✅ Trip Verified
| Lima to Cusco. I was happy to see that the tour agency that booked all my tickets booked me on Avianca, as they were a star alliance member. This meant I could use my Royal Orchid Plus Gold privileges. Our whole itinerary was from Buenos Aires all the way to New York City, making stops along the way. One thing that made me wonder straight from check in was the matter of people trying to cut queues by going to the Business class line. I went up showing my gold bag tag (I had lost my wallet hence my gold card) and the guy still asked for my name. This happened at two of the three airports I had to check in at. Star Alliance lounge in Buenos Aires is crowded not because of lack of capacity, but because too many priority pass users were getting in. When I went there they had stopped admitting priority pass but thankfully my star gold status was enough to admit me plus my mum. Due to the amount of people, I could not connect to the lounge wifi. That is quite a bummer for any lounge. Boarding was organised from A to F, with star gold getting group B. I actually liked this more than boarding with business class passengers as you can board in a more orderly fashion. I settled in seat 7K, but as two rows behind us were empty, i opted to sit by myself and give my mum an empty seat next to her for more comfort. The seat is similar to Thai airways in two aspects; it had massive legroom and a footrest. Something much appreciated on a long flight. After takeoff, service didn’t commence until halfway through the flight, and the flight attendants explained this was due to the turbulent weather while flying over the Andes. At least I ate in the lounge. A paper box served on a flimsy tray with a yoghurt, and inside the box was a potato cake which seemed to be too salty. Food on Avianca seemed to be of okay quality, not comparable to Thai airways or ANA, all of which are in the same alliance. The paper box makes the food look cheap but for environmental quality it seemed okay. We had to go to re check our bags in Lima for our flight to Cusco, and that flight was uneventful. For our flight from Cusco to New York via Bogotá, I asked for an upgrade at check in. This was met with a very quick yes. Unfortunately there was no lounge either in Lima or Cusco. Lima is a hub airport so why is there no lounge!? The boarding pass still showed I was in economy, but at the gate they said “you were already upgraded at checkin, here are your new seat numbers.” This was an older business class and I found that the seat was merely just wider and had better service. The food was still so-so but I finished as I was hungry. Apparently for our overnight in Bogotá, we found out our luggage didn’t make it to Bogotá, due to weight constraints. They arrived four hours later after being rerouted. Re-checking the bags in Bogotá, I was put first on the standby upgrade list. I wasn’t upgraded as all business class passengers checked in. The Avianca lounge left a lot to be desired. The Star Alliance Lounge finder with my filters put on indicated I could use the diamond lounge, but I was denied access and directed to the gold lounge. I was wondering why the New York flight is frequently delayed upwards of an hour, and I found out that they do strip searches at the gate. But this was to select passengers and they delay the entire flight. This was more or less the same story, and flight attendants seemed friendly. Given the choice of alliance, I wouldn’t mind flying Avianca again that much.