Thanks to the hotel, had another “taxi of death” experience up to El Alto, where the driver showed absolutely zero fear weaving in and out of traffic as he worked his way up the side of the mountain to the airport. There was no traffic at this hour, and we made great time. Got to checkin, and only had to wait one person to get an agent…who was so uncomfortable in English that we carried on the check-in in Spanish. I mean, I really appreciate all the practice, but I was blown away by just how reluctant Bolivians were to speak English. All four boarding passes came out, and I was set for today and tomorrow. Then, it was off to passport control. There was a 15 minute wait or so, but no problems at all…but again, the whole thing was conducted in English.
Most surprising, was after exit immigration…there was a luggage check. Open it up, and go through everything. Not too sure what they were looking for, but I got really good at the phrase “es ropa…sola ropa!” (it’s clothes, just clothes!) on this trip…and they let me go with a fairly minimum check.
Headed into the lounge, which was surprisingly nice. Juice, water, etc and a few small munchies on display, but more importantly there were outlets and a comfortable quiet place to wait for the flight. I could have used Priority Pass to get in, but Avianca business class also did the trick.
When it was time to board, the lounge agent came and got us, and escorted us to the plane. The jetbridge had an entrance from the lounge, so there was no need to go back into the terminal. A very nice touch which I never would have expected in La Paz!
Avianca flight 908 (Operated by TACA Peru)
La Paz, Bolivia (LPB) to Lima, Peru (LIM)
Depart 8:00, Arrive 9:05, Flight Time 2:05
Airbus A320, Registration N492TA, Manufactured 2005, Seat 2A
OJ and water offered prior to pushing back, and a view of the airport:
There was a great graveyard of old planes, but unfortunately with the sun and earlier rain, it was hard to get a good shot:
A view of El Alto on climbout. It was really unnerving taking off from El Alto, because with the high altitude the plane takes what feels like forever to get off the ground. I was hoping we’d go over the city to get a shot of how it sits in the valley, but no such luck. I was so excited to take pictures that I asked for a window seat, something I rarely do. Didn’t matter, because the aisle ended up staying empty.