Transiting in Bogotá was easy and there was no need for me to extract my luggage, so we just need to go through security once with signs for transit passengers clear to follow. We had time to access the Avianca VIP lounges which are located just past security check and the duty free store on the second floor. I would skip reviewing this lounge this time since I have a longer layover on the return trip.
Queues were already forming for the boarding of this flight even in the Priority line that includes Star Alliance Gold members and Business Class passengers. It was nice that the departure gates for this flight is just next to the lounge and shortly after I joined the queue, the boarding process started.
AV25 Bogotá El Dorado BOG – Lima Jorge Chávez LIM
Boeing 787-8 N782AV
Gate 32 Seat 3A
Business class cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration with 5 rows in the first section of the cabin and 2 rows in the second section, making for a total of 7 rows in Business class.
Seats inside the 787 are similar to the ones installed onboard Air Canada which is a newer take on the reverse herringbone seats with window seats facing towards the window and middle seats slanted towards each other. However, it is unlikely passengers will see the other person in the middle seat either. While optimal for solo travellers, the best seats for couples would be a middle seat and a window seat or just 2 window seats with one upfront and one behind.
On each seat, there was a pillow and a red blanket wrapped in plastic. The black seat upholstery and finishings on the cabin does make the whole cabin a bit darker and the shell of the reverse herringbone seat makes the cabin felt more compact than the one on the A330.
Passengers onboard the Business class seems more pleased and excited about this seat though as opposed to our earlier flight. The crew also seems more enthusiastic on this flight.
There was plenty of space length-wise on this seat with plenty of legroom as the seat will recline full lie-flat to a bed. On the left side there is a triangular table where drinks will be placed and underneath it is a bottle holder. There is a space underneath the legrest but there were signs stating bags are not permitted to be placed there.
Like all herringbone seats, the slanted position meant the inflight screen are docked away from your line of sight in the default take-off and landing position and this will disrupt those who wants to start watching or continue watching the inflight entertainment. It adds extra work for the cabin crew to ensure the monitor is swivelled out for passengers in Business class to watch the safety video and ensure it is stowed for take-off and landing.
Another feature that differs from Air Canada’s Business Class seat on the 787 was that the inflight entertainment remote, headphone and power outlets are located just on the left of the seat. Next to it there is a small covered compartment that houses the headphones.
One of the stewards went around offering the duty free catalogs similar to previous flight. This was in addition to the inflight magazine and entertainment guide on the pocket located on the lower right hand side of the seat.
Welcome drinks of champagne, orange juice or water provided after seated. Small ramekin of mixed nuts were offered as well. There was no amenity kit for the short regional flight.
Doors were closed at 1:03pm and the stewardess welcomed us onboard with a flight time of 2 hours 20 minutes. The slightly long taxi provided the opportunity to spot some of the air traffic in BOG and capture some of the planes with the older Avianca livery which looks better in my opinion.
Flight was full in the forward Business class cabin after a quick glance during our taxi to the runway. Captain announced that we are third in line for take off and it would be just 7 minutes before taking off. He also provided the temperature in Lima to be around 18 degrees (Celcius).
Inflight entertainment had a nicer user interface than on the A330 but the selection was similar. Newer entertainment systems allows passengers to watch the trailer, which I did for the movie ‘State of Play’ but decided to watch a more light-hearted movie ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’.
Hot towels were distributed about 25 minutes after take off and there was a continuous queue for the 2 lavatories in Business class.
While waiting, I tried the seat in a full flat and lounge mode to compare and they were definitely comfortable for a long haul flight. I was surprised that Avianca did not use them on their flights to New York JFK.
Being a newer plane than the Airbus A330, the lavatories were slightly nicer here. Lavatories in Business class seems to have the lotion supplied by L’Occitane.
Exiting the lavatory, the crew was preparing for meal service and the meal service trolley was outside, allowing me to view the beverage available on this flight as there was no menu provided on this itinerary. Chilean red and white wines were available on this flight.
Meal choice was between beef entrecote or chicken with rice. Beef entrecote was slightly overcooked making it too tough but it was still edible with the sauce. On the sides, the potato wedges served with the beef was also too salty but I liked the real bacon bits that came with the dish.
Included in the tray was a salad plate with a vinaigrette sachet. White or herb bread was offered from the basket. Ordered the peach juice from the drinks trolley which is a refreshing beverage and considered a special drink onboard Avianca since I rarely see peach juice served in other airlines.
Service was suspended temporarily due to turbulence halfway during the flight. Turbulence was shaky and that meant the seat belts sign were turned on for quite some time.
Once the turbulence was within control, the crew came to offer dessert which was Oreo cheesecake.
After the meal service, the tray table was cleared and I asked for water instead of the coffee and tea that was offered. The tray tables in these planes can also be partially retracted so it provides more counter space and yet still allow easy ingress into the seat.
By this time we were flying over Peru and the daytime flight meant I was free to alter the tint on the windows to capture some shots of the scenery outside the window.
Our descent into Lima brought us under the cloud cover which opened out views of the Peruvian Andes valleys. This was somewhere east of the town of Barranca.
While not exactly prime conditions for photo taking, the clouds over the valleys gave it a dreamy feel.
Our final approach into Lima was by the Pacific coastline and it was a direct line into the airport with no drama or incidents. Being an international flight, I had to go through passport control and I had to retrieve my luggage in Lima before re-checking them in for the domestic sector as there was some customs clearance that needs to be done. Though as a foreigner, there was no issue for me and my wife.
Both immigration and customs were quick once we were off the plane and there was more than enough time to drop off my luggage in the domestic terminal which requires a bit of a walk outside the terminal. While the seats onboard this flight was better than on the A330, the meal service was quite bad considering the meat was overcooked and tough. There was also no menu provided. In the end this was just yet another average flight with Avianca, though I would not mind flying with them on the 787 to get to South America via Europe.