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    Every time I fly Avianca, I vow that it will be the last time but sometimes it’s difficult to avoid without cutting my nose off to spite my face.

    I have had endless experiences where flights have been cancelled or delayed with missed connections where you are then abandoned – and I’m talking Business Class here – along with poor catering and surly cabin crew.

    I am travelling MiamI / Bogotá later this week – in Economy this time. During the online booking process, I was able to assign my seat on the inbound leg whilst the seat map for the outbound was completely blanked out. I therefore attempted to contact AV here in the UK by phone but after going through the various options process, I kept being shunted back to he start. It was absolutely impossible to speak to any human being. I therefore called AV in the US and managed to speak to someone. Armed with my Reservation Code, I explained what I wanted – to assign myself a seat on the outbound. I was told that for this particular flight, it was not possible to do this online as all preassigned seats had to be paid for – unlike, it seems, the inbound. Odd – don’t know if this is to do with the plane type – A330 outbound and A319 inbound. Anyway…I was then asked a load of security questions including my Passport Number which, stupidly?, I did not have to hand, so that was the end of that call whilst I went to retrieve it. After calling back and going through all the security rigmarole again, I was told that I needed to speak to Saies and was transferred. It then seemed an age for them to be able to pull up the seat map before we were then able to agree a seat. I was then told that I would now be connected to an automated payment system before being handed back to the Agent. This appeared to work ok as I entered my Amex details at the end of which the automated system confirmed that my payment was accepted. Once back with the Agent, I was told that UK Amex cards are not acceptable and that I would have to go through the process again with another card – Visa. This again appeared accepted by the automated system but the Agent then said that an error had occurred and that I would have to do it again. It worked the third time and I was then told that I would get an email confirming that my seat assignment was accepted. This has now been received.

    So 50 minutes on the phone just to have a seat assigned – FFS. No wonder this airline is in dire straits


    A pity, because they used to be very good before everything became dehumanized and automated.


    Indeed. Automation = no accountability for purported service.

    I am thinking to visit Colombia and was eager to try Avianca but frankly this grief and nonsense puts me off them.


    I am normally a forgiving customer and will try an airline a second time should something terrible go wrong in my first experience. Well, my first experience with Avianca last year was my only and last. It was that bad.

    I had a MIA>BOG>MAD booked in J with a pleasant 24-hour stopover in Bogota which I was very much looking forward to and I wanted to try their J 787 product. My first outbound from MIA to BOG started decently enough until the aircraft overheated while ascending from MIA over the Atlantic Ocean. We eventually returned safely to MIA. They eventually decided to cancel the flight and the rebooking process was a bit chaotic – understandably. They couldn’t get me to Bogota that day, despite the fact it was still morning and they had two other flights later. Nor would they put me on the Iberia non-stop to Miami which left later that day. At that point I was wiling to forgo my visit to Bogota just to get to Madrid without delay.

    They confirmed me on the same outbound the next day to Bogota with a safe 2-hour connection to Madrid. I arrived at the airport that day only to see that the flight had been cancelled already and no-one was tending the checkin-counter. I received no text or email and I had checked-in online and received boarding pass.

    At this point, I was completely done with Avianca. I had to phone 3 different Avianca departments to inform them I intended to cancel my ticket and get a full refund which took about 90 minutes. I then phoned my Lufthansa Miles & More line and got a one-way business seat on Lufthansa that same day MIA>FRA>MAD. And in another 10 min online transaction, I booked a one-way return on TAP in J.

    It eventually took 4 months (and several further phone calls) for Avianca to process my refund.

    It’s a shame. I really was looking forward to a new experience. Mechanicals happen, but the events thereafter were utterly unforgivable.

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