Colombian flag carrier Avianca’s long awaited lounge upgrade has finally opened in Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport, and it appears the airline went all out to please its Lifemiles and Star Alliance frequent flyers. The lounge has opened shortly after Avianca was able to consolidate all of its flights into the primary of El Dorado International Airport’s two terminals.
Most commuters found the old, often overcrowded and somewhat spartan Diamond and Gold lounges in the domestic section of El Dorado underwhelming, lacking even their own restroom facilities. Those that grew accustomed to these accommodations are certain to be wowed by Avianca’s vast new domestic lounge, occupying its own mezzanine.
Update: As of 2020, Avianca (without public announcement) is apparently barring its Lifemiles Silver members from complementary access to its El Dorado lounge and has cut back on food service.
Rather than separating Silver and Gold Lifemiles members, Avianca adopted the strategy of providing a first class experience to all elite levels, and building a lounge large enough to accommodate the frequent backups that can happen at the airline’s main hub due to weather in Bogotá and connecting cities. Even though the new facilities are for domestic travelers, they are luxurious enough to compete with international lounges at major global hubs.
Avianca’s new domestic lounge is even larger than Copa’s international lounge in Panamá City, a stop many travelers throughout Latin America will be familiar with. Those travelers remembering the little sandwiches and brownies that were standard fare in El Dorado’s old Gold and Diamond lounges will be pleasantly surprised at Avianca’s new lounge offerings.
The lounge features buffet-style meal service with hot food, a separate dessert and sweets bar, and a full bar with a bartender that, in addition to serving drinks, serves pizza, empanadas, nachos and the like. The buffet offers hot foods like ratatouille, hearty Colombian fare, assorted antipasti selections including Manchego cheese and prosciutto ham, and several varieties of pasta, cold cuts, vegetables,and salad.
There is ample workspace, with both open style work areas, complete with auxiliary monitors that travelers can connect laptops to, and also individual cubicles designed to offer a degree of privacy, whether the motive be confidentiality or concentration.
In Avianca’s design, there seems to be zones to accommodate travelers in several different modes: Full work mode, intermediate (relax and catch up on email, messages, and calls), or full relax mode. There are flight status screens throughout the facility, and large screen television lounge areas playing sports and movies.
The new lounge is a vast improvement over previous facilities and sure to be a welcome relief for harried travelers and commuters who want to catch a breath after battling Bogotás infamous traffic.