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.
Photo © Jay Selman
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
Photo © Carlos Borda
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!
PS.: Viva Colombia!