Dear all today I would like to tell you in this tripreport about my last trip to South America.
This time it was a 2weeks trip to Medellin Colombia.
I booked the tickets for the travell date 25 of April 2004 with the first leg on IB
-3513 the first IB
flight out of Frankfurt this day to MAD
with conection to IB
I arrived at terminal 2 where Iberia has there operation in Frankfurt at 05:30 am. I had to wait like 20 minutes before the Iberia employees opend the check-in desk.
I checked in, and I got a window seat on both legs, the short-houl and the long-houl.
After the successful check-in, my decision was to get a nice breakfast in the german biggest McDonald´s restaurant what is located in the middle of Frankfurts terminal 2, because already at the check-in desk the new IB
"glorius lowcost-service" was praised.
After a nice breakfast I decide to go too the gate. The security check was very quick due it was sunday morning and beside my flight there were only some other thinly booked hub flights of the other european carrier like (BA, KL
After a short march I achieved the pre-gate of the flight, because the boarding gate was still closed. After 10 minutes the Iberia operations-team arrived the gate and opend it.
Just befor the boarding the gate was really full with travellers for this flight. First I thought the flight will be booked very light. It was a 90 % load factor in eco and at least 80% of them had conection flights ex MAD
to the Americas (SJU
, GYE, SDQ
The boarding process was very quick and after 15 minutes the dors of the aircraft a MD
-87 was closed.
The status of the cabin and the seats were just Iberia standart, not really scruffy but also not the best. Engines where started and the push-back beguns. We started the way to the western runway of the airport, the way is relativ long like 5 minutes, the time was practiced to show the passengers the securtiy issues over monitors which are located every 3 rows in the IB
It was a nice rolling take off, with a fast climbing rate. After 20 minutes we got the aircraft altitude and I decided to sleep a little bit, for shure I was a little bit tired, because the night before I didn´t sleep anything. Uncosidered I get my sleep because there was no free in flight service on this 150 minutes morning trip.
In dreams the flight was gone proverbial in flight....20 minutes before arriving Barajas I get up and had the chance to admire the ambit of Madrid area. We get an on-time and a smoth landing at Barajas Airport what is not sure for all flights due the strong cross-winds witch are often in this area.
Our MD87 was adding to the big Iberia fleet and the usual South-American carriers and for sure the other spanish carrier (Air Pullmantur, Air Plus Comet, Air Europe...) at the airport.
The aircraft was positionated direclty to the terminal what in the moment is not naturally at Barajas (ok all will be change with the new terminal).
I seek the way to the conection bus, who leaves to the othe terminals at the Airport. But it is really not a problem because you can go with all the people who just arrived from all over Europe to get the conections to the Americas. The transfer is really easy comparated with all the other chaos at Barajas.
I arrived with the bus the terminal after 10 minutes, and I get another security check to get in the terminal. Just get through the passport control and get in the part of ther terminal for the
-non Schengen- flights.
I decided to buy a nice cheese-sandwich because it was now 11:30 am and I get only the breakfast early morning at Mc-Donalds in Frankfurt, and I also didn´t await a big meal on the IB
flight to BOG
After enjoying the sandwich the boarding started for my flight IB
-6741. It was all without any problem, just wondering for me because like 2 meters left of the gate was another flight boarding, IB
flight to UIO
/GYE. In past times my boardings on long houl flights with IB
was a totally chaos.
At the gate there were again as the last flights the "very friendly" securtiy personnel. I thought I was not boarding a flight, no I am thought I was a prisoner on a transport....
The aircraft for this flight was an Airbus A-340-300, the normally type for the Bogotá legs (somites they are using also the A-340-600)
The boarding was very quick like 10 minutes very uncommon for these types of long-houl flights, but the loadfactor was only 50% on eco this day. Door was closed and the last freight and baggage ULD´s were loaded into the cargo sections.
The loadfactor was very nice these day for the passengers because so we get all at least 2 seats, perfect for sleeping. Engines started and push-back beguns. The A-340 started the way to the runway, before us there were 3 Iberia European flights, the Air Canada flight to YYZ
and a Delta with destination ATL
Our baby beguns the rolling and for the 340 normally we needed a big part of the runway, and the Airbus rised smooth from the runway. This day the flight was packed with freight...
The aircraft turned left with direction to LIS
and after 40 minutes we arrived the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and in the same time our flightlevel.
After 1 hour all passenger get a drink and some nuts. I took a can of coke enjoyed the nuts.
The meal service started good 50 minutes after the first service. I don´t know but it seems that on Eco with Iberia you don´t has the choice between two differnt entrees. I get tablet with a small salat, a bun, a piece of cake a portion of a not really hot pasta with tomato sauce. It was not the best but also not the worst meal, the only think what was amazing that this was the exact meal what I had 2 years ago on the same route. Normally I know that the airlines at least every 3 month chances there meals.
After the meal we passed already the Azores I decided to sleep some more. After a nice good sleep of 3 hours o woke up and diced to go to kitchen to drink somthing. A nice surprise of Iberia is that they serve beside water, soda´s, juices also cookies and small ham sandwiches.
Get two sandwiches an a cane of coke.
The flight was very smooth without any turbulences and very comfortable due the low loadfactor. Now we passed the first Caribbean Islands (Guadeloupe, Martinique...) and in my memory was that now the second boardservice would begun in some time.
We crossed the Southamerican Coast over between Caracas and Valencia in Venezuela, and a cold meal was served. Also the same as last time (2 years ago) really good. Some cold cuts, a salad with beans, a piece of cake and 2 buns.
After the meal the approach to Bogota El Dorado beguns. Every time I see the Colombian highlands it is very very nice and speical moment for me. It is every time a nice approach but also not really safe the slide between all this mountains.
After some turns arround over Bogotá we get the clearance for final approach at 03:00pm Colombian local time. Nice and smooth landing on the newer runway at El Dorado International Airport.
On the way to the terminal we passed the international Cargo Terminal where a Martin Air MD11 freighter was ready to start for the trip to europe, full with Colomiban export flowers and fruits.
Just some minutes after us also the Air France A-340-300 from Parid CDG
arrived at Bogotá.
Sadly the AF
flight get first the order to go to the gate. Now it was for sure that on the immigration it would be a totally caos.
Ok now it was our turne to go to the gate. After the deboarding the passengers were on the way to the immigrations officers. Just arrirved and the expected chaos was perfect with only 3 immigrations officers for a full Air Fance A340 and a half full Iberia A340.
Sadly some minutes after us also arrived some passengers from Lan Chiles flight from MIA
After 60 minutes and checking my dates the officer stamped my passport and I was immigrated into Colombia. In the very small baggage hall I found in witin 5 minutes my baggage. It was really a relief for me to found it within 5 minutes because Iberia is well known in order to lose baggage.
Ok now on turn was the customs clearance with the Colombian DAS, what was without any problems, not normall because the customs in Colombia can be very nerving.
Just alongside the customs, Avianca has there Transfer-Desk. I checked with a nice girl the possibiltys with the next flight to Rionegro, this airport is ussed for the operations of the City of Medellin, for this flight I only had a stand-by ticket. She announced me that the next flight to MDE
was cancelled and due this the next after this overbooked. Ok I decided to check in for the Avianca flight from BOG
I tooked the shuttle bus to the Puente Aero, Aviancas terminal for the domestic shuttle flights.
The bus transfer was like 10 minutes. Arrived at the Terminal and decided to buy me a bottle of water and to wait still the flight.
I decided to go again to check in to know if there was any possibility for the first flight to MDE
. The staff told me to wait 20 minutes again and than to come again. Ok after the 20 minutes I went again to the check-in and I was passed to the gate. Talked there with the staff and ok, there was on seat left, perfect! I got the flight at 06:00pm.
This time it was a packed MD
-83, also a good and quick boarding of the plane. Doors closed and the aircraft was on the way for the takeoff. The take off was done on time and the bord service begun for the short 25 minutes flight. Every passenger received a piece of cake and had the choice of colombian coffee, water, coke or colombian soda. The service was finished and we arrived the Jose Maria Cordova Airport in Rionegro.
After leaving the plane I tooked my baggage after 10 minutes, it was checked again by Colombian Customs without any problems and I was ready for my 2 weeks vacation.
Hope you enjoyed this trip report.