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Old Sep 4, 12, 10:54 am   #1
Ambassador: LAN LANPASS
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Mainly BOG
Programs: LAN Comodoro, BAEC, Avianca Lifemiles, HHonors Gold
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My first Avianca regional flight. A bit crappy

I have flown Avianca nationally before now, and many moons ago I flew TATL with them. I hadn't flown them regionally nor had I flown their new A330 until last night.

I had a reward flight LIM-BOG, a route that I have flown dozens of times with LAN. I know it's possible to compare on paper what each airline brings to the route, but the reality for me with AV also brought a sting of gripes.

1) I was looking forward to flying a widebody on this route as I am not a fan of the Andean skybumps and I thought it would be a smoother ride. I was wrong, the A330 slipped and skidded around the sky far worse than an A319. No idea if it was the way the pilot was flying it but he was certainly throwing the plane around the taxiways at LIM

2) AV has personal seatback IFE, LAN doesn't. Now in restrospect, I would probably take nothing over AV's IFE. It is properly lame and only one channel of audio was working.

3) AV serves a hot meal, LAN serves a horrible croissant thing. AV's Y food was certainly the worst hot meal I have had on a plane. Colombian food doesn't brim with flavour at the best of times, and I understand taste is diminished at altitude so this hot meal wandered into negative flavour territory.

4) The plane was filthy, I don't know if they have a policy of not cleaning them at outposts but the toilet was splattered with shiny pi$$ stains and stank, the panel to which it was attached and the toilet itself had come loose and were just flapping around in the turbulence. The bin in the toilet was rammed with used paper towels.

5) I don't know why but AV has a policy that tablets and smartphones must be turned off for the duration of the flight even if they have airplane mode. So no watching films on a tablet, or listing to music on a smartphone.

6) Most disconcerting, the FAs only cleared half of the dinner service, so our bumpy landing threw half consumed dinners around and one FA had the front to chastise a young Peruvian girl for not folding away her table tray when she was left no option because the crew hadn't taken away the remnants of her meal. Walking through the plane at the end of the flight there were glasses and bits of dinner items all over the place. Moreover, it is downright unsafe, how are you supposed to adopt the brace position if it comes to that by burying your face in your half eaten meat with white sauce?
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Old Sep 5, 12, 8:10 am   #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: MDE, BWI
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Thanks for the info!

My only experience with AV is either in-country or BOG-USA. All of those flights have been on A320's, and the experience has always been very good. In fact, I was considering changing my main FF program from United to AV since AV is now in *A.

However, given your report, I am less likely to jump on that.

Does anybody else here have experience with AV widebodies or regional flights?
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Old Sep 5, 12, 9:35 am   #3
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In the spirit of FT, I for one wouldn't normally judge a whole airline on one flight. But letting the airplane land in turbulence with the table trays down because they hadn't bothered to clear the dinner service is a pretty major service inconsistency for my money.
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Old Sep 5, 12, 12:12 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Our only experience with Avianca was about 4 years ago, after a cruise. I booked them from SCL to LAX, with a change in BOG. After an hour in flight, we had to turn around due to a mechanical malfunction detected by the computer. Circled to burn off fuel and then landed (no crash position) without incident. After an hour of checking for any problems, the plane was ready to go again, but my wife was too nervous to fly again, so Avianca took our bags off and, since thier flight the next morning was already filled, put us on a LAN non-stop leaving the next night. Even gave us a free room, with meals, at the new airport Holiday Inn (could have stayed downtown, but we chose the airport). No charge. They couldn't have been nicer.
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