SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A320 | LHR-ARN | Club Europe
Clarion, Stockholm Arlanda
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | ARN-DOH | Business
The Airport Hotel, Doha
Qatar Airways | Airbus A350 | DOH-SIN | Business
Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 777-200 | SIN-HKG | Business
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 747-400 | HKG-HND | First Class
Hilton, Tokyo Odaiba
ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class
Courtyard by Marriott, Osaka
Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business
Four Points by Sheraton, Seoul
EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business
Novotel, Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business
Conrad Centennial, Singapore
Qatar Airways | Airbus A330 | SIN-DOH | Business
Doubletree by Hilton, Doha Old Town
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | DOH-ARN | Business
Radisson Blu, SkyCity, Stockholm Arlanda
SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus
Sun Air | Dornier 328 Jet | GOT-MAN | Euro Traveller
Hilton, Manchester Airport
British Airways | Airbus A319 | MAN-LHR | UK Domestic

Airline: Scandinavian
Aircraft: Boeing 737-600
Route: Stockholm Arlanda – Gothenburg
Flight number: SK157
Seat number: 4A
Cabin: Business
Flight date: April 2016

Check In / Security

Check in was made in the basement area of Terminal 4 at Arlanda. it was more or less deserted, therefore I was able to dump my bag within seconds.

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It was then up one level to the fast track security, where once again I was the only person there – so once more, through in a few seconds.

Lounge

The lounge was up one level again, and was your standard SAS Domestic lounge – self entry with a basic range of snacks and coffee.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding began a little behind the advertised time. When it did, there didn’t appear to be any priority call made – just the “all aboard”. I couldn’t be totally sure though as the announcement wasn’t made in English.

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Once on board I took my seat of 4A, and luckily they middle seat stayed free. This is where SAS’s premium shorthaul product is a little different to other European airlines – they don’t block the middle seat.

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Service

Once again, where Scandinavian’s European premium product differs from most is the service. Rather than a full blown on board meal, its a case of the buy on board being complimentary. I ordered a wrap, a chocolate bar and some water.

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Arrival

Arrival was made more or less on schedule. There was a short wait whilst the bags came out, but when they did mine was one of the first – so priority baggage working well.

Conclusions

I’m glad I got to finally try SAS Plus. I’d always ben curious as to how the concept worked and I must admit, I think its a good enough idea. However I’d be hard pushed to call it a business class as such. More of an economy plus product. Would I fly in this cabin again? Well if the price was right – admittedly, my Star Alliance Gold status gets me a lot of the perks that are on offer anyway, such as priority check in, fast track security, lounge access, and priority baggage – so for me personally its all about the on board service. However if you don’t hold any Star Alliance status, then it may be of more value.

Questions? Comments? Come and Say Hi on Twitter!

Look out for the YouTube video soon!

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EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A320 | LHR-ARN | Club Europe
Clarion, Stockholm Arlanda
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | ARN-DOH | Business
The Airport Hotel, Doha
Qatar Airways | Airbus A350 | DOH-SIN | Business
Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 777-200 | SIN-HKG | Business
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 747-400 | HKG-HND | First Class
Hilton, Tokyo Odaiba
ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class
Courtyard by Marriott, Osaka
Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business
Four Points by Sheraton, Seoul
EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business
Novotel, Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business
Conrad Centennial, Singapore
Qatar Airways | Airbus A330 | SIN-DOH | Business
Doubletree by Hilton, Doha Old Town
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | DOH-ARN | Business
Radisson Blu, SkyCity, Stockholm Arlanda
SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus
Sun Air | Dornier 328 Jet | GOT-MAN | Euro Traveller
Hilton, Manchester Airport
British Airways | Airbus A319 | MAN-LHR | UK Domestic

Airline: EVA Air
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Route: Taipei – Singapore
Flight number: BR215
Seat number: 6A
Cabin: Business
Flight date: April 2016

Check In / Security

As I had checked in at Seoul for this flight, I had no reason to visit the check in desk again. It looked reasonably well laid out however. Once again, there was no fast track at security, and it was very busy – however it didn’t take too long to pass through both security and passport control.

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Lounge

EVA Air have a host of lounges here. I was given an invite to the Infinity lounge, so thats where I headed first. It was very busy, but the design was good enough.

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As I was struggling to find a seat, I decided to head across to the Singapore Airlines lounge a short while later, accessed by my Star Alliance Gold status. Thankfully, this was much quieter and was more airy.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding was delayed due to the fact the aircraft was late arriving on to stand. Once boarding did commence, it was done in groups and from what I could see it was enforced quite well. Once on board, I was shown to my seat in the forward business cabin.

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Service

Once settled, I was provided with a welcome drink and hot towel.

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Once we had departed, menus were handed out and an initial drinks run was carried out.

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Followed shortly after by the main meal service.

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Arrival

During descent, sweets were handed out:

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Arrival was typical SIN style – very fast and efficient. There was no wait at passport control, my bag was the sixth out and I was at my hotel downtown within thirty minutes of landing.

Conclusions

Another fine flight on EVA Air, where the crew were more than friendly, the food tasty and the Cirrus seats were comfortable.

Questions? Comments? Come and Say Hi on Twitter!

Look out for the YouTube video soon!

EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A320 | LHR-ARN | Club Europe
Clarion, Stockholm Arlanda
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | ARN-DOH | Business
The Airport Hotel, Doha
Qatar Airways | Airbus A350 | DOH-SIN | Business
Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 777-200 | SIN-HKG | Business
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 747-400 | HKG-HND | First Class
Hilton, Tokyo Odaiba
ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class
Courtyard by Marriott, Osaka
Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business
Four Points by Sheraton, Seoul
EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business
Novotel, Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business
Conrad Centennial, Singapore
Qatar Airways | Airbus A330 | SIN-DOH | Business
Doubletree by Hilton, Doha Old Town
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | DOH-ARN | Business
Radisson Blu, SkyCity, Stockholm Arlanda
SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus
Sun Air | Dornier 328 Jet | GOT-MAN | Euro Traveller
Hilton, Manchester Airport
British Airways | Airbus A319 | MAN-LHR | UK Domestic

Airline: EVA Air
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Route: Seoul Incheon – Taipei
Flight number: BR169
Seat number: 8K
Cabin: Business
Flight date: April 2016

Check In / Security

Check in was made fairly quickly – due to there being no queue at the business line. My bag was sent on its way to Singapore and I was issued with a pair of boarding passes for this journey.

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I attempted to use the fast track security, but was told that business class passengers or status holders weren’t eligible, and that I’d have to use the regular line. Thats the first time I’d experienced that.

Lounge

The lounge I used was over in the satellite area, where most of the non Korean airlines depart from. It resembled a large library and had a good restaurant area too. The only minor complaint was that it was a little dark due to the fact there were no windows.

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Boarding / Onboard

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Boarding was very well organised. Rather than making any PA announcement, the ground crew walked through the gate area with signs asking for group one, two, three etc. and lined them up accordingly. Once on board, I was met with the B/E Aerospace diamond regional cabin.

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Service

The service started right as I entered the plane – I was met at the door, shown to my seat and asked if I wanted anything to drink. I ordered a water and it turned up with a hot towel.

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A few moments later, menus were handed out.

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Once airborne, my meal choice was confirmed (I had pre ordered online) and drinks order was taken. This was handed out a few moments later.

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I finished off the service with a Baileys.

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And the third hot towel of the day

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Arrival

Upon descent a choice of sweets were handed out.

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Arrival was made and within a couple of minutes of landing we were on stand. There was a small queue at passport control, but it still took no longer than around ten minutes to be processed.

Conclusions

A decent enough flight with EVA Air. The onboard staff, while seemingly struggling with English a little, were very polite, with lots of pleases and thank you’s as well as thanking me for waiting every time they delivered a meal or a drink. The food was good enough quality and the online ordering is another decent touch.

Questions? Comments? Come and Say Hi on Twitter!

Look out for the YouTube video soon!

Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A320 | LHR-ARN | Club Europe
Clarion, Stockholm Arlanda
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | ARN-DOH | Business
The Airport Hotel, Doha
Qatar Airways | Airbus A350 | DOH-SIN | Business
Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 777-200 | SIN-HKG | Business
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 747-400 | HKG-HND | First Class
Hilton, Tokyo Odaiba
ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class
Courtyard by Marriott, Osaka
Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business
Four Points by Sheraton, Seoul
EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business
Novotel, Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business
Conrad Centennial, Singapore
Qatar Airways | Airbus A330 | SIN-DOH | Business
Doubletree by Hilton, Doha Old Town
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | DOH-ARN | Business
Radisson Blu, SkyCity, Stockholm Arlanda
SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus
Sun Air | Dornier 328 Jet | GOT-MAN | Euro Traveller
Hilton, Manchester Airport
British Airways | Airbus A319 | MAN-LHR | UK Domestic

Airline: Asiana
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Route: Osaka Kansai – Seoul Incheon
Flight number: OZ111
Seat number: 4K
Cabin: Business
Flight date: April 2016

Check In / Security

Check in was reasonably busy at both the economy and business lanes, however an agent spotted I was alone and opened up a business desk just for me – meaning I was waiting for just a minute or two. I was told that the seat I had selected had somebody next to me, and that if I moved back a row, I’d likely have the adjacent seat free – great customer service.

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As I was handed a voucher for the fast track, security was completed in just a few seconds. However as is the case with most Asian airports, it was passport control that took the time.

Lounge

Asiana use the ANA lounge here in Osaka – this (and departure gate for that matter) was a shuttle ride away. It was pretty small, busy but had reasonable food and drink options.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding was well organised. The Business and Status passengers were called first, and economy passengers were lined up separately. There were two jet bridges, with the business passengers using the first one, attached to L1. On board, I was met with your standard regional business cabin.

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Service

The only service on the ground was a welcome drink.

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Once we departed, menus and hot towels were distributed.

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I chose the beef and it was delivered shortly after.
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One thing to note was that I was addressed by name throughout the flight.

Arrival

Arrival was a bit of a nightmare. As there was a whole load of international flights arriving at the same time, it took a good hour or so to get through passport control. So long in fact that the baggage claim hall was full of bags that had been taken off the carousel as their owners hadn’t yet turned up.

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Conclusions

Asiana provided a very good experience on this 90 minute hop to Korea. The two crew looking after the business class cabin were smiling throughout and the food was very tasty indeed. The only minor point was the arrivals experience at Incheon, however I can hardly fault the airline for that.

Questions? Comments? Come and Say Hi on Twitter!

Look out for the YouTube video soon!

ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A320 | LHR-ARN | Club Europe
Clarion, Stockholm Arlanda
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | ARN-DOH | Business
The Airport Hotel, Doha
Qatar Airways | Airbus A350 | DOH-SIN | Business
Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 777-200 | SIN-HKG | Business
Cathay Pacific | Boeing 747-400 | HKG-HND | First Class
Hilton, Tokyo Odaiba
ANA | Boeing 787 | HND-ITM | Premium Class
Courtyard by Marriott, Osaka
Asiana | Airbus A330 | KIX-ICN | Business
Four Points by Sheraton, Seoul
EVA Air | Airbus A330 | ICN-TPE | Business
Novotel, Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air | Boeing 777-300ER | TPE-SIN | Business
Conrad Centennial, Singapore
Qatar Airways | Airbus A330 | SIN-DOH | Business
Doubletree by Hilton, Doha Old Town
Qatar Airways | Boeing 787 | DOH-ARN | Business
Radisson Blu, SkyCity, Stockholm Arlanda
SAS | Boeing 737-600 | ARN-GOT | SAS Plus
Sun Air | Dornier 328 Jet | GOT-MAN | Euro Traveller
Hilton, Manchester Airport
British Airways | Airbus A319 | MAN-LHR | UK Domestic

Airline: All Nippon Airways
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Route: Tokyo Haneda – Osaka Itami
Flight number: NH27
Seat number: 2K
Cabin: Premium
Flight date: April 2016

Check In / Security

Upon arrival at Terminal 2, I wasn’t too sure where I needed to be. I asked one of the agents, and automatically got shoved into a long check in queue. As far as I could see, there was no premium check in. Around 25 minutes later I was finally checked in (Online check in didn’t work for me) and I headed up to the observation deck for 25 minutes or so.

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Only upon my return, did I see a hidden premium check in area for Star Gold’s. It housed a separate security line, and I took advantage of this. I was the only person there and I was processed very quickly.

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Lounge

Almost immediately as you exit security, there is the entrance to the lounge. Its a little on the basic side – this is a domestic lounge after all – but reasonably sized and separated into quite a few smaller, distinct areas.

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There are virtually no food options however and a basic drinks selection.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding was a little late due to the inbound aircraft being a little delayed. When it did get underway, it was strictly by status and cabin. I took my seat of 2K in the small premium cabin. For a regional product, it had a fairly decent range of connection options.

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Service

Upon boarding newspapers were offered. Once underway, bento boxes were handed out and drinks offered. Not much more happened, as this was just a 45 minute flight, most of which was quite turbulent.

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Arrival

Upon arrival, there was a bit of a wait for the bags to begin arriving, but the priority baggage system worked well – mine was the sixth bag out.

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Conclusions

A fairly decent experience on this short hop. It was a bit of a nuisance about the check in, but that was mainly my fault. From what I saw of the premium check in, it looked pretty decent. The lounge was a comfortable enough place to wait for a couple of hours – although the food options could definitely been better. Onboard, the seats were very comfortable for a regional product. I’ve sat in less comfortable long haul business seats. And the snacks dished out were also very tasty.

Questions? Comments? Come and Say Hi on Twitter!

Look out for the YouTube video soon!

LOT/Air Berlin/BA | B734/E175/Q400/A321 | LHR-WAW-KRK-TXL-LHR

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

This report starts out with a message I received from fellow a.netter gabrielchew whilst I was in Argentina, back in April. He mentioned that he’d found some great fares to Krakow with LOT over a weekend in June – just £85 in fact. Without much hesitation, I logged on to the LOT website and the flights were booked.

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I also splashed out an extra £19 to reserve seats, which is something new since I had last flown with the airline in December 2012.

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I guess it was a little pricey, however due to the low fares it didn’t make the final price too outrageous. Also the fact that it included seats for all four flights, meant it was still far better value than the £15 per sector that British Airways wanted to charge me for pre booking seats on a trip to Milan in August.

On to the day of departure. I did consider exploring the train, as I was still studying options to get to LHR that didn’t involve the coach but I figured as it would cost the same but take double the time I really wouldn’t gain all that much by doing so. So for the first time in a good few months, it was on to the coach.

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Upon arrival at T2, I attempted to use a kiosk to grab my boarding passes, however as I’d already checked in, it didn’t like it and I ended up having to join a queue instead.

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A few moments later, it was through a reasonably busy security, where I was singled out for a random search. Once that was done, I finally met up with Gabriel and we headed over to the very decent United Club for a couple of cocktails.

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After an hour or so in here, we moved over to the SQ lounge.

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Tasty food in here

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And the Suite style seats looked great

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The third stop of the day was the Air Canada Lounge.

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More cocktails – must admit this one wasn’t all that great.

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Again, great food selections

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The final stop of the tour was the LH lounge, which was back in T2A.

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After a good few hour lounging, it was time to board. Thanks for all the guesting in Gabriel – much appreciated. I’ll have to make the effort to get myself a Star Gold card…

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LO280
LHR-WAW
June 2015
Boeing 737-400 / SP-LLF
Seat: 21F / Economy
Scheduled: 17:50/21:20
Off Stand: 17:54
On Stand: 21:27

We made our way on to a very warm and retro cabin, along with a screaming child and some tight legroom.

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The cabin filled up reasonably quickly before the boarding complete announcement was given. There was a major downpour happening outside, and my initial suspicions were that this would reduce the flow in and out of the airport.

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The captain announced a flying time of two hours, but no delay so I guess we were lucky on this occasion. We pushed back a few moments later and made a slow journey over to 27R.

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Once we finally did get going, it wasn’t too long before we were into the cloud.

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But a few turns later we were out of it again and it appeared we were dodging a few of them.

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Before clearing them for good.

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The seatbelt sign went off and an announcement was made although I couldn’t understand a word of it.

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I stuck a couple of videos on my iPad shortly after.

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During which time, the BOB service was started – and there were quite a few takers. Once the sales service had been completed, the free service began – which was just water and a Prince Polo. Yet another cut back since I last flew with LO back in 2012.

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I stuck with the iPad until we were into our descent into Warsaw.

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We made a cloudy descent until touchdown.

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It was then off through passport control, through security and immediately into the lounge.

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Around thirty minutes before departure, we made our way down to the gate, where boarding started more or less straight away.

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LO3911
WAW-KRK
June 2015
Embraer E175 / SP-LIF
Seat: 4A / Economy
Scheduled: 22:45/23:40
Off Stand: 22:36
On Stand: 23:20

I took my seat and very shortly afterwards, the boarding complete announce was given. There were quite a few spare seats around, which was a little odd as according to the seat map upon check in, most seats had been taken.

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The legroom on this one was slightly more generous.

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Flight time was announced as just 35 minutes.

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We pushed back and made our way over to the active.

Departure came, and as soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I ventured back to find Gabriel to see if he wanted to move to the spare seat next to me.

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Although as he had the whole of the final row to himself, I took 21D instead. The service was completed pretty quickly and then descent was well under way.

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I returned to my assigned seat just as we were passing downtown Kraków.

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Not too long later, we touched down, and then spun around on the runway to head off in the direction of the terminal.

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It was then on to a bus to make a very short drive over to the temporary looking terminal.

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Strange how this was classed as an international arrival

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A few seconds later, we were in a taxi heading for the city.

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I checked into my very different looking hotel room upon arrival

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Then took a walk with Gabriel across the square to his hotel before calling it a night.

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The next day, Gabriel made his way back to my hotel and we explored what the city had to offer.

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Including some local dancing, complete with noises that sounded like a car crash…

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Shopping

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Sheltering from the rain in the castle

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Local (ish) cuisine

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Once we were done in the city, we took the bus back to the airport.

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A lot of building work going on here – hence the W.I.P looking arrivals terminal.

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Upon arrival, we headed straight for a busy security as we both had a full set of boarding passes.

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Security was pretty strict – I ended up having to to put a completely empty bag through the scanner, and Gabriel ended up having to put a pocket full of tissues through the x-Ray as they were apparently setting off the metal detector. Hmm. Once this was done, it was over to the lounge, once more courtesy of Gabriel’s Star gold status.

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At pretty much the time boarding was due to begin, an announcement was made saying that our flight had been cancelled. So it was back through security and over to the LOT office.

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Easier said than done. After around two hours in the queue we were finally seen to. They said that there were no more flights this evening and they initially wanted to put us on LH via FRA or MUC the following afternoon. Instead though, Gabriel had found a routing with AB and BA via TXL in the morning and this was granted without too much fuss. It actually worked out in our favour as we ended up being booked into a pretty high booking class – therefore getting a pretty decent haul of BA Avios/Tier Points. If we had flown with LOT, we would have earned nothing due to it being in such a low booking class.

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It was then over to another queue to sort out a hotel. As the Hilton Garden Inn across the road was a very reasonable price, we decided to book ourselves into there instead – rather than have to wait around for them to make a reservation and then take a taxi. The whole process took around three hours.

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Dinner, courtesy of LOT. I ended up bringing most of it home with me though, as I wasn’t really up to eating anything.

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The next morning, it was back across the road to the terminal. Luckily this time, things were much quieter and we were in the lounge within ten minutes.

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We stayed here until boarding was announced.

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Despite our boarding passes saying that we had fast track, there wasn’t one available so we were at the back of a long queue, before heading down to a bus.

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LO3924
KRK-WAW
June 2015
Embraer E195 / SP-
Seat: 8D / Economy
Scheduled: 17:55/18:45

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AB8203
KRK-TXL
June 2015
Bombardier Q400 / D-ABQC
Seat: 17A / Economy
Scheduled: 10:50/12:00
Off Stand: 10:54
On Stand: 12:12

We made a slow drive over to the waiting plane and I took my seat – once I had booted Gabriel out of it…

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The flight deck announced a flying time of an hour and fifteen, before the engines were started and we made our way over to the active. The initially clear skies soon clouded over.

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The crew were a little slow getting the trolley out, therefore by the time I had been served, descent had started.

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In fact the rubbish wasn’t cleared until quite late into the descent. The weather wasn’t quite as good in Berlin, but there were a few views to be had on approach.

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We touched down and then took the scenic route over to the Air Berlin terminal – with most of the other passengers getting up and grabbing their bags along the way.

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Upon arrival, it was a short bus ride over to the terminal, before heading over to the main building.

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We then spent an hour or so on the terrace, where there were some quite interesting movements.

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I ended up taking extra time due to the fact I was singled out for an additional random check – this meant exiting the security area, and being taken to a separate room to have my electronics swabbed. A few moments later I was back at the gate area where boarding began a few moments later.

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BA993
TXL-LHR
June 2015
Airbus A321 / G-EUXL
Seat: 33F / Economy
Scheduled: 14:30/15:30
Off Stand: 14:41
On Stand: 15:49

I made my way on board and took my seat, which had the leftovers of the previous occupants lunch on it.

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The flight was unsurprisingly full – despite the complaints about BA lately, the “enhancements” are clearly working… And due to this the crew spent a while re arranging bags in the overhead lockers. The captain started his speech, and no doubt he mentioned the flying time, but my attention was drawn to a stroppy elder American woman in the wrong seat and refusing to budge. She eventually did, but made no secret of the fact she would be getting up “at least six times”. We pushed back and headed off into the housing estate for departure.

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On our way up, things got a bit bumpy, and we seemed to be in cloud for a lot longer than on this mornings flight.

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Also different to the mornings flight was the fact the crew started the service much quicker. It seems that the snacks have now been enhanced to UK domestic levels on a wider selection of European flights now, as on a flight to Frankfurt (which is nearer to London) a couple of weeks previously, I was offered a wrap.

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I relied on the iPad for my entertainment on this flight.

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Descent began, and the first officer announced that it was a little busy this afternoon, so therefore we had to slow down. But even so, we would still have to hold for fifteen minutes.

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We were treated to a great aerial tour of London – probably one of the best I’ve had, before touching down on to 27R.

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It was a slow journey over to T5B before pulling on to stand. Finally back in the UK – around 17 hours later than expected…

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It was the usual wait to leave before heading back over to the main terminal, and out to wait for the coach home.

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LOT – ugh. Battered old 737, uncomfortable seats, cancelled flight, poor planning when it came to rebooking and despite being told by two members of ground staff that the flight was cancelled for technical reasons, flat out refused to pay any EC261 compensation. At least they were cheap…

Air Berlin were consistent with my other flights with them. Decent enough service pretty good crew and no reason to complain. Although its a bit of shame they have to use that temporary terminal at TXL indefinitely.

British Airways – once more, not much can be said about them. Although its a shame the on board catering appears to have been enhanced once more.

Avianca | A320/A330 | BOG-MDE-MAD | Business

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

So after a late arrival into Colombia (and being nicely ripped off by a taxi driver in the process) it was a bit of a late start. I ventured out to Monserrate, the mountain that overlooks pretty much the whole of Bogota. The advice on TripAdvisor was to catch a cable car up the mountain, and a funicular back down again. Not sure why it was any better to do it this way, but I followed this advice.

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The view from the top was pretty good – although the weather could have been a little better. Cold and damp – much like a typical April day in the UK in fact.

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El Dorado airport in the near distance.

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Inside the church

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Taking a walk through the flea market

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And then taking the funicular back down the mountain again.

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A couple of the locals taking their pet llama’s out for a afternoon stroll.

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Before taking another overpriced cab back to the airport. This raised an interesting point – would my flight be classed as an international or a domestic – technically, it was just one flight from BOG to MAD, with a technical stop in MDE.

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Upon arrival, I went to investigate. It turns out that it was classed as a domestic flight.

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I was sent in the direction of the domestic gates, where it was through a simple security check – again, no liquids, iPads etc out of the bag.

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Almost straight after security there was a lounge – where there was a bit of confusion as to whether I should be granted entry.

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They kept asking to see my Star Gold card – something that I don’t have. It’s only when I said I was flying business they granted me entry. They also mentioned that there was another lounge that I was eligible for. I figured I’d stick to this one for the time being as was here. It wasn’t really anything to write home about.

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Nice and premium

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The good point of this lounge though was that there were pretty good views outside.

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After around an hour, I felt like a change of scenery, so I decided to check out the other lounge – which just happened to be right next door. So i took a brief walk of the pier. As it turned out, this would be my ride up to MDE.

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The second lounge wasn’t that much different, other than this one had no views and a slightly better food selection.

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After a while, the lounge emptied out nicely, until there were only a couple of us occupying it. Coupled with a decent wifi connection and comfortable seating, it was quite pleasant.

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I stayed here until around thirty minutes before boarding. I was secretly hoping for an A318, but as I arrived at the gate I found the earlier A320 still waiting patiently.

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AV16
BOG-MDE
April 2015
Airbus A320 / N980AV
Seat: 3A / Business
Scheduled: 19:26/20:24
Off Stand: 19:28
On Stand: 20:15

I took my assigned seat and although it looked the same as last nights version, there were a few major differences.

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This one also had IFE – something that would have been more useful on last nights sectors, rather than on this evenings 25 minute hop.

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The rear of the plane filled up, but the front didn’t. In the end there were six of the twelve business seats taken – including an Avianca captain hitching a ride.

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The door was closed and I had the seat next to me free. As well as a completely empty row in front. Although it still wasn’t an entirely comfortable flight – the child in the row behind decided it was going to scream it’s lungs out pretty much from boarding onwards… We pushed back a couple of minutes behind schedule and made a speedy taxi over to the active. Only to wait there for a good few minutes for a LAN A320 to land.

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The mountain can be seen in this pic if you look carefully enough.

Once we did lift off, from looking at the sky map it became apparent that this would be a very short flight – just 28 minutes in fact.

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A few moments later, a trolley rolled back to the economy section – which I thought was ambitious. And a couple of seconds later, the purser took my drink order. Just a water for the moment – in a plastic cup. Hardly premium. I noticed the hot drinks were distributed in polystyrene cups too.

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No sooner had I finished my drink descent had started. And the trolley that had gone back to the economy section rolled forward again – impressive!

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We touched down into Medellin just 25 minutes after departure.

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As there’s no airside transfer area here, it was a case of going land side and re-clearing security.

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It was only as I was clearing security that I grabbed my boarding pass and I noticed that I’d been moved to seat 2C since checking in at EZE.

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I figured I’d head up to the lounge and see if they could change it there. Except I then discovered there was no lounge. I noticed there was a Copa lounge, and as it had Star Alliance stickers plastered all over it, I thought I’d try my luck there – only to find out it was closed. In fact most of the terminal seemed pretty abandoned. So I had no option but to sit and wait in a pretty bland departures area.

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One thing of note was that I’d once again log a Star Alliance logo jet. A One World logo jet brought me to South America so I guess it’s only fair that a Star Alliance one would take me back to Europe.

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As soon as I saw the agents occupy the gate, I pounced on them begging for a change of seat… And after quite a long uno momento I was told that the flight was full, so too bad. I must admit I was feeling a bit miffed with this as I’d checked with both Expedia and Avianca before hand that I had window seats, and they confirmed. Around an hour later, boarding began, and I was the third on board.

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AV16
MDE-MAD
April 2015
Airbus A330 / N280AV
Seat: 2D / Business
Scheduled: 22:20/15:10
Off Stand: 22:16
On Stand: 14:58

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My final roll of the dice to get a window seat was to pester my seat mate for a swap. Yes, I know I hate it when people do that – but karma played a hand and he said he preferred a window seat. Ah well, least I could get up as many times as I wanted.

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Welcome drinks of OJ, water and champagne were handed out.

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Followed by menus.

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And finally Tumi branded amenity kits, along with shoe bags. This is now in use as my gadget charger bag!

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Boarding was completed, and annoyingly there were a couple of window seats free (including my original seat of 3A – I knew I should have just “lost” my new boarding pass…). As they both had somebody in the aisle though, I didn’t want to disturb their privacy. I did however move across to 2D. If I couldn’t have a window, I figured I may as well have a spare seat next to me. The safety video was shown whilst still on stand.

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The flight time was announced at 9 hours and 15 minutes, which would mean my longest sector on an A330. We pushed back a bit early, but then sat on the taxi way for a good ten minutes before pulling off. I must admit, the A330 is pretty quiet when you’re front and centre – I hadn’t even noticed the engines had started! A rough taxi and takeoff followed. During the climb, I decided to see what was in the amenity kit – very basic. A pack of tissues, a cheap pen, a toothbrush, some unbranded eyeshades, a chap stick and some hand cream.

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I also took a look at the in flight entertainment, but nothing really took my fancy. So I went with an episode of Top Gear on the iPad instead. Just as the hot towels were being handed out.

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Not too long after, the meal service began. I chose the chicken and it was pretty good, but still your typical airline food.

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Not so typical was the flower placed on the meal tray.

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Next up the crew pushed a trolley round full of the dessert options. I opted for the custard tart – now this was very good.

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Once the meal trays had been cleared away, I went to freshen up.

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I’ve seen these somewhere else recently?

Water bottles were handed out a few moments later.

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I reclined my seat fully into bed mode – although it wasn’t quite fully flat, it still did the job as I managed a good six hours or so.

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Panorama of the cabin before bed.

I only woke when the crew put the lighting into morning mode.

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Seat controls

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Power options

Hot towels were handed out, as well as coffee. But not being a big coffee drinker I declined the latter option.

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Breakfast was then served. I went for the pancakes, although it turned out they were actually waffles. They still hit the spot though.

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There wasn’t too much longer until we made our descent. The flight deck announced that it was windy and rainy in Madrid, so there might be a bit of a rough ride in – but it was nothing to worry about. During descent, packets of Colombian coffee were handed out – which was a decent gesture.

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Followed by chocolates.

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We then ended up holding for a while, before being ushered on to finals.

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We made the way over to T4S and I was on my way within a few minutes. Once we arrived on stand, the doors opened and people started disembarking, however the flight deck appeared to have forgotten something.

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It took quite a while to make my way through the terminal, through passport control and then on to the shuttle to the main terminal.

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But the longest wait was at baggage claim. Despite it taking a good while to reach, there were still no bags going around.

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Luckily a guy in an Avianca hi-viz was on the case and around ten minutes later, the first of the bags started appearing. Mine was out within a few minutes and I headed out.

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Rather than take the Metro, like I had done every other time I’d been in Madrid, I decided to take the train this time – as I’d booked a hotel in Plaza Mayor. Not only was it much quicker than taking the Metro, it wasn’t subject to the airport supplement, so it was also cheaper.

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I arrived in the centre around 25 minutes later and made the short walk to my hotel, The Eurostars Plaza Mayor.

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And with that, this report comes to an end.

Avianca once again did a fine job in the air. The service on the BOG-MDE sector could have been better, but on a sector of just 25 minutes it wasn’t a big deal. And the service on the MDE-MAD sector, again, was on par with other airlines. The ground service was a bit of a let down though. The lounges in BOG were very basic, being told that it wasn’t possible to move seats due to the flight being full – when it wasn’t, and then the whole booking issues have made me think I’m likely to look at other options in future – which is a shame, as in the air they were fine.