cared about staying on the aisle. I didn´t mind, she was so polite about it. Also, right away I noticed that this plane has no Row 13!!! I can´t believe some people still believe in this nonsense!
We pushed back right on time and headed for takeoff on 27R, which is very unusual because all takeoffs are done on 09L, but the wind had shifted that day.
After a very nice, very short and powerful takeoff (I LOVE how this plane flies!), we climbed up to 39,000 feet in a hurry and service commenced. Our snack consisted of a plate with some ham, some sliced cheese and cold mashed potatoes, with breadsticks and a piece
of what I suppose was mocha cake. Cake was very good, the rest wasn´t. Washed it down with Diet Coke.
Right before service, the Flight Attendants offered Venezuelan and Colombian newspapers.
After service, coffee was offered. I really don´t drink coffee but I must say the fragance of hot Colombian coffee is something to stand up to. I still didn´t have any, though!
The old lady by my side asked if I could help her fill out her customs form, which I did. She then asked if it was my first time in Bogota, also was I going to spend new year´s there etc etc…..I said yes, it´s my first time here, no I´m not staying for new year´s and etc etc. She then, very nicely offered her home for me to stay if I changed my mind, that she would like me to see how beautiful and special New Year´s can be in Bogota. I thanked her profusely, and I must say I was incredibly pleased at the lady´s manners.
We began descent and it was pretty shaky up there, it was pretty much cloudy over BOG and descent and touchdown were shaky at best, as the person flying the plane was over the glideslope which explained the rather hard landing, I guess I blame the F/O for this. You could almost feel some inexperience during landing……
Anyway, we landed pretty much on time, service onboard was excellent and the plane was spotless. I was very impressed on my first flight with Avianca.
After having walked and toured a lot around Bogota, I must say that I was blown away by the city, it has a beautiful contrast of colonial and modern structures, incredibly well-spoken and educated people, men´s clothing is of the upmost quality and cheap as it can get. Also, you can drink tap water!!! WOW!!! Also, I tried patacones and Ajiaco…wanna know what this is? Go find out for yourselves…It`s delicious!!!! I vowed to return to Colombia soon.
Monday, December 29th, 2003
Avianca Flight 76
ETD: 1515 ATD:1525
ETA: 1805 ATA: 1750
Boeing 757-28 A
Got to El Dorado at around 1320 for my 1515 flight. It took a while for me to check in as the Avianca personnel was quite slow, taking into consideration that the line was very short. I was first in line and waited 10 minutes for an agent to get to me.
After checking in I went upstairs for a bite to eat and decide on a Burger place called El Corral, which had been recommended by some of my colleagues. Again, I was blown away, I have not had a burger that good in years! Again, I vowed to return to Colombia soon!
I passed security and immigration and strolled through the Duty Free shops….very nice, very well stocked shops. Colombia is still light years ahead in a lot of aspects than my dear Venezuela…..but we´ll shape up someday.
Went to my assigned gate 9, at gate 7 a TACA A320 was being fully boarded to SJO.
I boarded, went to my assigned seat 23A and stretched out…..did I mention legroom is pretty darn good? I´m 6`1, I should know.
Also, I when I was able to see the registration on the wing a smile came to my face. It was an ex-National aircraft!!! Good to see this plane out of Mojave. I hope many more follow suit.
Load was around 55%, so I had the row to myself. We took off from 31L and then turned left until we flew right over the airport again, then headed southeast towards CCS. Cruising altitude was 37,000 feet and we had a nice tailwind that pushed our cruise speeds in excess of 900 km/hour (Aprox. 560 miles an hour). This made for a quick less than 90 minute flight.
We were served a cold piece of chicken with some veggies. I must say that it was very tasty…..also more mocha cake, very good. Diet Coke…..coffee was offered again later.
Flight was very smooth up until reaching the coast close to the airport, landing was smooth and again another great flight with Avianca. I´m sure Avianca will pull through with this timeliness and service. Only thing to improve is the check in line at BOG.
Hoped you liked it, I sure hope to fly again soon to tell you all about it!
Juanr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3008 times:
Hi Luis!!! Good to hear from you!! It is nice to know that you have enjoyed your stay in Bogotá, my home city! It is really a good city, the ajiaco is the most tasteful soup in the world!!
Well, it is true, when you fly with Avianca you will never know which aircraft they'll use; I flew with them from JFK to BOG and I hoped it was a 767-300 but no: 767-200. It wouldn't surprise me if they start flying to MD), Spain">MAD with MD-83s Jajajaja LOL (just a joke)
About checking-in line in Bogota, well, what can I say, it is not a problem of Avianca, it is a problem with the airport itself, the main terminal at El Dorado is too small so it really gets crowded, you can be grateful you checked in early in the afternoon, trying to check in for the early morning flights or the late afternoon flights is a nightmare. Fortunately there is a well developed plan to improve the airport's facilities, you can check them at www.aerocivil.gov.co.
Well, about the national airlines-avianca aircraft..I saw it two months ago at the north platform of the airport with full national airlines colours, it seems that it is a new lease for Avianca. They've already have 757s with Transmeridian and Aeromar colours; I think they leased them to replace the A320s that Aces used on some routes.
I am really glad you liked my city, you can write me and I can guide you in your next trip to my city!!!
Greetings from SKBO, El Dorado International Airport!!!
By the way, Alianza Summa's Butterfly colours is great, I just think old colours are better.
YV136C From Venezuela, joined Mar 2003, 198 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3000 times:
thanks for the comments and the information. I won´t blame Avianca for the mess in El Dorado, I noticed the Airport is old, small and crowded. But I´m sure you guys will fix this right away!
Tap water is "agua de chorro", non-filtered water from the street. It´s unbelieveable that a southamerican city has this unique "feature" not even seen in some first-world countries.
Thanks for offering me help on touring the city next time, luckily I had a special lady friend who helped me out a lot! Colombian women rock!
Juanr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2989 times:
Just a question for you. Do you know in which runway did you land in Bogotá? Now a days they are using the 31L-31R approach due to wind changes, that approach involves a circular manouver by the pilot and it is done visual, perhaps that is the reason you may though that the first officer (or the pilot) was inexperienced.
By the way, entrance in Bogota is always shaky...with clouds ot without them, I do not know why but I have always experienced some turbulence just a few minutes before landing and everybody I know have felt the same, I really like it, jajaja. Greetings
Yes, we have agua de chorro on the streets, in fact the water in Bogota is between the cleanest in the world!!!
SOUTHAMERICA From Colombia, joined Dec 2003, 2496 posts, RR: 11 Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2975 times:
Great trip report, and as always, good to read Colombian stuff.
First of all, it's perfectly understandable that you thought that the approach and landing in BOG was harsh. The pilots are very experienced (you know colombian and equadorian pilots are among the best in the world due to the rough terrain conditions) but you have to consider that the approach to the 31 runways has no ILS unlike the 13s, and as Juan says, the pilots have to make a hard, rough and visual turn in order to reach the airport. I have been on that proceedure quite a few times and it's always the same. Tough.
I live in Medellin. It's a wonderful city aswell and hope you get the opportunity to vist us soon. But I definitely love Bogota. It's really a world class city and truly cosmopolitan with everything a real urban pole needs to have.
I agree with the comment about "Haburguesas El Corral". Here we have several aswell and it's simply magnificent. Yum Yum.
About changing aircraft. Avianca, between Medellin and Bogota hast got almost 15 daily flights, all on MD-83, except three of them, that are on 757. When the time comes, you find out that your MD has been changed to a 757 aswell ! It's pretty wierd, although in domestic routes they try to be more consisten in aircraft terms.
About the livery. I'm beginning to learn how to live with the new colors, although the old ones are way better. Maybe I'm just a nostalgia guy.
About El Dorado. The main chec-in hall is kinda old, but the inside of the terminals is pretty nice. And the all-new renovated Avianca Terminal is even nicer !
Hope to see you soon in Medellin and Juan aswell !
Bongo From Colombia, joined Oct 2003, 1861 posts, RR: 5 Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2965 times:
Really good article you wrote... I think that Colombia needs more good articles so the people around the World can see how Colombia is.
About Av: Fleet is really modern and well maintained. International service is very very good (and also national service)
About Eldorado Airport...Duty Free shops are really nice...and cheaper than many other in the world. Soon the airport will be refurbished and privatized.
About Bogota: they made hard efforts to renew the city, to build many parks, public transport, etc. and it worth. If you like Bogota, you will like a lot Medellin... (Don't blame me, I'm from Bogota but live in Medellin my whole life).
About El Corral: Is the best place for burgers in Colombia. Now in Medellin they opened a place call El Corral Gourmet...really really good.
Juan: Welcome to my respected users, if you come to Medellin, just let me know.
MDE: First airport in the Americas visited by the A380!
YV136C From Venezuela, joined Mar 2003, 198 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2958 times:
I assume you`re referring to me, my name´s Luis not Juan.....Juan is Juanr. Anyway, thanks a lot for your kind words, I have had the opportunity to get to know a some great people from your country and now that I visited it, I´ve become quite fond of it.
I´m looking forward to visiting Medellín, Santa Marta, Cartagena and San Andrés Island. I´m probably missing something else on this list but I´ve had people talk wonders about these places.
Chepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6104 posts, RR: 11 Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2934 times:
Very Good Trip report.
We've been lucky lately, there have been a couple of Avianca trip reports in the past couple of weeks. Im glad you enjoyed your stay in Bogota and your flight with Avianca (hopefully they will soon dig themselves out of the turmoil their going through). Bogota (along with Cartagena and Medellin) sounds like an amzing city, hopefully I'll visit Colombia someday soon . I hope you had Bonuelos while in Columbia - they are one of my fav .
Great trip report and keep those trip reports from Latino America coming.
How long was your flight between CCS and BOG?
YV136C From Venezuela, joined Mar 2003, 198 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2924 times:
thanks for your kind words, I truly hope to keep this Latinamerican TR's coming although I'm moving to Florida in a month or so.
I will most definitely would like to go to Medellin someday, and when I do I will make sure to let you know. Right now, it's anyone's guess when I'm going back to Colombia, but I really hope it's soon!