Thursday, November 01, 2018

Avianca 121

After passing through the now legendary Queen’s Terminal at Heathrow, it was finally time to settle in for our first longhaul flight. Even as the Boeing 787 has an ETOPS rating of 330 minutes, there are not that many diversion airports when flying diagonally across the Atlantic so we were truly in the hands of the engineers and pilots of Avianca. Luckily, by the time I write this, we are already flying in over the Lesser Antilles with about 1300 miles left to go until Bogotá.

While I still do not have any intention to begin competing with Lucky I should say that I booked the whole ticket from Umeå to Lima for 70 000 SAS miles roundtrip per person back in April, thanks to the incredibly generous American Express 2-4-1 voucher. Given that this was simply a deal too good to be true, I was not particularly surprised when SAS decided to devalue their programme a couple of days ago, increasing the number of miles needed with 20% but more importantly restricting their routing rules (effectively making multi-city trips like this one impossible to book).

As for the hard product, Avianca is using a 1-2-1 reverse-herringbone configuration in their business class. When flying together, this means that the centre seats are quite a bit apart so it is not as natural to have a conversation as with the Vantage XL seat that for instance SAS uses. While the seat does recline fully, it is also not long enough for people of my height so anyone above 180 cm basically has to sleep on the side (again unlike SAS). Still, I was able to get five solid hours of sleep. In terms of their soft product, the dinner served after departing Heathrow was excellent with what felt like a very distinct Colombian touch.

The breakfast which was served just as we flew in over the South American continent was similarly good and colourful. In conclusion, I would rank Avianca highly, although perhaps not in the same league as some other Star Alliance members (Singapore but also Swiss comes to mind). 

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