Mini-Trip Report: Avianca Business Class Cartagena to Bogota & Avianca Sala VIP Cartagena

Posted by Adam YWW on March 31, 2018 in Airlines, Trip Reports

This is the tenth in a series of posts chronicling my January 2018 trip to Colombia. You can read an overview/preview here.

Avianca Flt. 9789  Cartagena to Bogota (CTG to BOG)
A319, Business Class, Star Alliance Livery
Sched. Dep. 2:32pm   Sched. Arr. 4:02pm
Act. Dep. 2:27pm        Act. Arr. 3:51pm

Yes, I am running out of steam on Colombia trip reports, so this will be a quick one, covering my short flight from Cartagena to Bogota in Avianca Business Class.  As with my flight from Medellin to Cartagena, for some reason the Avianca flight was cheaper in business class than in coach when I booked, but there was no real service on the flight.

Cartagena International Airport

Cartagena is a pretty modern airport, and pretty large. Four different airlines actually fly the CTG-BOG route alone: LATAM, Avianca, and LCCs Viva Colombia and Copa-owned Wingo. Check-in and security was super quick, and I was soon in the one large room that serves as the National Departure area. It’s one big room ringed by a food court and a few shops, and rows and rows of shops.

International Departures, Cartagena Airport

The Avianca Sala VIP lounge is on a mezzanine one level above, looking over the hall. Unlike in Medellin, there was one lounge for all elite statuses, business class, and Priority Pass. Of the three Avianca lounges I visited on this trip, this one was the worst. It had a similar design scheme to the others, with white Formica and red and black fabric seating – a bit dingier.  On one side, there were a variety of more comfortable seating areas, and a Samsung-branded area with tablets.

Avianca Sala VIP Lounge CTG above departures

Seating, Avianca Sala VIP Lounge Cartagena

On the other side was an open space that reminded me of an employee break or lunchroom at a cafeteria, with some dining tables and chairs.  There was self-serve soda, but, as with Medellin, no booze since it was before 4pm. As for food, there was just some cold quiche tartlet and a coconut macaroon, and then an empty hot tray.  They were…. not good. So, I went downstairs and grabbed some fast food for lunch before boarding.

Food area, Avianca Sala VIP Lounge Cartagena

The extent of the food offerings

There are hourly flights to Bogota, and the 1:30 had actually been canceled. Given boarding hadn’t started by 2pm and there was no announcement, I assumed we wouldn’t make our 2:30 departure time. But at 2:05pm, boarding was announced; though they called for priority boarding first, everyone just went at once, and we walked across the tarmac to our A319. Somehow, of my four Avianca flights, this was the second one on a plane with the Star Alliance livery.

Crossing the tarmac at CTG

Avianca A319

The interior was the same as the planes on my IAD-SAL and MDE-CTG flights – nothing special (a step above domestic first class on US carriers), but certainly adequate for a 90-minute flight.  I was the last person to board in business class, so limited photo opportunities. But there was personal IFE, and both USB and AC power.

Avianca A319 Business Class

We pushed back a little early.  The only service was a drink service about 20 minutes into flight, served in a little plastic cup. We were only in the air about an hour, before a cloudy, bumpy descent into Bogota.

Arriving at BOG

Once on the ground, there was a pretty long walk to baggage claim, but my checked bag came relatively quickly. I got a taxi from the stand right outside the terminal, and unfortunately the driver had no idea where my hotel was, even when I showed him the map on my phone.  Somehow, he figured it out, though, and I arrived at the Artisan Hotel about 30 minutes later.

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