Colombia’s flag carrier airline is a company, which has established a good name for itself at home and abroad. The airline has been quite successful as of late and its recent joining of the Star Alliance network has given an even greater indication of its expansion and quality.
The overall quality of the airplanes in which I flew was very good. Seats were spacious and comfortable. There was plenty of leg-room and the plane seemed fairly new. There was an excellent magazine available for reading which colorfully and attractively presented many aspects of Colombian culture and various destinations the airline serves, by the end of the flight I wanted to see them all.
Often some of Colombia’s airports are situated at high altitudes surrounded by towering mountains. This creates very peculiar winds and makes landing tricky since it is almost like swirling down to approach. Avianca pilots know their home terrain well and even when it can still be bumpy, one can expect a more gentle decent with Avianca than with other airlines from outside.
The staff were friendly and provided for the basic requirements of their job in a professional way. However they can really up their quality and advance their status as an airline if they just train the staff to out of their way a little more. Again I have no complaints as to the service I’ve received, but in the airline industry the carriers who are doing the best jobs are those who train their cabin crew to go above and beyond and to anticipate needs. A good way to describe the attitude of the staff would be polite, but disinterested. Those passengers who I’ve spoken with that have taken longer haul flights say that the service is good, food is average and entertainment system is more limited. Everything points to the fact that with a little focused effort Avianca is within easy range of joining a new tier of airline quality.
As regards fares Avianca seems to have a polarizing tendency. Sometimes flights are very expensive especially ones to the United States and abroad. At other times one can find excellent deals that are too good to pass up. It all seems to be a matter of luck as to when and where the good tickets appear. Oftentimes many of the complaints arising around the airline have to do with ground services and this is not entirely the airline’s fault. They can of course push these other companies and the airport itself to be more efficient, but ultimately the only process they control fully is the check in which I always found to be fast, friendly and courteous.
In short Avianca is an airline with a solid foundation. They need to upgrade and shape up their in flight service and standards in some aspects, but they already are on a good path and they are a rising serious contender on the world stage.