abrelosojos
Posts: 4049
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:34 am

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 065
Flight Category: J-ILR (See Report End)
Date: 17 Jan-09 (See Report End)
SDT/SAT/Dur/Delay: 1530/1130+1/12:30 hrs (Delayed 00:40)
Flight: ConViasa V0 3006, 6,584 miles
Routing: CCS-DAM
Aircraft: 342
Seat: Business “Clase Ejecutiva”, 1L

I > Background:
While I live in Caracas, I had never written a report from here because most of the flights were covered well by fellow Venezuelan A.Netters, and because many of my ex-CCS flights are either to the U.S. (JFK) or to Germany (FRA). Moreover, I kind of “saved myself” to write a memorable report on a memorable journey. I had always wanted to take the flight to Damascus and then onwards to Teheran. An opportunity presented itself that was too hard to resist and provided the perfect backdrop to my first report ex-Venezuela, and one which I think is truly unique. Fellow Venezuelan A.Netter “Avianca” and I tried to coordinate this trip together … but my last minute planning probably drove Andreas mad  Smile … don’t worry, we will cover TK’s GRU-DKR-IST together?

I had plans to go to Cairo for a last minute engagement and could fly the usual LH route or via Damascus onwards to Cairo on Egypt Air. Given the prices, it was a no-brainer … it appealed to me to finally do the routing and to my bank balance as well. The LH fare was almost double!

This is the first trip report on CCS-DAM, on ConViasa’s international venture, and in J class of this insane routing.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
ConViasa is the state-owned airline based in Caracas. It operates services to mostly domestic destinations and flies a lone 342 on a “friendship route” to THR via DAM. Good contacts of mine in the industry tell me that it plans to use their 737 aircraft to link CCS with PTY, BOG, and possibly MAO.

Now before I delve into this report, let me be emphatic in saying that the CCS-DAM-THR route makes as much commercial sense as any other route flown due to political and geo-strategic considerations. Thus, it would be positive to have this report and ensuring commentary focus on true aviation joy than on geo-political merits. Besides in today’s world where half the countries have nationalized companies, all lines are blurred anyways  Wink.

After trying to ticket on various Venezuelan websites (Rumbo and Despegar), I decided it was better to call ConViasa and make a reservation and then pick up the ticket at the airport. This actually worked out very well as I was able to go to the airport and just pick the ticket up. Of course, this meant that things were going to happen the old fashioned way – no advanced seat selection and no website where you could edit/book/modify reservations and/or make seat selections. Interestingly though, ConViasa does have a rather sharp looking website: www.conviasa.aero where you can make bookings for domestic operations.

b) At Airport:
I arrived at Maiquetia early to give plenty of time to buy the ticket, check-in, and pay the annoying Latin departure tax. Since I spend more time at CCS than at my own apartment, I was also hoping to have a café with a good friend (pretty high-up) on the hopes of getting a tour of the 342 prior to departure. More on that later.
Upon arrival at CCS, I made my way to the ConViasa counter at the far right hand of the terminal. For those familiar with the layout, the counters are right next to the LH one and were already starting to get busy due to the throngs of crowds lining up for the CO and AZ departures. Already 4 hours from departure, the line had formed for check-in. There was a separate queue for J class passengers and soon I queued in to pay for my ticket. I was greeted by a friendly ConViasa employee who was amused at my last minute J purchase. While the ticket was booked as an “e-ticket”, he proceeded to write me a hand-written paper ticket! The ticket stock was in beautiful orange and immediately transported me to the glamorous days of air travel. It did not stop there. Lining up at the ConViasa counter I imagined what it must have felt in the early days of aviation as a select few got together to board on a remarkable voyage. After my ticket was issued, I was checked in by the same Venezuelan man who issued me a boarding pass and was surprised that I did not have any bags to check. He said that “it had never happened before!” Looking around, the faces and nationalities were not the usual mix I was used to. Today’s flight was going to have an incredible 24 passengers. An entire 342 with 24 passengers – 3 of us in J and 21 in Y. Interestingly, 15 of the 21 and 2 of the 3 would get off in DAM. Apparently, there are more connection possibilities and O&D demand to DAM than THR (or, “IKA” as the staff call it.) Apparently, a “popular option” is to fly to DAM and then drive to BEY. Another interesting point was that there were several connecting passengers including many from BOG and at least 1 Iranian gentleman arriving on TACA from GUA. Around me, the other J class pax included a Venezuelan passport holder and an Indian passport holder; Y was primarily Syrian, Iranian, a Malay, a man from Brunei (!), 3 Colombians and an assortment of Venezuelans. Its not everyday that a flight from Latin America to Middle East can claim such exotic cargo … oh, and don’t forget this Liechtenstein passport holder who exited CCS on his VZ passport and entered Egypt on the other. At the check-in counter, the Venezuelan staff was stalked by the rather nasty Iran Air airport manager. Within the aviation circle in Venezuelan, this man was known to be a bitter nasty hateful man with more contempt for woman than the Taliban at its peak. One chat with him during the check-in process confirmed why he came with such ill-repute.

After check-in and then paying the airport tax (ok, am I the only one who fumbles with that annoying tax scanning automatic door entry mechanism), I proceeded for a rather efficient security. Just prior to doing immigration, my friend (pretty-high up man) appeared. Pretty much on time as I could not have gone anywhere with him had I cleared immigration. He invited me for a quick café and then my nagging won him over and he took me to the ConViasa hanger to see the beautiful 342 bird. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, they had taken this mythical 342 out of the hangar … so I ended up sitting in his jeep, having a café, and looking at the V0 hangar and the ATR aircraft right outside it. After thanking him profusely, I made it back to the airport, re-did security and immigration and then went to explore CCS.

As I said, this was no normal J class experience. This was reinforced by the fact that V0 gives NO lounge access to its J class pax; something unique especially given how long the upcoming flight was going to be. I will come back to these unique features several times in the report. Given the small passenger load, boarding was not really announced … and after a 40 minute delay (apparently, flight had not been cleared), the guy at the check-in basically started asking for boarding passes signaling that boarding had commenced. Inside the jet bridge, there was another security check before boarding the 342. As soon as I boarded, I was welcomed warmly by 2 FA’s. I was escorted to my seat and the crew member helped me put my bag in the overhead rack. Looking around, my nostalgic journey to the “old days of aviation” continued looking at the pre-historic seats of this ex-Air Comet aircraft.

Immediately after sitting down and looking around, the purser came by, greeted me by name, and introduced himself. In a first in all my travels, he also introduced the 2 other crew members who would be “looking after me” for the flight. I thought it was a very nice gesture. The female FA immediately brought me a wet towel to relax and asked what I wanted to drink. Seeing the open bottle of Moët et Chandon, I immediately asked for a Mimosa, and she smiled and got me one. Even prior to take-off, she would come by several times to refill. I remain convinced she wanted to get me drunk  Smile.

Boarding completed with a manual safety announcement, I amused myself at how different this flight was. First off, the security card had both Iran Air and ConViasa – ensuring it becomes the first security card I “lift”; probably the first J class ultra-long haul experience where you get no amenity kit (though, I should not complain as even SQ gives a stingy pouch these days) and definitely the only ultra-long haul airline in recent memory with no in-flight magazine. But then again, why create branded products when you are flying a route strictly for geo-political importance?

Load as announced was 24 passengers.

Airport - External:

(Caracas Airport)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2311.jpg

Check-in:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2301.jpg

Airport - Internal:

(Internal)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2300.jpg

(FIDS)


(Post Security)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2314.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2315.jpg

Scenes of the tarmac:

(ConViasa hangar area)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2304.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2305.jpg

(TACA)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2316.jpg

Lounge

NONE

Boarding:

(Assorted and diverse passenger mix)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2318.jpg

III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
ConViasa’s take off roll for this 342 operation took forever. You can look at the video to ascertain yourself. This happened with 24 pax onboard. Can you imagine this bird taking off with a full or maximum payload on such a long flight?

ConViasa’s service schedule was actually impressive. Start off with towel service, and pre-departure drinks (lots of it), after take off more drinks and a full supper service. 90 minutes prior to landing, a breakfast service after a warm towel service.

Several fascinating aspect of the actual flight must be addressed:

1/ Routing: Fascinating as it did not overfly any of Africa. Instead, it crossed the North Atlantic to directly take the Mediterranean onwards to Syria (see moving map). This meant the aircraft was largely over water and provided some fascinating views out of the window during the flight.

2/ Passengers: Most of the passengers were either playing cards amongst themselves, watching the movies, or just sleeping.

3/ Atmosphere: The atmosphere on board was surreal. Seriously, I wish I could describe it. It was probably the most diverse flight I had taken. I made it a point to get acquainted with several people including an Indian consultant (apparently, the cheapest BOM-GRU ticket is on IR stock), the Malay who was working in Caracas, some shady characters, the Venezuelan oil businessmen headed to Teheran, the Colombian with mixed Lebanese heritage who goes to college in the U.S. Just overall fascinating. Each of us connected by this random flight linking two totally random places.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
ConViasa’s 342 (ex-Air Europa) looked very smart in its orange livery. I actually think it is one of the best looking 340’s out there, and the entire orange branding actually very visually appealing. Inside the cabin it is another matter altogether. The airline has retained the tired Air Europa interiors and have not bothered to do any major work on them. This results in many of the seats having minor scratches, bents, and tears and definitely showing their age and lack of being taken care of.

While legroom is generous, these old styled seats have lived their useful purpose and I would never venture to repeat this flight unless I had to. I understand many airlines still have these J seats, but that does not make them acceptable. A lie-flat is the minimum I expect from any airline wanting to fly intercontinental routes.

Given that I was a pampered brat not used to these seats to sleep, I actually went to the Y cabin, took the middle 4 seats, and slept like a baby! With 21 pax in Y, every passenger pretty much had their own set of 4 seats with plenty to spare!

One thing … the bathrooms were kept spotless during the whole flight. Then again, it must be easy catering to only 24 of us.

Aircraft:

(@ CCS)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2319.jpg

(Upon arrival @ DAM, I snuck in a few pictures despite being warned by the Lebanese and Syrians)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2406.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2407.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2408.jpg

(I love this shot)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2409.jpg

Views from Aircraft:

(Busy CCS during the afternoon rush hour)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2329.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2330.jpg

(Thought it was interesting to see this new livery RG along with the preceding picture where you have the old RG logo with GOL written on it – says a lot about how the merger worked)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2331.jpg

(See how much of the runway used – and hear the awesome noise of the engine)


(Views during the many stages of flight with the beautiful hair-dryers working their thing)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2333.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2361.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2380.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2382.jpg

(Crazy turbulence prevalent throughout the flight)


General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

(J Class Controls)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2325.jpg

(Empty Y Cabin)


(Seat legroom)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2327.jpg

Seat Recline + Angle View:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2370.jpg

(Jaja … I had the best access to the bar in the house … locked and put away during take-off and landing)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2326.jpg

Cabin:

(J Cabin)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2320.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2338.jpg

(Eerily empty Y Cabin – front section)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2344.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2343.jpg

(Back section)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2339.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2342.jpg

(Very basic lav)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2368.jpg

c) Meal + Beverage:
As mentioned, upon boarding, there was a generous alcohol run complete with Moët et Chandon (which instantly got me happy with approval – many airlines provide cheap champagne these days in J). After take-off, there are more alcohol runs (I continued with my mimosas) followed by a full supper service. Given the non-traditional flight, I was worried how the meals would be … and was actually not disappointed. An excellent appetizer of salmon and ham on bread made way to a very tasty shrimp and avocado salad. This was followed by a just-above-average chicken with saffron rice (the chicken belonged to Y) with generous supply of yummy warm bread. Finally, fresh fruits were brought along with cheese and dessert. All of it, was really good. Everything was finished with coffee, tea, and an array of digestifs. Actually, the digestif collection was pretty impressive: brandy, grappa, whiskey, sherry, port, Madeira, and even baileys. We Venezuelans do know how to drink!

90 minutes prior to landing, a full breakfast service was in order. It included freshly squeezed orange juice (they have a blender on-board), fresh fruits, a croissant, and wrapped scrambled eggs. It was fulfilling and hit the right spot.

Now coming to the weirdness of this flight – it was probably the first intercontinental J flight that I recall that did not have menus distributed … probably because none of the food had any options! All strange and part of the charm of flying this route I guess. One thing to note though – the quality of the food was definitely not industry leading, but better or on-par of several airlines I have flown and reviewed (including LH and AF J).

Throughout the flight, there was a bar and fresh fruits for your taking. In fact, the alcohol policy was probably nearing the benchmark of liberalness … Air India  Smile. I could not have imagined flying this on Iran Air without any alcohol … though, the 74L probably would have compensated for that!

(Take off drink)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2323.jpg

(Post take-off drink and excellent appetizer)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2353.jpg

(Excellent salad)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2358.jpg

(Average main)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2359.jpg

(Fruits and dessert)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2363.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2365.jpg

(Café at the end … gotta love the IR creamer  Smile)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2366.jpg

(Breakfast with hot towel)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2383.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2384.jpg

(Bar at various stage of flight)




d) Inflight Entertainment:
The lack of any in-flight magazine stood out. IFE beckoned to the early days of PTV’s when having a tiny individual screen was revolutionary. In the J cabin, there are 6 non-AVOD movies shown including 1 Spanish and 5 English titles. Each of the movies had soundtracks in both languages. In the main cabin, it was several projector movies. Very old school and a re-creation of old world charm.

(Headphones and IFE unit)


(Map at various stages)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2328.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2347.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2375.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2381.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2387.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2389.jpg

(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2593.jpg

e) Crew:
Here is where ConViasa surprisingly shone. The crew was fantastic. Usually on Latin carriers, the crews are either a hit or miss … and are usually more average than not. I have received consistently exemplary service only on JJ and surprisingly on AR (but then again, I feel AR crew are very under-appreciated). LA crew have been great in J and terrible in Y. This crew could very well be working for a carrier in Asia. Their performance onboard was really good. From the moment I walked in, there was an immediate call to service including storing my bags, the immediate coat taking (remember my EY report?), introduction by the purser, continuous alcohol flow, checking-in with me through the flight, at the end of the flight all crew members thanking me for flying ConViasa. Of all though, my favourite moments were when the purser personally came to each passenger in J and told us of IFE options, drew out the screen, and explained the controls. Finally, when I mentioned I was flying this route to experience ConViasa and they made a small gift pack including a Conviasa blanket (LOL), a Conviasa lanyard, and some ConViasa stationary. To me, it was touching. This was a crew who are provided barely anything to serve their customers going out of their way to think outside the box. True, a small load might not have tested their true capacity; however, I think the way they carried themselves showed dignity and warmth that would translate in many operating environments.

IV> Post-Flight:
Damascus airport is a riot for any aviation geek. For some bizarre reason, ConViasa uses the shack called “terminal 2”. It is away from the main terminal and one gets the impression that it is used for “special flights”. Upon arrival, you are bussed to the building … which is totally out of some Hollywood hijack movie. Inside the terminal, you are grilled by immigration … then you go off to pick your bag, before returning to the most stringent custom check I have encountered. I mean, I seriously thought I was living in the 1980s in some Soviet country with significant import controls. The best way to describe everything was … think the exterior of the “Algiers airport” featured in Delta Force.

(Nearing Damascus)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2393.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2395.jpg

(DAM airport – T1)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2397.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2400.jpg

(Exotic movements)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2401.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2403.jpg

(Damascus Airport’s weird and sketchy terminal 2)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2404.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2405.jpg

(I risked the wrath and took pictures of the surreal arrivals section – these are definitely A.Net first I think – also, note the spelling of “PASPORT” – something out of a Hollywood movie for sure)




V> Impressions + Scores:
Let us be honest … there are many reasons why one would avoid flying ConViasa. First off, as a J pax, the lack of schedules and network and an interesting FFP are reasons enough to write it off. Moreover, a J experience with old generation seats (true, the same holds for many legacies), old generation IFE, no in-flight magazine, and no amenity kits would ensure that comfort on these flights take a back seat. However seriously, was I really flying to experience the wonder of ConViasa? Absolutely not! I was flying because I wanted to experience this amazing route which I can look back with fond memories. For those of us for whom flying has become routine, routes like this reinforce why we love the airlines and the joys of flying in the first instance; its ability to connect distant points and bring people together is really magical … and perhaps you need maniacal routes like this to remind you of it. Of course, the route wasn’t bad at all. The on-board service (food and beverage) was actually significantly higher than one would receive on most major brand names. Moreover, the service by the crew was absolutely fantastic – something more in line with what you would find on Asian carriers. Given the fare, I would definitely recommend flying ConViasa. Finally, for those aviation geeks reading this … do this before the route disappears. I give it 2 thumbs up! It is the our generation’s probably last few exotic route out there.

1.0 > RESERVATION: 7.0
2.0 > CHECK-IN: 8.0
0.5 > LOUNGE: 1.0
0.5 > BOARDING: 6.0
2.0 > SEAT: 6.0
0.5 > AIRCRAFT OVERALL AMBIENCE: 10.0
1.0 > IFE: 5.0
2.0 > CREW: 9.0
2.0 > FOOD: 6.5
0.5 > BEVERAGES: 9.5
0.5 > A.KITS + OTHER FREEBIES: 1.0
0.5 > DISEMBARKATION: 7.0
1.0 > ON-TIME RECORD: 7.5
WEIGHTED OVERALL IMPRESSION (WOI): 6.84
(Pre-flight WOI of all reviews: 6.51)
* Weighted Overall Impression (WOI) aligns scores with what matters most. Weights are indicated alongside each category.
(Scores are based on comparison with other airlines in THAT class of service – No comparison of Y vs. F for example)

VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(My blanket souvenir – others in preceding photos)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/V0%203006/IMG_2594.jpg

(Safety Card)
Live, and let live.
 
Carfield
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:59 am

Thanks for a fascinating report!

This report reminds me that sometimes those items, like amenity kits, printed menus, PJs... are not as important as attentive crew that can also make your flight just as memorable and interesting.

Convista is an interesting airline, and I agree with you - the food on ConVista looks better than LH J... the breakfast alone is more substantive than LH pre-arrival breakfast.

Thanks,
Carfield
 
semsem
Posts: 1621
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:06 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:49 am

Iran Air used to operate this route 1 x week with a 747SP. If I understand correctly this has been replaced by Conviasa 1 x week?
 
kiramakora
Posts: 470
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:00 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:45 pm

What an incredible journey. Alex, you have exceeded your own standards. This is probably one of the rarest trip reports and sure to go onto A.Net history. Thank you for doing this amazing trip and for sharing it with us.
 
ollieg84
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:19 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:17 pm

Fantastic report, but as you say the old-gen seats are completely unacceptable on an international carrier...

The lack of lounge access surprises me as well, as CCS boasts a lounge even accessible to Priority Pass holders:

Airport: caracas (MA) - Simon Bolivar International (CCS), International Terminal
Lounge: PREMIER CLUB
Location: Airside - after Security and Passport Control, walk to the right end of the Terminal Building. The Lounge is located on the left hand side after Boarding Gate 12.

Opening Hours: 05:00 - 22:00 daily. Hours may vary according to flight schedules.

Conditions: Dress code applicable (no shorts or cut-offs allowed).

Additional Information: Fax facilities are available upon request and are subject to payment.

Cheers,

Ollie
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15204
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:47 pm



Quoting Ollieg84 (Reply 4):
the old-gen seats are completely unacceptable on an international carrier...

Uh....this *is* Conviasa. What are you expecting? All you might get is an ancient recliner with Bolivarian lumbar support.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
akhmad
Posts: 2491
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:10 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Interestingly though, ConViasa does have a rather sharp looking website: www.conviasa.aero where you can make bookings for domestic operations.

Garuda offers online bookings for domestic flights as well. In addition the booking can only be made with credit cards issued by Indonesian banks.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Today’s flight was going to have an incredible 24 passengers. An entire 342 with 24 passengers – 3 of us in J and 21 in Y.

Wow! How can they make this route profitable?

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Actually, the digestif collection was pretty impressive: brandy, grappa, whiskey, sherry, port, Madeira, and even baileys. We Venezuelans do know how to drink!

I think I will consider a trip to Venezuela.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
3/ Atmosphere: The atmosphere on board was surreal. Seriously, I wish I could describe it. It was probably the most diverse flight I had taken. I made it a point to get acquainted with several people including an Indian consultant (apparently, the cheapest BOM-GRU ticket is on IR stock), the Malay who was working in Caracas, some shady characters, the Venezuelan oil businessmen headed to Teheran, the Colombian with mixed Lebanese heritage who goes to college in the U.S. Just overall fascinating. Each of us connected by this random flight linking two totally random places.

Looks like a movie to me.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
however, I think the way they carried themselves showed dignity and warmth that would translate in many operating environments.

I totally agree. The crew members are the ones who can make the difference.

Amazing trip report, Abrelosojos. Truly enjoyable.
 bigthumbsup 
Friends forever
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:09 pm

Hi Abrelosojos,

what a fantastic report - rare carrier, rare aircraft, exotic routing. I had wondered for a long time how ConViasa's flagship would be like.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
ConViasa’s 342 (ex-Air Europa)

The interior is probably not even Air Europa's. Prior to its delivery to ConViasa the aircraft was operated by Air France, Air Tahiti Nui and Air Bourbon.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
With 21 pax in Y, every passenger pretty much had their own set of 4 seats with plenty to spare!

What a terribly low load!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I snuck in a few pictures despite being warned by the Lebanese and Syrians)

Well done...  Wink


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15204
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:21 pm



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
What a terribly low load!

That was probably a good day too! Incidentally, AZ carries about the same number of pax per day between CCS and DAM that V0 does. Who knew.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
FLIEGER67
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:07 pm

Hey, Alex,

another remarkable experience, well done.

A nice set of pics showing your Conviasa way, for sure a great read.

Thanx for posting,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
LH459
Posts: 793
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:41 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:41 pm

Wow, those cabins were such a blast from the past!
Many thanks for delivering a truly fascinating report! I always seek out your reports, because they are so thorough. This one was no exception!
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
Elal772
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:25 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:02 pm

Great report!

your video was awesome! looked more like a ride at disneyland than a flight!
was the crew seated?

What were you impressions of DAM (they city, not airport  Smile) )
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4049
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:39 pm

What an incredible journey. Alex, you have exceeded your own standards. This is probably one of the rarest trip reports

Quoting Carfield (Reply 1):
Thanks for a fascinating report!

= Thanks a lot. It definitely was a memorable experience.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 1):
This report reminds me that sometimes those items, like amenity kits, printed menus, PJs... are not as important as attentive crew that can also make your flight just as memorable and interesting.

= Completely agreed!

Quoting Carfield (Reply 1):
the breakfast alone is more substantive than LH pre-arrival breakfast.

= Yup.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 2):
Iran Air used to operate this route 1 x week with a 747SP. If I understand correctly this has been replaced by Conviasa 1 x week?

= No. They do have a BSA with ConViasa though.

Quoting Ollieg84 (Reply 4):
Fantastic report, but as you say the old-gen seats are completely unacceptable on an international carrier...



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 5):
Uh....this *is* Conviasa. What are you expecting? All you might get is an ancient recliner with Bolivarian lumbar support.

= Ya - it is not like they are a network carrier ... having said that, there are a ton of carriers with these old-gens. In J, rattling off, all or part of their fleet have old-gen include CO, AR, OA, LH, KE, etc. Having said that, I still don't think it makes the product acceptable  Smile.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 6):
Wow! How can they make this route profitable?

= They don't  Smile.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 6):
I think I will consider a trip to Venezuela.

= You must. It is an incredible country and one of the best things I have done was to move here.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 6):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
3/ Atmosphere: The atmosphere on board was surreal. Seriously, I wish I could describe it. It was probably the most diverse flight I had taken. I made it a point to get acquainted with several people including an Indian consultant (apparently, the cheapest BOM-GRU ticket is on IR stock), the Malay who was working in Caracas, some shady characters, the Venezuelan oil businessmen headed to Teheran, the Colombian with mixed Lebanese heritage who goes to college in the U.S. Just overall fascinating. Each of us connected by this random flight linking two totally random places.

Looks like a movie to me.

= Jaja. It was.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 6):

Amazing trip report, Abrelosojos. Truly enjoyable.
bigthumbsup



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):

what a fantastic report - rare carrier, rare aircraft, exotic routing. I had wondered for a long time how ConViasa's flagship would be like.



Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 9):
Hey, Alex,

another remarkable experience, well done.

A nice set of pics showing your Conviasa way, for sure a great read.

Thanx for posting,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Quoting LH459 (Reply 10):
Wow, those cabins were such a blast from the past!
Many thanks for delivering a truly fascinating report! I always seek out your reports, because they are so thorough. This one was no exception!



Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 11):
Great report!

your video was awesome! looked more like a ride at disneyland than a flight!
was the crew seated?

= Thanks so much for the kind words. I truly enjoyed this experience.

Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 11):

What were you impressions of DAM (they city, not airport Smile) )

= It was interesting ...

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 8):

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
What a terribly low load!

That was probably a good day too! Incidentally, AZ carries about the same number of pax per day between CCS and DAM that V0 does. Who knew.

= Perhaps. Though, I tried to get onboard the DAM-CCS flight in December and it was sold out?!

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
debonair
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:03 pm

One of the BEST trip-reports ever! Congrats.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
pre-historic seats of this ex-Air Comet aircraft.

...maybe mixed up, ex UX.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
saying that the CCS-DAM-THR route makes as much commercial sense as any other route flown



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
IKA” as the staff call it.

I am sorry, IKA is the 3-LC-code of Theran's new INTERNATIONAL airport "Imam Khomeini"; THR is the code of the OLD Airport, now DOMESTIC airport "Mehrabad". AFAIK, there have been never flights between THR and CCS; but between IKA and CCS.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The airline has retained the tired Air Europa interiors



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Seat legroom)



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
The interior is probably not even Air Europa's. Prior to its delivery to ConViasa the aircraft was operated by Air France, Air Tahiti Nui and Air Bourbon.

Have a closer look on:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...565&searchid=114178&s=nui#ID114178

PS: check the bulhheads...

[Edited 2009-01-27 15:38:30]
 
Avianca
Posts: 5268
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:33 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:16 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
. Fellow Venezuelan A.Netter "Avianca" and I tried to coordinate this trip together ... but my last minute planning probably drove Andreas mad ... don't worry, we will cover TK's GRU-DKR-IST together?

Hi my friend....

yes the week before this weekend was crazy- most time no internet - some last minute projects at work and also a car-crash... nothing seriously but you know who it is in Venezuela...

Sounds great regarding GRU-DKR-IST, but lets try to plan it some days before ... jeje - well it looks like I will be relocated within some weeks out of Venezuela ... (but still in the region).
PM when you will be the next time in Caracas - maybe we can drink some glasses of scotch...  Smile

Maybe you will take the V0 trip soon again - if yes let me know - maybe for a short weekend in Damascus... let me know ...

BTW - GREAT REPORT

regards
Avianca
Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
 
RICARIZA
Posts: 2023
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:56 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:41 am

How surreal was that? Man, thank you for sharing and taking the risk for some pictures... 24 people on a 340? OMG!!

Thank you bud!!
I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
 
LatinPlane
Posts: 2471
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 1999 11:05 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:26 pm

Very nice trip report. Thanks for sharing what must be the most exotic route flown in Latin America.

It is worthy to remember that Iraq Airways once flew the Rio - Lisboa - Baghdad route. Many times the flight would continue to SCL to pick up secret cargo that Uncle Sam would donate to Saddam via Pinochet.


 Smile LatinPlane
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.
 
LatinPlane
Posts: 2471
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 1999 11:05 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:32 pm

By the way, I notice that the A340 has now been named? I can't read everything, but I see that "El Libertador". Are they referring to Simon Bolivar?

 Smile LatinPlane
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8120
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:38 pm

Great report and pictures!

Amazing stuff, what a route to fly!

The pax load is just amazing, you have to wonder what bthe average is.

Foods look pretty OK, better than some major US & European carriers seem to serve.

Loved the old seats through out the plane, it's like stepping back in time!

Regards

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4049
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:13 am



Quoting Debonair (Reply 13):
One of the BEST trip-reports ever! Congrats.

= Thanks mate.

Quoting Debonair (Reply 13):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
pre-historic seats of this ex-Air Comet aircraft.

...maybe mixed up, ex UX.

= Yes. Definitely mixed up. I think I mention UX in most other parts of the report. Problem is perhaps because I always interchange Air Europa, Air Madrid, and Air Comet. I know, bad for an aviation geek.

Quoting Debonair (Reply 13):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
IKA” as the staff call it.

I am sorry, IKA is the 3-LC-code of Theran's new INTERNATIONAL airport "Imam Khomeini"; THR is the code of the OLD Airport, now DOMESTIC airport "Mehrabad". AFAIK, there have been never flights between THR and CCS; but between IKA and CCS.

= I meant that the staff at CCS don't call it Teheran. They just pronounce it IKA.

Quoting Debonair (Reply 13):
Have a closer look on:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...565&searchid=114178&s=nui#ID114178

= Thanks. Guess the airline has been around the block.

Quoting Avianca (Reply 14):
Hi my friend....

yes the week before this weekend was crazy- most time no internet - some last minute projects at work and also a car-crash... nothing seriously but you know who it is in Venezuela...

Sounds great regarding GRU-DKR-IST, but lets try to plan it some days before ... jeje - well it looks like I will be relocated within some weeks out of Venezuela ... (but still in the region).
PM when you will be the next time in Caracas - maybe we can drink some glasses of scotch... Smile

Maybe you will take the V0 trip soon again - if yes let me know - maybe for a short weekend in Damascus... let me know ...

BTW - GREAT REPORT

regards
Avianca

= Andreas, sorry to hear about the accident. We will definitely plan the TK trip in advance. I am thinking June. Also, where are you being relocated to?

Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 15):
24 people on a 340? OMG!!

= I know. Though, reading some recent 777 loads, I don't feel that special anymore  Wink.

Quoting LatinPlane (Reply 16):
It is worthy to remember that Iraq Airways once flew the Rio - Lisboa - Baghdad route. Many times the flight would continue to SCL to pick up secret cargo that Uncle Sam would donate to Saddam via Pinochet.

= And then there was the classic MEA journey to GIG in the 1980s.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 18):
Great report and pictures!

Amazing stuff, what a route to fly!

The pax load is just amazing, you have to wonder what bthe average is.

Foods look pretty OK, better than some major US & European carriers seem to serve.

Loved the old seats through out the plane, it's like stepping back in time!

Regards

Mark

= Mark, thanks for the comments. Ya, food was actually pretty good. Ya - the seats were quite something.

Thanks for reading.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
johnboy
Posts: 2554
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 9:09 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:19 am

Great job and very interesting to read.

I wonder if the Iran Air people know about Tel Aviv on that inflight map?
 Wink
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4049
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:16 pm



Quoting Johnboy (Reply 20):
I wonder if the Iran Air people know about Tel Aviv on that inflight map?
Wink

= ... or the absolutely inordinate amounts of alcohol being consumed by the Syrians and Iranians on board in the Y-cabin  Smile.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
AwysBSB
Posts: 450
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:58 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:45 pm

Congratulations for this trip report, Abrelosojos!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
Wow! How can they make this route profitable?

Well, that is not their purpose.
A way Conviasa could gather more passengers to that route would be expanding its network to Brazil.
There many people in states of Sao Paulo, Parana and Minas Gerais with family in Syria and Lebanon or vice versa.
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:22 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 19):

= Yes. Definitely mixed up. I think I mention UX in most other parts of the report. Problem is perhaps because I always interchange Air Europa, Air Madrid, and Air Comet. I know, bad for an aviation geek.

Interestingly, the plane was once intended for Air Comet after a first attempt failed to transfer it to ConViasa in 2006.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
ronerone
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:18 pm

Hey Mr. A!

Excellent TR!

This has to be the most exotic (and ever so political) flight i have come accross! I simply must get on it! .. I actually was entertaining the idea back in the day when the IR 74L was flying this very route.


However, Conviasa seems like a great alternative, especially that its on the A342!!!

Thanks a lot for sharing this!

Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
LH4116
Posts: 1183
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:39 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:11 pm

Wow, Great report Alex!

Now that was maybe one of the very few exotic routes, I've ever seen on this forum. The A342, is also a rather exotic aircraft nowdays, and it's cool that you actually got to fly on it. Very old school.

The food looked nice, the quantity looked huge. To me it looked like a mixture between AF and LH's business class food. The crew sure didn't seem to go easy on the booze Big grin
I wonder if IR served booze on that sector, when they used to fly it.

Did you get a bad jet-lag, after consuming that big amount of alcohol? Big grin

Just to make myself clear: The starter salad looked very AF like. The main on the other hand looked very LH. The dessert looked like neither one of them. But those tumblers were the exact same as on AF, i think.

The cabin looked rather decent, the seats looked very similar to AF's old J product.

Thanks for the read!

Regards
Jonas
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
JRadier
Posts: 3943
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:36 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:14 pm



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 12):
= No. They do have a BSA with ConViasa though.

Does that mean the 747SP still operates?
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
 
dcajet
Posts: 621
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:36 am

Is that ZAM ZAM cola on the drinks cart? If so, even Axis of Evil cola offered by ConViasa for added realism!!!

Seriously, what a joke to fly an empty 340 half across the world to humor Chavez and Iran! Who are they kidding?

Alex, lucky you that you got to try this route before it goes the way of the dinosaurs. Great report!

L.
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4049
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:57 pm



Quoting AwysBSB (Reply 22):
A way Conviasa could gather more passengers to that route would be expanding its network to Brazil.
There many people in states of Sao Paulo, Parana and Minas Gerais with family in Syria and Lebanon or vice versa.

= Ya ... but as you have answered so correctly below, "it is not their purpose"  Smile.

Quoting AwysBSB (Reply 22):
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
Wow! How can they make this route profitable?

Well, that is not their purpose.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 23):
Interestingly, the plane was once intended for Air Comet after a first attempt failed to transfer it to ConViasa in 2006.


PH

= I learn something from you everyday. That is interesting in'nit?

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 24):
This has to be the most exotic (and ever so political) flight i have come accross! I simply must get on it! .. I actually was entertaining the idea back in the day when the IR 74L was flying this very route.

= Roni - you must do it!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 25):
Did you get a bad jet-lag, after consuming that big amount of alcohol? Big grin

= Ya - I actually stop drinking usually after the first couple of hours in a flight ... and drink over 6-8 glasses of water anyways.

Quoting JRadier (Reply 26):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 12):
= No. They do have a BSA with ConViasa though.

Does that mean the 747SP still operates?

= No. IR has a block seat agreement where they market a certain portion of the 340 seats.

Quoting DCAJet (Reply 27):
Seriously, what a joke to fly an empty 340 half across the world to humor Chavez and Iran! Who are they kidding?

= I honestly don't think anyone. Everyone (including the politicos) know this is a political route and its nationalized. But then again, in today's world, who are we to point fingers? Half the world has been nationalized anyways  Smile.

Quoting DCAJet (Reply 27):

Alex, lucky you that you got to try this route before it goes the way of the dinosaurs. Great report!

= I think so! I am really glad I was able to do it. Thanks so much for reading.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
trintocan
Posts: 2725
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:53 am

Thanks a lot for this Abrelosojos. This was a great report. Indeed this is quite an oddball route in the global scheme of things. An A340 from CCS to DAM with only 24 people on board! Conviasa is not an airline covered much on these boards so it is good to see a report about it. The food service looks quite good while the entertainment - well, it seems limited but then again not every airline is able to offer a very wide range. Certainly being on this unusual route would make up for lack of IFE.

Thnaks for the pictures too, they are very interesting indeed.

Salud.

TrinToCan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
abrelosojos
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:22 pm



Quoting Trintocan (Reply 29):
Thanks a lot for this Abrelosojos. This was a great report. Indeed this is quite an oddball route in the global scheme of things. An A340 from CCS to DAM with only 24 people on board! Conviasa is not an airline covered much on these boards so it is good to see a report about it. The food service looks quite good while the entertainment - well, it seems limited but then again not every airline is able to offer a very wide range. Certainly being on this unusual route would make up for lack of IFE.

Thnaks for the pictures too, they are very interesting indeed.

Salud.

TrinToCan.

= Thanks man. I'd fly this route even if food was worse and IFE non-existent. I cannot describe the feeling you get when you fly these routes. The romantic in me goes back to what pioneering airline passengers must have felt in the olden days of travel. People who fly regularly like me are jaded and need flights like these to re-ignite their love for flying and remind them of the incredible power of these machines to link seemingly unconnected places and bring the people together. It might sound cliched .. but, the ability of airlines to make our world smaller is truly powerful.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
MD11junkie
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:35 am

A,

This has got to be one of your best trip reports ever.

I always look forward to reading yours, as they're pretty objective and leave NO detail at all out. The problem is, since I don't travel in J, you help me dream about it with some facts.  Smile

Thanks for another excellent trip report... and those hair-dryers ARE exotic and VERY stylish!


Un abrazo,
Gaston.  Smile
There is no such thing as Boeing vs Airbus as the queen of the skies has three engines, winglets and the sweetest nose!
 
797
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:41 am

Hola Alex,

Well, to begin with I need to congratulate you for two things. First, what an amazingly written Trip Report. It kept me with my mouth wide open since I read the title for the very first time. Really, it was very enjoyable. Second, for being so brave into flying this old bird and going to DAM. Incredible, really.

Now, with regard to the airline, I must point out something (even though it might have some political matters within it). To begin with, this route (as you've mentioned) is extremely out of place. You said it does make sense, but the simple fact that this flight carried 24 people is more than enough to make it sense-less.

I am close to a pilot who flies for Conviasa and he told me that this flight exists purely for political reasons. Moreover, he assured that the airline has been in bankruptcy four times, and the government has simply injected money into it every single ocassion. Where I'm trying to get to is not a political debate, but an issue of responsibility that's completely lacking in the Venezuelan aviation system. How much money does this flight cost with 24 pax on board? The collected money from these pax are probably enough to cover the wages of the crew in that flight.

I surely don't want to get into this a lot deeper, but I just want you to think that the money that's being used to finance these out-of-mind flights, are coming from our pockets. The A342 whenever its not covering this route, is sitting under the hangar... wasting millions and being a cash sucker for the government and us...

Back to your flight, it's no surprise that the crew was so nice. They are Venezuelan, they have the quality, and most of all, they have to do their jobs!

Once again, congratulations and hope to see some more of these coming.

Thanks,

797
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flyboy7974
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:17 am

Maybe here then 797 or Abrelosojos can tell me since I don't know, what is the political connection between the two countries/geographical areas?

Loved this report, the picture with sun shining off the engine and the colors represent to me the colors of ConViasa, that bold fiery orange, that picture is awesome I think. It's just above caption that says "crazy turbulence" in flight.
 
eirik
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:28 am

Great report !  Smile

Actually; when I did THR-DAM-CCS on IR´s -SP nearly 2 years ago, it WAS flying from Mehrabad. Your report brought back many great memories !

T.
 
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:10 pm



Quoting 797 (Reply 32):
Well, to begin with I need to congratulate you for two things. First, what an amazingly written Trip Report. It kept me with my mouth wide open since I read the title for the very first time. Really, it was very enjoyable. Second, for being so brave into flying this old bird and going to DAM. Incredible, really.

= Jaja. Thanks compadre. I have done crazier flights and much more rickety aircraft. Actually, despite the entry into Damascus being dramatic and kinda scary, the people at the airport were uber friendly and I did not feel unsafe at any time.

Quoting 797 (Reply 32):
Now, with regard to the airline, I must point out something (even though it might have some political matters within it). To begin with, this route (as you've mentioned) is extremely out of place. You said it does make sense, but the simple fact that this flight carried 24 people is more than enough to make it sense-less.

I am close to a pilot who flies for Conviasa and he told me that this flight exists purely for political reasons. Moreover, he assured that the airline has been in bankruptcy four times, and the government has simply injected money into it every single ocassion. Where I'm trying to get to is not a political debate, but an issue of responsibility that's completely lacking in the Venezuelan aviation system. How much money does this flight cost with 24 pax on board? The collected money from these pax are probably enough to cover the wages of the crew in that flight.

I surely don't want to get into this a lot deeper, but I just want you to think that the money that's being used to finance these out-of-mind flights, are coming from our pockets. The A342 whenever its not covering this route, is sitting under the hangar... wasting millions and being a cash sucker for the government and us...

= As mentioned, let us leave the politics out of it. Besides, if you look at the world around you, tax payer dollars/euros/pounds/etc. are being used the world over to subsidize crazy failures and bad business decisions. Anyways, lets focus on aviation  Smile!

Quoting Flyboy7974 (Reply 33):

Loved this report, the picture with sun shining off the engine and the colors represent to me the colors of ConViasa, that bold fiery orange, that picture is awesome I think. It's just above caption that says "crazy turbulence" in flight.

= Thanks. It definitely is one of my favorite looking 340's out there.

Quoting Eirik (Reply 34):
Great report ! Smile

Actually; when I did THR-DAM-CCS on IR´s -SP nearly 2 years ago, it WAS flying from Mehrabad. Your report brought back many great memories !

= Thanks Eirik. Isn't it such the amazing feeling? Though, I am "upset" at you for not doing a trip report  Wink.

Saludos and thanks for reading,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
directorguy
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:15 pm

Wow! What an amazing trip report! Not only is it well-written with ample pictures but it takes us to airports that are rarely covered. This route would definately qualify for one of the most exotic routes there are!
Photos of DAM, where photography is frowned upon, is something to cherish.
Hope you enjoyed Cairo and the rest of your trip.
 
civilav
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:45 pm

Alex,

Your trip report was very good.
The take off video at CCS was great but, in all honesty and regarding your comment, runway used was average for that type of plane given its fuel load... roughly between 2600- 2700 mts of runway before take off as far as I could see.

Thank you for sharing.

Greetings from Cancun
 
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NZ107
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:00 am

Hi Abrelosojos,

Very interesting report from somewhere I would never have believed an A342 would be flying to/from!

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
the annoying Latin departure tax

It seems extremely backward.. Although in New Zealand this was changed last year.. About how much is the tax? And also the hand written ticket! I guess it's passable since there are only 24 passengers..

A whole bottle of Moet for 3 passengers! How much of it were you able to finish?  Wink

The route was extremely interesting going past the Straits of Gibraltar rather than closer to the Sahara! I would have never guessed flights from South America to the Middle East would go via Europe!

Thanks!

Regards,
Nicholas
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
abrelosojos
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:03 am



Quoting Directorguy (Reply 36):
Wow! What an amazing trip report! Not only is it well-written with ample pictures but it takes us to airports that are rarely covered. This route would definately qualify for one of the most exotic routes there are!
Photos of DAM, where photography is frowned upon, is something to cherish.
Hope you enjoyed Cairo and the rest of your trip.

= Thanks. Actually, the people at DAM airport was uber nice. I was perhaps a tad bit paranoid. Cairo is as always an excellent city ... it has a charm about it that VERY few cities in the "MENA" region have.

Quoting Civilav (Reply 37):
Your trip report was very good.
The take off video at CCS was great but, in all honesty and regarding your comment, runway used was average for that type of plane given its fuel load... roughly between 2600- 2700 mts of runway before take off as far as I could see.

= You are probably right. It felt long to me I guess ... or, I probably got carried away in excitement of the moment.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
XA744
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:36 pm

Hi Alex, very educational, fascinating and inviting trip report.... Thank you very much for having posted it !!!

Yeah, I wish I could give Conviasa and that route a try, all the way into Teheran, of course, before they both, the airline and that exhilarating service, vanish for real ever ... Unfortunately, lots of things, both relevant and irrelevant, are keeping me grounded indefinitely !!!

Hey, from your take off roll video, I could clearly see that Maiquetía Airport ( CCS ) has expanded substantially... It looks very modern and efficient... Wonderful !!!...

.. I was in Caracas some 28 years ago... Flew the great MEX-PTY-CCS-PTY-MEX " express " on an old but friendly Aeromexico DC-8-51 !!!

Best regards

P.S. Tempt me here, what would be the best deal on Conviasa all the way to THR out of Caracas ???....  yes 
No matter how you fly...just never get your wings clipped !
 
Avianca
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:31 am



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 19):
We will definitely plan the TK trip in advance. I am thinking June. Also, where are you being relocated to?

sounds good, I think it will be Panama

Quoting 797 (Reply 32):
The collected money from these pax are probably enough to cover the wages of the crew in that flight.

not even enough, as per my understanding the crew gets beside the hotel-acomodation, wages etc... 1000 USD in cash for personal belongings...
Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
 
LatinPlane
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:10 pm

I just have to state that I find interesting the way the pilots maneuver the flight in such a way as to avoid flying over several countries' airspace. It appears that the flight follows a strict pattern of flying only over waters for some reason?

hmmm?

 Smile LatinPlane
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.
 
The777Man
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:15 am

[quote=LatinPlane,reply=42] I find interesting the way the pilots maneuver the flight in such a way as to avoid flying over several countries' airspace. It appears that the flight follows a strict pattern of flying only over waters for some reason?

Perhaps to save cost from overflying charges ?

Excellent trip report! Very exotic airline and route; even more so than my report on DT LIS-LAD a few years ago...

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
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cybergus
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:40 pm

Just a great and very rare report.

I must admit that V0 service for its international flight is really impressive (Not to mention that is greater than other "first class" airlines). I flew a couple of times with them in domestic flights and I wasn't really satisfied at all with them. It is a shame that they use such a great plane for a non-profitable flight at all, when they can improve and bust their expansion to other routes that can be more justified.

In either case, great Job Alex and I'm very proud that this kind of reports from my home airlines and airport are becoming more frequently in Airliners.

Saludos

Tavo
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eastafspot
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:48 pm

sorry for the HUGE late on the reply  

wow it was a really amazing TR,

As you've perfectly described at the begin, it was interesting to read how you describe you hometown airport.
though excellent, I've never knew you sometime record T/O and landing video
Does the airline still operate this route?


regards
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
 
signol
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:27 pm

Hi Abrelosojos,

Wow, fascinating! Thanks for such an insightful and unusual report!

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
abrelosojos
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:15 pm

WOW! Funny to see an old report circulating around. I had to read this again and smiled at my own nostalgia. This was definitely one of the favorite flights I have taken.

Quoting XA744 (Reply 40):
Hi Alex, very educational, fascinating and inviting trip report.... Thank you very much for having posted it !!!

= Anytime! I like taking these exotic routes  .

Quoting XA744 (Reply 40):
Yeah, I wish I could give Conviasa and that route a try, all the way into Teheran, of course, before they both, the airline and that exhilarating service, vanish for real ever ... Unfortunately, lots of things, both relevant and irrelevant, are keeping me grounded indefinitely !!!

= Are you back in the air now?

Quoting XA744 (Reply 40):
.. I was in Caracas some 28 years ago... Flew the great MEX-PTY-CCS-PTY-MEX " express " on an old but friendly Aeromexico DC-8-51 !!!

= You know ... I flew the DC8 only a few times, and must say it remains one of my favorite aircraft.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 43):
Perhaps to save cost from overflying charges ?

= Exactly right.

Quoting Cybergus (Reply 44):
In either case, great Job Alex and I'm very proud that this kind of reports from my home airlines and airport are becoming more frequently in Airliners.

Saludos

Tavo

= Thanks Tavo. I have full ramp access at CCS (hehe) so it was particularly nice to be able to go to the ConViasa hangar.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 45):
sorry for the HUGE late on the reply

= That is an understatement  . What took you this long!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 45):
As you've perfectly described at the begin, it was interesting to read how you describe you hometown airport.
though excellent, I've never knew you sometime record T/O and landing video
Does the airline still operate this route?

= No. And, very rarely do I take videos.

Quoting signol (Reply 46):
Hi Abrelosojos,

Wow, fascinating! Thanks for such an insightful and unusual report!

signol

= Anytime signol.

Thanks a lot for reading all.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
MSS658
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:59 pm

Hi

ConViasa.... another new term for me  
Another excellent trip report from your side. The J-class seats reminds me of AF's old L'espace 127.
Even if ConViasa is not to make any awards soon, it does look like you had a good time.


Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
thegivenone
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RE: ConViasa V0 3006: 17/JAN/09: CCS-DAM: J Cabin

Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:36 pm

Dear abrelosojos,

Your trip reports have always been an inspiration and I thank you for always taking the effort to share such detailed accounts of your travels. I also thank you for providing us "mere mortals" insight into some of the world's most exotic routings! I am glad this report has started circulating again as I didn't get a chance to read it in 2008. What a wonderful account, especially of unique on board atmosphere you were describing.

Thank you once again!

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