Published on December 6th, 2015 | by Mark Chesnut
AIRLINE REVIEW: Avianca Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Bogota to Lima (Economy Class)
I recently did a rather extensive multi-stop business trip around Latin America, stopping in Mérida, Mexico to speak about travel content trends at the LGBT Confex, Mexico’s largest LGBT business and tourism conference, then on to Panama City, Panama with the Great Value Vacations team, with whom I’ve been working as a consultant to develop exciting new Panama vacation packages.
From Panama, I headed on to Lima to cover and moderate two panels at SAHIC: the South America Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference. To get to Lima from Panama City, I hopped on an Avianca plane for a connection in Bogota, first flying on an Airbus A320 (read my review of the service here). This is a summary of my travel and flight experience aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, one of the newest aircraft types in the Avianca fleet.
THE ROUTE: Bogota El Dorado International Airport (BOG) to Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM); Boeing 787 Dreamliner; 2 hours, 23 minutes; economy class.
THE DEPARTURE: I flew into Bogota, Colombia on a flight from Panama City, Panama. The connection was simple enough, although I did have to pass through security screening, despite the fact that I was only connecting. The recently upgraded El Dorado airport in Bogota is attractive and spacious, and had a decent selection of shopping and facilities in the departure area. Boarding was by group letter and moved fairly quickly.
THE AIRCRAFT: The Avianca Boeing 787 Dreamliner was divided into two main sections of airline seating. The airline seats in economy class were relatively well appointed, with foot rests and headrests with wings. On each seat were wrapped blankets and pillow, as well as free ear phones. Electrical outlets were located between the seats. One of the things I like about the Dreamliner is the 19-inch height of the windows; larger than other airliners (65 percent larger, I’ve read), they allow for natural light to stream into the cabin, and they also allow passengers in the middle and aisle seats to enjoy a bit of the view even if the window-seat passenger is hunched over the window. And rather than the usual push-down window shades, the Dreamliner windows feature a dimming feature that operates via electrified gel sandwiched between two thin pieces of glass. That means the passenger in the window seat can control how bright or dim the light is that enters. Pretty cool.
THE SERVICE: Flight attendants distributed warm disposable hand towels. Inflight service included free airline food: a choice of beef with rice or chicken with mashed potatoes. Inflight entertainment included a variety of TV shows, movies and music in multiple languages on the seat-back video screens.
PERU TRAVEL TIPS: “My Lima” — Personal Favorites from TourGuidePeru’s Aaron Leyton Pavia
THE ARRIVAL: The Lima airport offers a rather pleasant arrival experience (must less hectic than the departure experience, which sometimes requires navigating among throngs of people to get to ticket counters). Customs and immigrations processing was swift, as was baggage claim. I was picked up and shuttled to the Westin Lima hotel (stay tuned for a review); unfortunately the fact that there is no highway between the airport and the city center means that heavy traffic and lights may add significant travel time to your journey.