Photo © Renato Salzinger
We had lunch at Friday´s and then took US-1 towards the area of Fort Lauderdale, left the car in Alamo and arrived to FLL a little early for a flight that would depart something around 6pm. More exactly we made it to the T4 counters at 2:35 in the afternoon. We did the line and when it was our turn the friendly (and hot) girl checked us in and told us good, and bad, very bad news.
First came the good ones:
"Equipment has changed because of technical difficulties with the original scheduled aircraft for this flight. It will now be operated by a 767-200ER instead of the usual 757"
Wow! A 767-200, very cool indeed. I had been wishing to fly one of those short babes for a while. But then came the bad news: "But the plane hasn´t even arrived in BOG from its destination, Rio de Janeiro, so, scheduled departure time is now 10:45pm."
She gave us a smile and a ticket to buy dinner at Sbarro´s. We had nowhere to go, because we weren´t willing to pay for a cab to Las Olas. The rest of the afternoon we spent viewing landings from a bench. We went to Sbarros to get some pizza, and it had just closed. That meant we had to wait for dinner to be served inflight, so, we went out for a while. At 9:50, we came in again and suddenly the happiest event of the day happened: "AV 0036 from Bogota is landing right now, please proceed to the customs". We walked to the customs area which now only had Colombian passengers and 1 american guy. The officials were rude and made everyone take their shoes off. Ahhh, those customs officials always underestimate a Colombians creativity to do illegal stuff (one of gods gifts to the colombian race). Our assigned gate was H8, so we went to the waiting room and there it was, our 767 being catered at a very high speed, since it only had 35 minutes left for departure. I saw a green thing in one of the desks, went to check and it was a smiley face pin from JetsGo. It was nice and no one was looking, so it accidentally fell into my pocket. I sat down and tried to have a little nap. Saw a PanAm (mark 3) 727 taxi in the ramp and on to the runway. 5 minutes later we were called to board the aircraft. It was 10:19. Our seats were in row 17, so we were in the second group. We came in, and I noticed that the aircraft had the new interiors, with butterflies all over the seats and the belts. This time we were nearer the main screen, so we saw the safety video perfectly. We were welcomed by a very sorry crew who apologised like 3 times when giving us the flight details.
Flight time was scheduled to be of 3:05 hours, five minutes less than what the VX A320s took to fly the route. The movie that was being shown was Radio. FAs came around giving hot towels and headphones. Scheduled arrival time at Bogota ElDorado International was 1:10am. Suddenly, the aircraft started roaring and i noticed we were taking off. The 767 was really loaded so it took us 38 seconds to make it. We went straight into the atlantic ocean and the pilot did a really crazy turn, everyone was terrified for a second. My sister said "Que pedazo de guevón, acaso esta borracho!" which means "What a piece of jerk, is he drunk!" I laughed, since its always funny to hear an 8 year old swearing. She was lucky mom didnt hear her, because she was in the middle seat with dad and my brother, and we were aside the window. We saw how the Miami metro area became farther and farther, and realised that our trip was soon to be over. Some 20 min. later, the belt signs went off and immediatly FAs started drink and food service. When they were 2 rows from us, a really heavy turbulence started and a male FA that was serving a drink, spilled it over the aisle, so food service was suspended while the turbulence shook the aircraft like mad, i hoped it ended soon, but 4 minutes later it became really scary. I didint care, since i was starving. But while the crazy ride, there was a dead-like slince in the cabin, many passengers were horrified. Well, the stupid wind finally stopped attacking the plane, so food service started again. Choice was of A. cold tuna salad and B. Chicken Fingers. My sister chose the chicken and i the tuna. I took Colombiana for a drink (the best of all sodas, you gotta try it), which i had (first time outside colombia) drank in New York 13 days ago at a Colombian restaurant called Natives. That said, i really missed it. My sister ordered Pepsi, and when she finished it she fell asleep. I extended my legs in the generous space provided between the seats, (again 33"-34") and ate my tuna salad which was delicious, and my sisters chicken fingers, which were really good. Then i tried the dessert, which tasted like some kind of soap and camembert cheese fusion, so i dropped it, it was GROSS.
The movie started and FAs started picking up the trays. I watched it and it appeared kinda good, the cast was not great (only Cuba Gooding Jr. was recognizable) but the topic it treated was very important. I recommend it. Well, when it was over, according to the captain, we were already over Monteria, a that meant we were 40 minutes away from BOG. The night was clear so we could see all the towns built around the mountains, that, for me, is one of the most beautiful things of flying in Colombia. Some 15 minutes after, seatblet sign went on and FAs came around collecting headphones and in-flight shopping catalouges (i bought two Godiva chocolate boxes). Soon after, hot towels were passed and then blankets were collected. I snached two safety cards after the FAs sat down. We were asked to fill the immigration cards and after i started seeing familiar lands. We were over my beloved Bogota´s beautiful green countryside. We passed mosquera and the cabin crew came around opening windows and telling people to straighten their seats. Landing gear came down, and a slight turbulence hit us. I then saw the city. We would land on runway 13R. 5..4..3..2..1..Srheeeesh. 45 seconds it took to the breaks to stop us (we are at 2650m over sea level) and while taxing, we were welcomed in spanish and english (like when giving instructions) by the crew. We had arrived exactly 4:47 hours late. We went to the intl. terminal, in which only a CM 738 was overnighting. The crew waved us goodbye and we went to immigration, which was empty except for the sleepy officials. Unlike in FLL, they were friendly, but kinda slow (hey, working late hours is not easy) they revised our passports and immigration cards and let us on. Then we picked our luggage at the recently renovated area, and on we walked to the icy intl. arrivals door. There, dads chaffeur was waiting for us and took us home. That was one of the nicest vacations i had ever, but it had come to an end.
Service: 7.5 (FAs nice, except for the rude guy, kinda unprofessional, really bad movie)
Punctuality: 8.5 (only 9 minutes late, but late at an off-peak hour for departures)
Catering: 2 (really bad hamburger, hey, its a 5 hour flight)
Arrival: 10 (fast de-plaining, fast customs)
Aircraft: 8.5 (really nice interior, bathrooms could use a little help, lack of screens)
Total: 73% (overall OK)
Song 2030 JFK-FLL
Service: 10 (really nice, polite and professional FAs, great entertainment)
Punctuality: 8 (departed 30 min. late, but it was peak time)
Catering: 9 (excellent food, a little overpriced)
Arrival: 7 (had to wait for the bags for a long time)
Aircraft: 10 (Song´s 757s are way better than DL mainline)
Total: 88% (an incredible flight, except for the arrival)
AV 0037 FLL-BOG
Service: 9 (really excellent FAs, great movie)
Punctuality: 3 (almost 5 hours late, but they were very concerned and took good care)
Catering: 9 (really good food, except for the dessert)
Arrival: 8.5 (everything OK, but very slow deplaining and customs)
Aircraft: 9.75 (only the screens missing, the rest, marvelous)
Total: 78,5% (a nice flight)