This post will combine the experience of flying Avianca up front in Business Class on their domestic flight between Lima and Cusco. This is also probably the flight most visitors to Peru will take on their trip to visit Machu Picchu. Travelling from outside of Peru, all travellers have to collect their luggage and re-check them for the domestic flight as they need to clear customs. This was supposed to be a fairly easy and straightforward procedure since both Domestic and International terminals are connected in Lima.
However the checkpoints at the airport and the crowd does create barriers for travellers meant that I had to go out of the airport and re-enter the terminal after depositing my luggage at the check-in counters. There are no fast track security here, and neither was there any premium lounges past security. Limited shops and services airside means that passengers with long transit times should grab a bite or wait at the cafes before passing the security check areas.
On the outbound flight, the Airbus A320 was decorated in the Star Alliance livery so that made this journey somewhat special but I was already kind of tired on this flight and since it was already dark outside, there will be less photos here.
AV835 Lima Jorge Chávez LIM – Cusco Alejandro Velasco Astete CUZ
Airbus A320 N686TA
Gate 12 switched to 9 Seat 1A
When boarding was called, Business Class passengers and Avianca Elite members were given priority boarding. Onboard the narrow body A320, the Business Class cabin has seating in a 2-2 configuration. There was a total of 3 rows of Business Class on this plane giving a total of 12 seats.
Seats on these planes are comfortable leather recliners with fairly generous width and recline. The dark upholstery did make the cabin a bit darker in the night time. There was only one crew serving the front cabin with 5 passengers in Business Class.
No blanket or pillows on the seat, so passengers have to request for one when they feel cold. Offered a choice water or juices for pre-departure drinks, which were served in plastic cups.
For guests seated on the bulkhead, the inflight magazines, safety card and a pair of headphones was placed in the pocket below the cabin partition.
While on the ground, the pop-out monitors from under the armrest were to be retracted out so that the safety video can be played during the taxi to the runway.
These seats are basic with the button to set the recline placed on the left of the seat.
On the right side of the seat under the armrests, there was the remote control for the inflight entertainment system with the audio outlet for the headphones jack. Power outlets can be found at the front of the armrest.
After a smooth take-off with little to no wait, the flight was slightly turbulent and the seatbelts sign was not switched off for some time.
Upon take off the same drinks choices of water, juices or coffee were again offered. No tea in this flight and no meal or a snack service. Cabin lights were kept dimmed throughout most of this late evening flight.
While I slept through much of this flight, the flight was turbulent in take-off and prior to landing which might be due to the strong winds at the time of the year. Since only narrow body planes fly on this route, there does not seems to be any better commercial flights other than Avianca or LATAM. For this short flight, the services are just basic and the lack of a lounge access at Lima does make Business Class lose a bit of its appeal.
For the return flight, I arrived to a crowded terminal at Cusco with many flights departing in the morning and passengers queuing for check-in was blocking the signs. It was a messy affair with no clear indication for Business class or online check-in queues. It was firtunate that we had arrived fairly early for our flight since the ride from the hotel took around 15 minutes.
Luggage tag had to be written manually which contributed to the delay while checking in. This was due to the faulty printer and I was slightly dubious on whether my luggage would make it to Lima. I would be even more afraid if I was on a connecting flight out of Lima.
After that there was a foyer before the security check with restaurants and souvenir stores though there are more shops and cafes past security. Toilets are available both before or post security check.
However with only one line in the security check, it meant there was no priority whatsoever and it was about a 10 minute wait before we managed to pass through the security to a common waiting area with shops around it. Cusco’s airport has got to be one of the worst I have ever been to.
We still had some time to browse through the shops selling Alpaca wool products in the departure hall after security but I was certainly glad when boarding was called.
AV810 Cusco Alejandro Velasco Astete CUZ – Lima Jorge Chávez LIM
Airbus A320 N498TA
Gate 2 Seat 2K
Inside the plane, there was more or less the same cabin with 3 rows of Business Class seats in 2-2 configuration. However the seats are somewhat different and seems to be older with no personal monitors.
For the return leg, I had chosen a seat on the second row to try out the legroom here. Again it was more or less similar to the bulkhead seats but the wider seatback pockets made it easier to place bulkier headsets and personal belongings. The headphones provided during the flight seems pretty good even though the lack of a personal entertainment system meant I did not get to use it.
Boarding was completed around 9am with Business class fully occupied. Overhead monitors was screening promotional videos while boarding was ongoing. What was different here was that there was no pre-departure drinks for those upfront, which could be due to the lack of crew or the full cabin.
Pullback took place around 9:10am with the crew announcing a flight time of 1 hour and 5 minutes to Lima with clear weather conditions in Cusco. The beautiful weather in Cusco meant there was a nice view of the city as our plane taxied to the runway.
With only one runway, there was a bit of a wait during the peak morning departure. However the nice views after take-off was definitely a good reason to try and take a morning departure or arrival out of or into Cusco.
It took a while before cabin service was conducted. Beverage service includes some liquor or a choice of juices, Coke, or coffee. No second serving was conducted. Again, there was no food served during the flight though a cookie or muffin would have been nice for this morning departure.
Lavatories inside the Airbus A320 was basic and there was only a hand soap even in the front lavatory so Business class passengers should not expect too much.
Back on the seat, guests could watch the entertainment shown on the pop-out monitors from overhead. They could also control their own air vents and reading lights.
Short arrival video was shown upon descent into the Jorge Chavez airport introducing Avianca and Peru.
Arrival at Lima was easy since we were arriving from a domestic flight. Our luggage did not take a long time to come out and there was complimentary trolleys for passengers.
For the short hop between Lima and Cusco, Business class was not necessary especially considering that there was a lack of premium ground handling such as priority security screening or lounge access on either Lima or Cusco airports. If not for the fact that I got the Lima to Cusco flights as part of the Business class flights, I would not have paid for Business Class on this journey.