Three airports – a South American journeyBack to Forum
Anonymous6 Aug 2013
Last week, I went to and fro between Caracas, Bogota and Quito. I checked in, and went through arrivals, at each one of them (twice, sometimes)
So how did they compare?
Arrivals: Bogota and Quito were both excellent. Charming and efficient immigration officials, bag on the carousel immediately after going through immigration. Caracas not so good. Immigration was OK, but baggage very slow. Once through to landside, it does not feel easy – the FCO advice section has a good, and I think accurate, section on Caracas airport.
Departures. Bogota was good. The queues not long, extra procedures well explained, and security quite quick. Quito was fair. The biggest problem was check-in desks being incorrectly listed. Once checked in, it was fine. Caracas was again the worst. Bad signage, long slow queues and tedious overblown security.
Landside? Make sure you have your transport firmly booked if arriving at Caracas. In Quito, allow plenty (I mean plenty) of time to get into the city.
Airside? All three are satisfactory, uncluttered, and mercifully without the excess of shops and irrelevant stuff we see in Europe. The Priority Pass lounge in Bogota is very good (albeit with no booze until late afternoon), and Gold Card lounge in Caracas also good, although the aircon is a little underpowered.
I am glad I had not read the FCO advice on CCS until after I went through….6 Aug 2013
Thanks for your very refreshing post DavidGordon
You have got me thinking about several things – arriving somewhere for the first time, safety concerns, excess of shops….
I have been through several South American airports, but of the three you mention only Bogota…a stress-free experience.
I hope your trip was as good as it sounds.6 Aug 2013
Thanks, alexpo – yes, it was a good trip, and interesting as a first visit to South America. Two small add-ons:
First, I was impressed by the standards of the two local airlines I used, Conviasa and Aerogal (the latter being part of Avianca). Modern aircraft, comfortable seats, good catering, pleasant crew.
Second, I saved money by being booked for my to-and-fro travel on these two different carriers, but was the saving worth it? Probably not, if I had booked on a single carrier then I would have had interlined tickets with all the advantages that follow – so it was a false economy.7 Aug 2013