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CCS-BOG-GYE (Part 1 Of A South America Trip)  
User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7107 times:

This is my first trip report, I tried to be precise, and this ended in a very long report. So I will cut it in various parts. Feel free to browse through it!

What motivated me is that I would fly a rather complicated route, with 10 flights in 10 days, and in some not so covered areas.
This is to say: CCS-BOG-GYE-LIM-GRU-VIX-CGH-GRU-GIG-GRU-BOG-CCS.

Also I received some stimulation to do such a report: RE: AV (MM) F100 New International Services (by TGV Jul 18 2006 in Civil Aviation).

This is the first part of the report, from CCS to GYE.
If there are some remarks, I will try to take them into account in the following parts.


Saturday 22/07/06
Due to the uncertainties of land travel in Venezuela, I left Valencia where I live the Friday in the evening and spent the night in Caracas.

I left Caracas (Alta Mira Area) at 7h15, and was ready to take "la trocha" that is to say the two lane road that replaces provisionally one of the viaducts of the highway going to Maiquetia (Caracas airport) thinking that at this time the queue would not be very long.

But reaching the point where you have to select "Highway with trocha" or "carretera vieja" (the old road) we noticed cars going backwards on the highway, and so we took the "carretera vieja". It was a good idea, as passing above with the "carretera vieja" we saw the long queue on the highway. Certainly more than one hour before reaching "la trocha". Having missed a flight to Port of Spain some weeks ago after sitting 1 hour and a half on the highway, I am now very cautious about Caracas-Maquetia travel, and I urge everybody to take extra time when going to the airport.

Another small queue due to an accident (a Corsa totally destroyed, people living in Venezuela know the dangers of this small and light cars with a too powerful motor), and in one hour I had reached the airport.

It was only 08:00 so I went to take a coffee in a quite quiet airport, as the activity here is in the afternoon, when all flights from Europe arrive and depart.


At 09:15 I went to the Avianca counters, where the activity was already at full speed, with 6 counters working (4 for Economy, 2 for Business), and a quite long line that I joined.


After queuing for 55 minutes I arrived at the counter and was checked-in by an efficient young woman. I asked to get a window seat (the travel agency had pre-reserved an aisle, without asking me), and got it for my two flights, CCS-BOG and BOG-GYE, as I received both boarding passes there.
I was then directed to the airport tax booth where I did not pay anything, as taxes were included in the ticket, but received the immigration exit form. While in queue I was caught up by the young women who exchanged my 19K seat for the 20K. Seat 19K being" inoperative".

I passed the control checks and immigration without any queue; the recent improvements of CCS airport building are really a very good thing.

Walking around I discovered a new "food court"

and then installed me in a seat with view on the runway to see the quite light traffic.

Few international departures between 9:00 and 15:00.


A VH flight to Curacao and Santo Domingo


The Avianca plane that I was going to take landed at 11:32, and was at the gate perfectly on schedule, at 11:45.

The arriving AV MD-83



Flight AV 69 CCS-BOG
MD 83 EI-CEQ
Scheduled 12:30 / 13:20
Real 12:22 / 13:17

I went also to the gate (gate 25), where the information screen was still mentioning the previous flight. At 11:51 it was updated with the Avianca flight information.
The boarding started just after. Some disorder initially, as the explanations for the boarding by zone were given by an employee without any loudspeaker, and were therefore barely heard by most of the people.
In the jetway two employees were collecting the too big hand luggage that some passengers persist to bring on-board. A very good point for Avianca, as therefore the overhead bins were totally adequate with the quantity of hand luggage, without any need to squeeze. As I always travel light (in this case of a day flight, only my computer bag), I appreciate airlines that do this.

Boarding was finished at 12:15, with a 100% load factor in Y, but they were still loading luggage.
The cabin was in good condition and clean, and the seat pitch adequate for such a short trip.
It appeared that seat 19K was in fact not inoperative, but used by a little girl part of a family of 5.

From my seat, just before the wing, I had a good view of the luggage loading process, with two loaders and an employee collecting a sticker from all loaded baggage tags and sticking it on a form.


We left the gate at 12:22, had a short taxi until the entry of the runway access, and then, from 12:25, waited, second in line, without any other traffic in sight. This is a specialty of CCS.

An Avior 737 also waiting for take-off.


At 12:39, an Aserca airlines plane finally landed, and we took off at 12:40.
A view of la Guaira


After 15 minutes the cabin staff started the lunch service, a light meal adequate for this 1h50 long flight.


The service was friendly and efficient. The meal was eatable; nothing to write home about it, but the dessert was quite good.
The meal


The flight was uneventful, unfortunately with a lot of clouds along the way.

The approach to BOG was made in the fog, but the visibility improved before landing.
We landed at 13:09 (CCS is 1 hour ahead of BOG), and where at gate C1 at 13:17, perfectly on schedule.

Bogota airport


After disembarking I encountered a long queue waiting for immigration, but luckily I was directed by an employee to a lateral entrance leading to the departure level for my connecting flight.
The corresponding safety check point was not manned, so when I arrived at the departure level, I was directed by another employee to a door leading to the duty-free area. A lot of shops but as there is not any day light, it feels a little artificial.
So I passed the safety check manned by private employees, and then another check by the police.
(both efficient and courteous).

I arrived in the gate area, but the gate for GYE flight was still used, so I wandered around, taking some photos. Access to the gates was generally possible freely, so you can have good views of the airport operation.
Some rain started, but I nevertheless took a picture of my favorite plane, an AF 343 (F-GNII).


Note that in the gate area there are only small carts to provide some drinks. So do not pass the safety check if you are hungry!


Flight AV 113 BOG-GYE (operated by SAM)
Fokker 100 HK-4419
Scheduled 15:50 / 17:40
Real 15:47 / 17:41

The plane was hauled at the gate at15:05, and loading (baggage ad catering) started immediately.


Boarding started at 15:30, and was finished quickly as the flight was only 50% full.
It had been a long time since my last F100 flight between LYS and AMS (15 years), so I rediscovered this plane. The cabin gave the impression to be slightly more cramped than the MD83, but was clean. The seat cushion let feel some metal bars of the seat structure.

The door was closed at 15:40, but we left the gate at 15:47 only.
After a fairly long taxi, and waiting for an IB A346 and an AV B767 to land we took off at 16:03, with a great view of Bogota.

IB346 and AV767 took when taking off


A part of Bogota


The food service started at 16:15. The chicken sandwich was quite good.
The meal


We flew mostly over clouds, and landed at 17:37, with an arrival at the gate at 17:41.
We disembarked by bus. When we arrived the apron was empty, but just behind us landed a 737 Icaro, and a 727 Tame.

Icaro 737


The immigration process was fast, as when we arrived in the terminal there was nobody waiting at the immigration counters (5 or 6 were opened), and my suitcase was already waiting when I arrived at the baggage claim.

I had to pass it in an X-ray machine for customs, but this was fast. I was outside the building at 18:00.

End of the first part.


Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineA388 From Netherlands Antilles, joined May 2001, 10004 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7100 times:

Very nice report TGV. I'm looking forward to the remaining trip reports. The service from AV does seem very friendly and nice, both inflight as well as on the ground, that's nice to hear. I also liked your pictures of Aeropostal to CUR, my home town where I live. It's nice to see the aircraft from the other side so to speak (in this case from CCS).

A388 Big grin


User currently offlineJsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2074 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7031 times:

Great report! I love reading intra-South America reports, and having visited Venezuela last summer it's got a special place in my heart. Big grin

Quoting TGV (Thread starter):
We left the gate at 12:22, had a short taxi until the entry of the runway access, and then, from 12:25, waited, second in line, without any other traffic in sight. This is a specialty of CCS.

Aaaargh! Why is this? I flew from CCS last summer on an American 737-800, and we sat at the end of the runway for almost 15 full minutes before we took off. Only one aircraft landed (a Laser DC9) and the rest of the time we just sat there. I thought maybe it was a special delay that the chavista air traffic controllers gave to all US flights, but I guess not.  Smile


User currently offlineErikgnoha From Venezuela, joined Jun 2006, 214 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6944 times:

Excellent trip report TGV, I myself did that same trip without the GYE tag and found the services very good. I have one question, next sunday I have to catch an Air Canada flight to YYZ and it departs at 11:50 pm. I live near Altamira (Los Dos Caminos), so at what time do you recommend me to leave my home? Thanks in advanced.


Venezuela, donde los suenos renacen
User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 6894 times:

Quoting Jsnww81 (Reply 2):
I thought maybe it was a special delay that the chavista air traffic controllers gave to all US flights, but I guess not.

I have experienced this on all my flights, regardless of the airline. So I suppose they are clearing the runway from all departing trafic when an arriving plane is at less than 10 minutes from landing !!!

Quoting Erikgnoha (Reply 3):
I have one question, next sunday I have to catch an Air Canada flight to YYZ and it departs at 11:50 pm. I live near Altamira (Los Dos Caminos), so at what time do you recommend me to leave my home?

This is a tricky question !

On my last 3 trips to Maiquetia, each time leaving from the Altamira areas:
1) I left 3 hours 30 minutes before the check-in limit and I did not make it (after 3h30 we were still stopped after the last CCS tunnel, at the beginning of the descent, with the highway totally blocked (we were before the access to the carretera vieja). It was in the afternoon a weekday.
2) The next day (same flight !) to be sure, I left 5 hours before the check-in limit, and I was at the airport in one hour. So I waited 4 hours there !
3) And as you see from my trip report, I still had planned 4 hours 15 this time, and made it in one hour.

So it is difficult to be sure. On a sunday morning the only risk is the trafic going to the beaches. I was quite surprised to see a quite heavy trafic on the highway a saturday morning at 7:30. In your case I would not leave after 7:00, and even 6:45 would be better. With a lot of chances to have to wait a long time in the airport.
But isn't it better to miss the flight ?

[Edited 2006-07-31 03:43:10]


Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
User currently offlineErikgnoha From Venezuela, joined Jun 2006, 214 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 6880 times:

Quoting TGV (Reply 4):
In your case I would not leave after 7:00, and even 6:45 would be better. With a lot of chances to have to wait a long time in the airport.
But isn't it better to miss the flight ?

Thank you for your advice. I think I will leave home at 6 pm just to be sure. As you said is better to wait that lose your flight.



Venezuela, donde los suenos renacen
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2411 posts, RR: 23
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 6869 times:

Hi TGV, thanks for your report, nice photos

BTW, weren't you supposed to fly to GRU? or so I understood from another trip report

Regards )(



in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
User currently offlineSumma767 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2569 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6791 times:

Thank you for this trip report. Very nicely illustrated with the pictures, and yet concise and informative. Look forward to the remainder.

Funny this 15 minutes wait for take off at CCS. I experienced it once on a BA from LHR, on the CCS-BOG leg, but on that ocassion we were turn 1 after a runway change, so it made more sense that a plane did not take off in the direction of the landing traffic until they had all been cleared! Even so, 15 minutes seems like an overindulgence.


User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6707 times:

Quoting Arcano (Reply 6):
BTW, weren't you supposed to fly to GRU? or so I understood from another trip report

Yes, this was part 1 !
More parts to come ! But when I get home: I am writing this message in GIG, waiting for my flight to GRU, and tomorrow is GRU-BOG-CCS.



Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6598 times:

Quoting Erikgnoha (Reply 5):
Thank you for your advice. I think I will leave home at 6 pm just to be sure. As you said is better to wait that lose your flight.

You are right to do so.

In fact I misread your flight time (I will never, and does not try either, get used to this am/pm thing !), and thought it was Sunday at noon.
But in the evening you have to take extra time as you will be in counterflow with people coming back to the beach, as well as the passengers arriving from Europe bound flights in the afternnoon.
So if they put la trocha only for vehicles going to Caracas you may wait some time.
I arrived in Maiquetia yesteray evening, and the driver used the highway to come to the airport and waited for 40 minutes to pass "la trocha".
We came back using "la carretera vieja", without any other trafic (and not any police or guardia nacional in sight, we finished after nightfall, happy to arrive in the lit areas !).



Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
User currently offlineErikgnoha From Venezuela, joined Jun 2006, 214 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 6553 times:

Quoting TGV (Reply 9):
But in the evening you have to take extra time as you will be in counterflow with people coming back to the beach, as well as the passengers arriving from Europe bound flights in the afternnoon.

Yes, I thought the same. Maybe I leave home at 5 pm, I don't mind waiting in CCS, actually a really like that airport, and even more with the new work they have put on it. Thank you very much and glad to hear you arrive without any trouble.



Venezuela, donde los suenos renacen
User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 6542 times:

Quoting TGV (Thread starter):
But reaching the point where you have to select "Highway with trocha" or "carretera vieja" (the old road) we noticed cars going backwards on the highway, and so we took the "carretera vieja". It was a good idea, as passing above with the "carretera vieja" we saw the long queue on the highway. Certainly more than one hour before reaching "la trocha". Having missed a flight to Port of Spain some weeks ago after sitting 1 hour and a half on the highway, I am now very cautious about Caracas-Maquetia travel, and I urge everybody to take extra time when going to the airport.

If you reach the traffic jam after passing the National Guard Station just after the Old Road exit, it will take you aprox 15-20min to reach the beginning of la trocha. If the traffic jam starts before the old road exit, then take the old road until el barrio "El Limon" where you take a left and drive through El Limon shantytown downwards to connect with the highway just after the old viaduct.

Quoting TGV (Thread starter):
(a Corsa totally destroyed, people living in Venezuela know the dangers of this small and light cars with a too powerful motor),

Have you the seen the new Ford Ka with a 1.6L engine??? That's madness.

Quoting TGV (Thread starter):
We left the gate at 12:22, had a short taxi until the entry of the runway access, and then, from 12:25, waited, second in line, without any other traffic in sight. This is a specialty of CCS.



Quoting Jsnww81 (Reply 2):
I flew from CCS last summer on an American 737-800, and we sat at the end of the runway for almost 15 full minutes before we took off.



Quoting TGV (Reply 4):
I have experienced this on all my flights, regardless of the airline. So I suppose they are clearing the runway from all departing trafic when an arriving plane is at less than 10 minutes from landing !!!



Quoting Summa767 (Reply 7):

Funny this 15 minutes wait for take off at CCS. I experienced it once on a BA from LHR, on the CCS-BOG leg, but on that ocassion we were turn 1 after a runway change, so it made more sense that a plane did not take off in the direction of the landing traffic until they had all been cleared! Even so, 15 minutes seems like an overindulgence.

That's CCS ATC's trademark service. Everytime I takeoff from CCS I get to wait at the holding point for at least 10 minutes with no planes landing in sight. That's probably because CCS doesn't have a working radar. The only "radar" they have has a range of 10nautical miles.

Quoting Erikgnoha (Reply 3):
I have one question, next sunday I have to catch an Air Canada flight to YYZ and it departs at 11:50 pm. I live near Altamira (Los Dos Caminos), so at what time do you recommend me to leave my home? Thanks in advanced.

The later the better. If you live at 6pm you will find yourself stuck for an hour in Caracas's rush hour before you get close to the trocha. At that time, many people who live in La Guaira and work in Caracas are returning to their homes, thus collapsing La trocha. My suggestion is to leave at 8pm. By that time, traffic won't be as chaotic as 6pm. The trocha at night isn't as painful as it is during the day.

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis


User currently offlineErikgnoha From Venezuela, joined Jun 2006, 214 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6530 times:

Quoting Luisde8cd (Reply 11):
The later the better. If you live at 6pm you will find yourself stuck for an hour in Caracas's rush hour before you get close to the trocha. At that time, many people who live in La Guaira and work in Caracas are returning to their homes, thus collapsing La trocha.

Epale Luis, I don't think this is going to be a problem because I am flying on Sunday. The traffic jam will be going to Caracas, people who is coming back from the beach and stuff. But thanks anyway!!



Venezuela, donde los suenos renacen
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5130 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6435 times:

Quoting TGV (Thread starter):
After disembarking I encountered a long queue waiting for immigration, but luckily I was directed by an employee to a lateral entrance leading to the departure level for my connecting flight

= Hey, at least you didnt have to deal with BOG immigration last month ... arriving from NYC and seeing 4 other flights arrive. It was hell. Sort of CCS pre-modernization when all hell broke lose when all the flights arrived at the same time.

-A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6418 times:

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Sort of CCS pre-modernization when all hell broke lose when all the flights arrived at the same time.

That's exactly what I thought, and I was happy to be in transit !



Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5934 posts, RR: 40
Reply 15, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6336 times:

Quoting Erikgnoha (Reply 12):
Epale Luis, I don't think this is going to be a problem because I am flying on Sunday. The traffic jam will be going to Caracas, people who is coming back from the beach and stuff. But thanks anyway!!

do not forget that the they are closing often sundays the trocha going down at afternoon to serve exclusiv the cars going form vargas to caracas....



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineErikgnoha From Venezuela, joined Jun 2006, 214 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6289 times:

Quoting Avianca (Reply 15):
do not forget that the they are closing often sundays the trocha going down at afternoon to serve exclusiv the cars going form vargas to caracas....

That's right!! Maybe I'll have to go to CCS through the Carretera Vieja (old road). Thank you Avianca.



Venezuela, donde los suenos renacen
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