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  • Konrad Tillman

Review: Avianca "Premium" Recaro Seat A320neo Bogota-Cusco

Intro


Wow, where to begin? For the fourth segment of my Latam adventure, I will be heading on this Avianca A320neo from Bogota to Cusco. Originally, the plan was to head to La Paz first and then back to Cusco after, but the flight price to La Paz was over 500$ one way in economy! With that said, it was cheaper to head to the cute town of Cusco first!


However, there is some room for improvement when it comes to Avianca, such as service. But, the hard product is phenomenal. The premium seats blew me away!


Let's get into the review!

Route- Bogota- Cusco

Plane- A320neo

Seat- 2K

Flight Number- Av105

Date- March 18th 2024

Flight Time: 2 Hours 48 Minutes

Price Paid- 371.50$+60$


How I Booked


Avianca has a monopoly in these small markets across South America. For example, the only airline that can fly the Bogota-Cusco route is Avianca, which means they can charge anything that they want. For my ticket, the cost came out to 371.50$ for the normal fare, including check-in at the airport, 1 personal baggage, and 1 carry-on. For a flight that is under 3 hours, that is steep.


I had already booked the second leg into the premium Recaro seat, since I wanted to see if Avianca would sell discounted tickets at the desk before departure, much like with Business Class. However, the cost remained the same, and I fronted an additional 60$ to sit in the premium seat! There is a sweet spot on these low-cost carriers if you are willing to pay a little extra!


Arrival At El Dorado


Another brutal 3 am wake-up was in order due to a boarding time of 7:05 am. I arrived at the airport around 4 am after a 30-minute Uber (scheduled in advance).


Bogota Arrivals

The driver dropped me off at arrivals since departures were chaotic at this hour! Who knew it would be this busy at 4 am... I quickly found a Dunkin Donuts, but somehow refrained from coffee as I wanted to get some shut-eye.


DD Bogota

The menu is vastly different in Colombia versus the US...



With a pastry in hand, I made my way up to check in.


Escalator to departure Bogota

Check-In


Upon heading upstairs, I found the check-in counters. Bogota is a large airport and a tad confusing because I had never been here before...


Avianca Check In Bogota

After a few minutes, I had to walk over to international departures.


The airport was as busy as Baby Grand on a Wednesday night

The immigration line took a minute, but eventually, I made it to the automated kiosks. Bogota, it is incredible that it isn't a manual line, but I am trying to fill out my passport!


4 am?? You must be joking

My flight today would depart from B gates, all the way to the end of the terminal...



It was about an hour before departure, so my inner Avgeek kicked in. Planespotting time!



Isn't that A320neo gorgeous?



30 minutes before boarding, I headed over to the gate and made the upgrade to seat 2K. The agent was rude saying, "You have to pay" and I said, "I understand, I want to pay😉😅". She then continued on to say there was no space in the premium seats, but after I pulled up Expert Flyer, she said 2K was available😅. Surely, they would want to sell the seats, right?


The cost was 60$, representing a 20$ per hour increase. The payment was made through a Credit Card and I was issued my new boarding pass for seat 2K.


Boarding


Boarding commenced at 7:05 am local time, and you have group 1 access with the premium seats.



A Latam Airbus was parked next to us. It's crazy to think if I had connected with Latam, it would have been even more expensive. At the end of all the reviews, find out how I booked Santiago- Los Angeles in Business for under 1100$... cold hard cash.


See you in a couple flights Latam

Once entering the aircraft, I saw the new Recaro seats. Look at how big they are! First impression: shocked!


Shame on you European business class

I easily found my seat 2 Kilo for this flight. I placed my bag overhead and kept my small backpack underneath as I planned to edit some photos of Colombia.


Beautiful legroom, peep the golden gooses hehe

What a splendid view of the wing🥰.



Departure


Minus 2A and 2C, the whole flight went out full to Cusco today.


By 7:35 am the boarding doors were closed but we held at our gate. My theory for this is how controlled the Cusco airport is since planes land in the same direction as the one departing head out.



Eventually, we pushed back at 7:58 am.



A couple of minutes later we were rolling on the long taxi out to depart South. Interestingly, we had a single-engine taxi until about 2 minutes before takeoff. Apparently, it's quite common, I guess maybe I don't pay enough attention😅.


I'll attach a slideshow of the taxi to the runway as we headed past the military base!



After a 15-minute single-engine taxi, we arrived at the runway.



At 8:19 am, we entered the runway for takeoff. Real-time takeoff, through the slideshow!



The Seat/Cabin


The cabin on the Avianca A320neo is arranged with 3 rows of the "Premium Recaro Seat" in a 2-2 configuration totaling 12 seats. The rest of the plane features a 3-3 configuration with a right 28-inch pitch.


Avianca Premium seat A320neo

The legroom is very generous. As a 6-foot, 160lbs man, I had more than enough space. Hey BA, Iberia, Avianca has a better hard product than you, I'm just saying😲.


Unreal amounts of space

The concept of this seat features a wide portion. I was impressed at how much space there was.



To follow suit, there was a tray table that came down from the back of the seat in front of you.


Stretching out heavily

I loved the little storage compartment under the middle table, it was perfect for my bottle of water.


There was a plug socket underneath the center console but did not fit my Macbook charger.


Incredible design

On the descent, my seatmate headed to the other side of the plane, allowing me to snap a picture of the three seats. The middle seat is used as a center console.


Can we take a minute to appreciate how sleek these colors are? The black and red are beautiful.


Utterly wowed me

Put it this way, I was more than comfortable for 3 hours and would be more than comfortable on a flight to New York from Bogota.



On the right-hand armrest, was a little option to recline. I didn't test it out, unfortunately.



I managed to snap a quick shot of the cabin on the way back from the toilets. Let's just say, it was 60$ well spent.


EEEk

There were a few toilets on board, and surprisingly, they were kept clean throughout the flight.


Could be a lot worse

Food and Drink


Much like with my previous flight on Volaris, Avianca offers a buy-on-board service.



Prices were a little bit more reasonable but still on the high side. An 1100$ business class flight is okay but 2.50$ Oreos is a bit out of my price range😅 (travel math).


IFE


I was utterly shocked to see that Avianca has IFE on the narrowbody jets. While there are no seatback screens, passengers are able to stream movies and TV shows from their personal devices by connecting to the Wifi.






The IFE worked well and there were plenty of options. Although I did just sleep for most of the flight, that was until we began our flight...


Approach Into Cusco

Wow, wow, wow, wow. Peru❤️. Our initial descent began at 10:54 am. What beautiful views!



Cusco is the second-highest city in the world after La Paz, and I will be heading next.



The approach to Cusco was one of the most gorgeous I have ever witnessed.



It brought back memories of the approach into Bhutan, as we were weaving through the mountains of Peru!


Arrival


By 11:07 am, we were on a short final into Cusco.



And at 11:10 am, we had a smooth touchdown.



The pilots impressed me, and I imagine this is not the easiest airport to land in. Yes, they probably do it countless times, but it's impressive nonetheless.


Next ride loading up for me already??? In my dreams ahha

De-planing at Cusco is interesting. It requires a walk down the jetbridge, then down some stairs, back outside, and then back inside...




To immigration! Since there were only 3 agents working at the time, I was so grateful I was in the premium seats as it probably saved me 30 minutes. Note: they do not stamp passports anymore here!



That concludes this review, I cannot wait to share what Cusco was like as it is one of my favorite cities in the world now! The Hoi An of Latam!


Final Thoughts


Aside from the rude service at the gate, Aviance blew me away with their premium seat offering onboard this A320neo. The seat is spacious with no issues getting comfortable, and the IFE contains over 40 movies. What is the best part? It is only 60$ more for most flights. There is a sweet spot here when it comes to low-cost carriers in Latam, as I think the hard product could compete with other narrowbody business class seats.


If Avianca wanted to add free meals and better service, they could compete in the US markets with this product and their 787 product. From this flight, I was able to determine that there is a lot of potential for Avianca if only they wanted it😅. I would be more than happy to fly this product again, especially on longer routes to LAX or JFK if the price were right.


JETTOAJET SCALE


Snacks and Drinks

6/10

Seat (2K)

9.5/10

IFE

8/10

Ground Experience

5.5/10

Overall Service

6/10

Total

35/50



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