Here's the return trip report...
dep. 9:20 PM on-time
Sadly - very sadly - my fatastic trip to Colombia came to end. We took an omnibus from the center of Medellin to the airport and got there about 2 hours before departure. It was a bit of a clumsy check-in in that it took nearly 45 minutes from beginning to end; bags needed to be recheked as the agent first tagged them only to JFK and later was told she could check them to BOS - took a while to get that cleared up. Then, we needed an extension in our passports - a small formality but still needed to go to a separate desk. Then, back to the AV counter only to be sent to another AV counter to pay a tax which was not collected on the our tickets - $60 USD. Then, finally got our boarding passes. Phew.
We still has some time to kill and I was hoping to get a Mimo's ice cream but it had closed earlier so we settled for pastry from Santa Elena and a cafe con leche - delicioso! The JMC airport is very nice but seems (to me) to be underused. Very few flights - although, in truth, it was late. We went to the gate and waited for our flight.
EI-CEQ is still in the Summa livery. The interior was very clean and the crew, again, professional and friendly. We were seated in 18DE on the "3 side" with another passenger at the window. Because the flight was not full we moved to the A and C seats in row 18. Pushed back on time and roared down RWY 36 soon after. VERY quick flight but still had a beverage service. The passenger behind us was playing his CD player during descent and landing - the FAs couldn't have noticed as they were already strapped in...
Soon enough, on the ground at Eldorado. We stopped short of the gate and most of the plane jumped out of their seats - not a word from the FAs until we started to move again and then some passengers just sat on the armrests. A little sloppy...
dep. 11:55 PM on -time
Disembarked at the national terminal Puente Aereo and after a short walk, got on a shuttle bus to the main terminal. Great tour of the ramp! Lots of AV planes, LAS 727s and a DC-9, Sucre 737 and a 727 (with a weird "thumbs-up" logo on the tail), Aero Republica MD-80s at the gates and a Mexicana A320 too. Eldorado is a little "used" looking in the check-in area but still easy to navigate. Would be nice to see a bit of a face-lift...
Went through DAS and security and the to the gate area (C5 for our flight). A security check before entering the gate area too!
There was an Aeropostal MD-80 near our gate on pushback... I was pleased to see that AV0020 was assigned to a 767 in the new color scheme - beautiful!
We boarded and were a bit disappointed to see that our seats 9AC were bulkhead seats - ugh. Can't stretch your legs like when you have a seat in front of you as there in nowhere to put your feet (like under the seat). No window either! Ugh. The new interior is really pretty - dark blue with spashes of red and yellow (national colors). The crew uniforms are SO classy with the hats and ruanas/capes. Very attractive people too!
Only small complaint was that the crew allowed passengers to switch seats and stand while on pushback. I guess that the US carriers are more worried about being sued if a passenger falls if the plane stops suddenly?
A quick take-off and we're off to JFK.
Hot towels were given soon after reaching altitude and dinner service soon followed with the drink cart directly behind - noce to get both at once. The meal was really tasty - a cold salad, papaya, bread, and cake (veg. meal). Lights were dimmed during the movie - "In Her Shoes" - and most of the cabin was fast asleep. Not comfortable seats for sleeping - legroom issue - but after 5 hours we were on the ground at JFK. T4 is nice compared to what it was like before, but there were NO US immigration officers for our flight! We had to wait about 10 minutes for a few to show up. Customs was a breeze.
Ours bags were tagged to BOS but there was no one at the transfer desk so we to schlep our bags over to T3 on the train. So much for the convenience of having our bags checked all the way through!
DL5288 operated by Comair
dep. 10:25 AM 70 minutes late
All I can say about Delta's T3 - formerly Pan Am's Worldport - is Yuch. It's in bad shape - paint peeling, birds poop on the seats!, dirty. Just Yuch.
We hoped to switch to a 7:15 AM departure but it was delayed until after 11 AM.
So we walked around after checking in - bags were retagged yet again. Not much to see but some cool planewatching; SV 777, TG A340-500, SA A340, RG 777. Our flight was delayed due to weather in BOS...
The Comair CRJs at the gates were really sad looking - paint peeling, dirty, and just used looking. When we boarded, the interior wasn't much better. Not criticizing, just observing!
I was seated in 6D and my partner in 11A - short flight so no big deal. Being a little more critical here; our FA looked as if she were to smile, her face would crack and fall off. "Professional" is OK, but try to look like you're in a good mood!
Quick flight - no need for words from our FA as she just handed out a basket of snacks and served drinks. Oh well.
The CRJ landing is always eye-opening; nose down and pretty hard plus with a lot of noise from the landing gear. A quick taxi and we were at our stand at Term. A and disembarked in the freezing drizzle. What a change form the sunny beaches of Cartagena!
*I still have to report of my SAM MDE-CTG-MDE flights! But, that will be a separate trip report...