Trip Report: CUZ-BOG
Sniff sniff, time to leave Peru. It's been a great trip, with highlights being of course Machu Picchu and climbing up Huayna Picchu on hands and knees at some points, meeting llamas, the stunning landscapes of the Andes, and meeting wonderful people and eating great food.
Luckily, we had a one-day stopover in Bogotá still to look forward to, and an Avianca A319 was going to take us there. Avianca is a Colombian brand, but through a series of mergers acquisitions is one of the two pan-Latin American carriers, the other being LATAM. So actually, our Avianca flight was technically operated by "Trans American Airlines," or TACA Peru, the Peruvian arm of the Salvadoran airline TACA, with whom Avianca merged in 2009 and which adopted the Avianca brand name in 2013. Whew!
Thanks to Flyertalk, I learned of a cool perk that's not publicized anywhere: as a Star Alliance Gold flyer, you can request complimentary upgrades on Avianca! That benefit doesn't officially exist with any other partner as far as I know. Indeed, at check-in I asked for the upgrade, and the agent put my parents and myself on the upgrade list (after asking her colleague to confirm the number of meals catered), and asked us to confirm at the gate.
Eventually, just two of us were upgraded, and my mom kindly let my dad and me sit in "Clase Ejecutiva." Before takeoff, we were offered a choice of orange juice or water, and I think champagne too? I chose orange juice, and we were given some mixed nuts, too.
There were some nice views of the mountains in the air, but it got dark pretty quickly.
For dinner, there was a choice between chicken and pasta, but by the time the flight attendant got to us, at the rear of the cabin on the right side, only two pastas were remaining. I was actually quite curious about the pasta, so wasn't disappointed not to have a choice. The pasta turned out to be ravioli, with some kind of yellow filling... corn? It was topped with mushrooms and some kind of brown sauce that wasn't exactly tomato sauce. It was decently tasty.
On the side, there was a salad of tomatoes, olives, and a soft queso fresco-type cheese. We also had a choice of white or wheat rolls, served with butter. On the tray there was also a cute salt and pepper shaker, with the pepper sitting on top of the salt shaker, and the two nesting together.
After trays were cleared, we were served dessert. It was kind of like a cheesecake, but with more flour, and candied orange peel. I like this kind of cheesecake-cake hybrid, and happily finished off my sister's since she didn't want hers.
Overall, this was a really pleasant flight, with a hot meal service and comfy leather seats in a 2-2 configuration. And of course, you can't beat a free upgrade!