Got to the airport in plenty of time, since the US Airways app refused to let me check in online. Was rather shocked when the agent was able to print out all four boarding passes up front. Went through the northern most checkpoint, since that’s where TSA precheck is located, as well as being the pier that my flight was supposed to leave from. The US Airways club is pretty grim, however, so I took the shuttle bus over to the middle terminal to use the American lounge. On the shuttle, we had to stop, because an HonorFlight was coming in, filled with World War II Veterans coming to DC for the day to see the memorial:
Made it to the American lounge, home of the best airport bloody mary anywhere. To quote the bartender: “I make them from scratch and I’m gonna get you there before your flight does!” He wasn’t lying – they were delicious!
Then it was time to take the shuttle back to the terminal and board the first flight on time:
US Airways flight 3264 (Operated by Republic Airlines)
Washington, DC National (DCA) to Charlotte, NC (CLT)
Depart 11:00, Arrive 12:32, Flight Time 1:32
Embraer ERJ-175, Registration N128HQ, Manufactured 2008, Seat 3A
Pre-flight beverages were offered and I had a water to offset the bloody mary, and soon we were off to the north, with a gorgeous view on takeoff:
Beverage service was the typical snack basket, but I’m a bit disappointed they replaced the caramel crunch biscotti that I loved with some cranberry horror. Oh well!
I really should have avoided the bloody mary – after the one in the lounge it was quite disappointing. Arrival into Charlotte was slightly early, and I killed my time in the US Airways lounge, catching up on some last minute things before the trip. Soon, it was time to board the flight to Miami.
US Airways flight 2059
Charlotte, NC (CLT) to Miami, FL (MIA)
Depart 14:25, Arrive 16:25, Flight Time 2:00
Airbus A321, Registration N, Manufactured , Seat 2D
Same snack basket, same story, blah blah blah. Using the inflight wifi, there appeared to be quite a bit of weather in between us…and sure enough about 30 minutes prior to scheduled touchdown, the pilot told us we’d be taking a one hour detour around the storms…and then do a bit of a holding pattern.
By the time we finally landed, I was down to 35 minutes to make my connection, which wouldn’t have been such a big worry, except connecting in Miami required not only changing terminals but also re-clearing security. UGH! Somehow, by some miracle I made it to my next flight…which fortunately seemed to be running on “Latin time” anyways. Boarding only started about 10 minutes before departure, and the agents insisted on checking both my visa and onward ticket. I’m not used to them being so thorough!
Avianca flight 7
Miami, FL (MIA) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
Depart 18:33, Arrive 21:03, Flight Time 3:30
Airbus A330, Registration N, Manufactured , Seat 2D
I had the pleasure of a lovely princess for a seatmate today. Despite this being international business class, she insisted on spreading her arms so wide that hers was on my armrest. I asked her several times very nicely to move it, to which she would just huff, roll her eyes, and look away. I mentioned it to the flight attendant…who told me “I will not correct our VIP passengers.” Ugh. Despite that it was a pretty good flight…and featured probably the best steak I’ve ever had on a plane. Plus, the chocolate cake was wonderful for dessert:
Rest of the flight was completely uneventful. We arrived about 15 minutes late into Bogota, however, and by the time I recleared security there was no time for the lounge. Gate was the very last gate in the terminal, and by the time I got there 45 minutes before the flight they’d already boarded the first bus. I guess they mean it when they say boarding starts an hour before departure! Bussed to the plane, boarded, and off we go more than 20 minutes early.
Avianca flight 247
Bogota, Colombia (BOG) to La Paz, Bolivia (LPB)
Depart 22:14, Arrive 2:58 next day, Flight Time 3:44
Airbus A319, Registration , Manufactured , Seat 3D
Nothing at all to say…I spent the flight watching episodes of House of Cards, and enjoying an unusually tasty pasta:
Landed in La Paz more than 35 minutes ahead of schedule, which was an unexpected bonus at this time in the morning. It had been a very very long day and I was anxious to get to my hotel and pass out as soon as possible! Overall, my first Avianca experience was pretty good. International business seat on one flight, decent meals, although the crew seemed severely disinterested in doing their jobs on both flights. Wine refills were met with body language that said “ugh if I must” and they tended to completely disappear after meal service. All said, I’d definitely fly them again.