Chapters
Jauntin'

Flashback: Qantas Boeing 747-400 in Cartagena


An Australian touristic operator called Constellation Journeys set up a trip around the world.

This trip was made on a Qantas Boeing 747-400, exclusively chartered. Departure point was Sydney, and they visited Seoul, Jerusalem, Valletta, Barcelona, Cartagena, Lima-Cusco, Easter Island and from there they returned to Sydney.

constellationmap.jpg

Thanks a great friend’s good graces, I was able to go to Cartagena for the arrival and departure of the Airplane.

Quite an interesting thing for an avgeek.

constellationcover.jpg

For starters, a passenger Boeing 747 in Colombia is a weird thing. The Airplane belonging to an airline of a country as far away as Australia that has no scheduled flights to Colombia, even more so.

constellationctg.jpg

And for me, it was surprisingly heartwarming to know the chosen Airplane for the tour was the VH-OEE.

The flight had been announced months in advance, so we already knew the airline, the date, the origin, the destination and the type of Airplane. But the exact registration of the Airplane they were going to send was unknown up to that point.

And I was thinking:

-“Would they send the VH-OEE?”

But then I said:

-“Nah, from all the Boeing 747-400s that Qantas has why would they choose that one?”

But well! It turned out to be that one. We found out a few days before the arrival, when the tour started in earnest with the first leg between Sydney and Seoul.

As it happens, I flew in that very same Airplane between Brisbane and Sydney when I lived in Australia.

And that wasn’t delicious just due to the fact that I was travelling and in a jumbo, but also because it was the first flight I had in almost a year.

For me it meant a kind of triumph, since that year had been emotionally very tough for me for reasons not related with the country, or what I was doing there.

Nonetheless, I had achieved what I had set out to do, and I hadn’t failed anyone that was trusting in me while there, despite the difficulties I’m mentioning.

So getting on that Airplane after all that felt so much more sweeter that it would in “normal” circumstances. Mind you, we’re talking about “normal” circumstances of getting on a Boeing 747… Extra sweet on their own!

And to rendezvous with it again years later, in Cartagena of all places? It was exciting for me, and brought back many good memories, more than five years after that flight.

Besides seeing the Airplane again, I took photos of other Airplanes of course. I walked around the city, and I met with people I cherish that live there.

DSC_3498
Casual in Cartagena doing non Aviation stuff.

Ramírez.

IMG_20191011_210124092
Heey! (It says there something like 'wash this thing' in colloquial Colombian Spanish).

Ramírez.

So to tell a full story, I will briefly interrupt what I lived in October 2019 in Cartagena, Colombia, and I will return to August 2014 in Brisbane, Australia.

Route: Brisbane (BNE) – Sydney (SYD)
Airplane: Boeing 747-400
Airline: Qantas

As I said, this flight had a personal component that me feel much better than usual. It being flown in Boeing 747-400 was just the cherry on top.

This was a particular flight. Qantas had a flight that routed Sydney – Dallas – Brisbane – Sydney.

The stop in Brisbane while returning from Dallas was because of the winds, in flight toward Australia they caused the Aircraft to not reach Sydney comfortably fuel-wise.

So to avoid any kind of trouble for that reason, they simply made it land in Brisbane, more to the north of the country than Sydney, and at an adequate distance to comply with the air safety and fuel criteria.

Once the Airplane landed in Brisbane, it was re-fuelled there, and it just carried on to Sydney then. But in Qantas they said:

-“Since we have to land in Brisbane, let’s sell tickets on the Brisbane to Sydney leg and see how it goes.”

Granted, Brisbane is Australia’s third biggest city, and the flight must have been useful for many people with Brisbane as final destination. But the main subject was Sydney.

And well, guess who bought a ticket in that flight? I diiiiiid.

As of October 2019, the date in which I’m writing this, the flight still exists. But it’s now operated by an Airbus A380-800, and that Airplane can fly nonstop from Dallas to Sydney, so the Brisbane stop doesn’t exist anymore.

The flight arrived very early in Brisbane, the boarding time for us continuing to Sydney was 0550 local time. I don’t like waking up early, I’m more of a night owl and I function better at night.

But anyway, the early wake up was to travel and fly. That was one of the most happy early wake ups of the time! A time in which I woke up to go to work between 0330 and 0400 local, even though waking up at those times was not my favourite situation to say the least.

Being so early, the usual public transport wasn’t totally functional yet, and my friends were all asleep.

So I called a cab that left me at Roma Station, and from there I took the train to the Airport.

At 0420 local time I was already waiting for the train, due at 0427.

DSC_9365
0420 local time already waiting for the 0427 train to the Airport.

Ramírez.

IMAG0056
The train arrived.

Ramírez.

I think it was one of the first trains of the day, and it was pretty much empty.

IMAG0057
Train pretty much empty.

Ramírez.

I arrived in the international terminal of Brisbane Airport very on time, and checked-in.

IMAG0058
Entering the Airport.

Ramírez.

Since that flight arrived in Sydney’s international zone (obviously), they put a special orange sticker on the boarding pass so immigration agents there wouldn’t process me, as I was only doing the domestic leg.

Brisbane’s agents still put a “departed” stamp, as can be seen in the photo.

DSC_9374
Boarding pass with special stamp.

Ramírez.

IMAG0060
QF008 to Sydney.

Ramírez.

IMAG0063
QF008 to Sydney.

Ramírez.

I was in the waiting room observing all mesmerised. The Boeing 747-400 looked gorgeous!

DSC_9367-1.jpg

There was an Airbus A330-300 beside that didn’t look too shabby either.

DSC_9368.jpg

As you may know, the chosen one that day was VH-OEE.

The first rays of light slowly appeared, and the Airplanes looked just as good.

DSC_9372.jpg

The boarding time was nigh.

DSC_9370.jpg

It was a cloudy Brisbane morning, but it wasn’t raining.

DSC_9369
Almost boarding.

Ramírez.

DSC_9373
VH-OEE. Beautiful!

Ramírez.

DSC_9375
On way to the Airplane.

Ramírez.

DSC_9377
Airbus A330-300 in the next gate.

Ramírez.

DSC_9378
Almost.

Ramírez.

On entering the Airplane I could see many of the passengers from Dallas, with their knackered face. That flight isn’t light! If I’m not mistaken it took almost 14 hours…

I sat in my window seat 51K, and to the side was a Virgin Australia Boeing 777-300. If my memory doesn’t fail me, their flight from Los Angeles arrived around that time, perhaps that was it.

DSC_9379
Virgin Australia Boeing 777-300.

Ramírez.

DSC_9380
Headphones.

Ramírez.

DSC_9381
Map.

Ramírez.

We were pushed-back on time and were on our way to the runway. On takeoff we almost flew over my house in that moment, and I clearly saw places of the city in which I had been many times in the earlier months.

The Gateway Bridge was one of those places, located between the Airport and the zone of the city I lived in. It was the first time I was seeing it from above, even though I had driven through it a thousand times.

DSC_9396
Gateway Bridge.

Ramírez.

We continued the powerful climb and soon enough we were above the clouds that gave that Brisbane morning its gray hue that day. It was all sunny sun now.

DSC_9398
Above the cloud layer.

Ramírez.

DSC_9399
Sunny sun.

Ramírez.

Despite being now totally sunny and at daytime, I could see the moon from my window. The flight was going to last about one hour and half, and a breakfast was offered. It wasn’t bad at all given the time and route.

DSC_9403
Breakfast.

Ramírez.

DSC_9401
Map.

Ramírez.

The descent was begun, and postcards from the state of New South Wales were in sight closer and closer. Urban and rural areas, beaches, the sea…

DSC_9407
The moon.

Ramírez.

DSC_9409
Cruise.

Ramírez.

DSC_9410
Almost arriving.

Ramírez.

Suddenly we landed in Sydney International Airport, and there the sensation of… I don’t know… Of… Triumph was magnified. Triumph, that is the word. That morning I felt triumph.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to get off the Airplane haha. But anyway… We had arrived.

DSC_9431
Arrived in Sydney.

Ramírez.

We had to wait for some minutes for the gate to be vacated, and then made our way there.

DSC_9433
Waiting.

Ramírez.

DSC_9435
At the gate.

Ramírez.

It was the gate almost in front of the Rydges hotel.

I disembarked and followed the immigration line alongside the people coming from the United States, but the agents told me to pass through the side when they saw my orange sticker.

DSC_9440
Immigration (for those coming from Dallas, I passed through on the side).

Ramírez.

DSC_9437
Outside the Airplane walking toward the exit. I had this other Boeing 747-400 in sight, different than the one I had flown in, it was the VH-OJS. Notice it was called 'Hamilton Island', but shared the 'Longreach' with VH-OEE and others. You will see the explanation for that name later in the article.

Ramírez.

DSC_9438
Airbus A380-800.

Ramírez.

The Ebola epidemic of those days was quite current still, and the signs in the immigration zone were clear in that regard.

DSC_9442
Ebola.

Ramírez.

I picked up my luggage and went to the city. I was in Sydney already! And I had arrived in a Boeing 747-400 no less. What followed is something I will write in future articles.

So now that I showed you what happened in August 2014 in Brisbane, Australia, is time to return to October 2019 in Cartagena, Colombia.

Route: Medellin (MDE) – Cartagena (CTG)
Airplane: Airbus A320
Airline: Viva Air

Departure was in the morning, before 0800 local time. I thought the line at check-in was going to be longer, but there was almost no one.

From there I went to security, it was nimble as well.

When it was all ready I sat to wait amidst some fights because of suitcase sizes and payments. The usual with low-cost airlines, people don’t read shit.

In my recent domestic flights Avianca had been the choice precisely because they were cheaper with the luggage I had needed to bring.

But people don’t care to read the small print… I wouldn’t like to be a ground agent working for a low-cost airline. All day arguing with people who can’t read, and having to take insults because who’s insulting just can’t read.

But anyway, it was time to board. Our Airplane that morning was HK-5308, it was in a remote position, hence we boarded via stairs.

DSC_2543
On way to the Airplane.

Ramírez.

At gate 1B there was another Viva Air Airplane leaving for Bogota.

DSC_2546
The two Viva Airplanes, Cartagena to the right, and Bogota at the gate to the left.

Ramírez.

DSC_2547
Boarding.

Ramírez.

I boarded and went to my seat right away, it was 1A and I didn’t have to walk at all. That seat has a lot of room to stretch once everybody is seated.

IMG_20191010_072006429
Max stretching space.

Ramírez.

We were pushed-back right on time, and started taxi. When we did that the other Viva Airplane pushed-back, the one bound for Bogota.

DSC_2551
We taxiing and the Bogota one pushing back.

Ramírez.

The morning was cloudy but nothing to worry about. On entering runway 01 I had an almost unobstructed view of it because of the seat I was on. It looked cool with the lights on.

DSC_2558-1
Rionegro Airport runway 01.

Ramírez.

We took off soon enough, and nothing could be seen until after Monteria.

DSC_2568
Let's gooo!

Ramírez.

DSC_2572
Cruise.

Ramírez.

Visibility came back right after that city. It could be seen there in the far background, alongside the town of Cerete.

DSC_2575
Monteria and Cerete there in the far background.

Ramírez.

Advancing north we overflew Tolu as well.

DSC_2577
Tolu.

Ramírez.

Reaching Cartagena there was good visibility, good light and a pretty morning.

DSC_2581
Descent.

Ramírez.

DSC_2584
Descent.

Ramírez.

DSC_2592
Approaching Cartagena with vessels in sight.

Ramírez.

From my seat I had a very clear view of the Santa Cruz de la Popa convent, and from parts of Bocagrande, Manga and the harbour.

DSC_2604.jpg

On landing in runway 01 we went all the way to the threshold of runway 19, where we made a 180 degrees turn to go the apron.

DSC_2611
Braking with the Colombian Air Force Boeing 727-200 'Vulcano' in sight.

Ramírez.

DSC_2614
180 degrees turn at the threshold of runway 19.

Ramírez.

There was Colombian Air Force Boeing 727-200 “Vulcano”.

DSC_2617
Arrived.

Ramírez.

DSC_2619
Disembarking.

Ramírez.

There also was the Viva Air Airbus A320 “Claudia Obando”, operating for the Peruvian branch of the airline, and making the Lima-Cartagena-Lima rotation. I hadn’t seen it in a long time.

More information about Viva Air special colours including “Claudia Obando”.

DSC_2621
Disembarking. Pink Viva Air Airbus A320 'Claudia Obando' in sight.

Ramírez.

I picked up my luggage and left the Airport.

DSC_2622
Picking up the luggage.

Ramírez.

Fortunately I reached the place I needed to be at that time, in those conditions. At noon a huge thunderstorm was unleashed… Streets looked like rivers.

That day I just relaxed, and took a few photos in the night. Particularly of my good friend Pablo O. who arrived piloting an Avianca Airbus A320. I will show you the photo later in the article.

The day after my arrival in Cartagena the Qantas Boeing 747-400 was due to arrive, inbound from Barcelona, Spain.

The day before the arrival the flight appeared in the tracking apps and in the website of AENA. According to the scheduled times, it was going to arrive at around noon.

BCNCTGAENA
The flight loaded in AENA's website.
BCNCTGEU
On the way somewhere over the Atlantic.

That wasn’t completely good as the light at that time of the day is rather harsh, but anyway, that wasn’t in my hands.

I was also concerned about the thunderstorm that had happened the day before right at that time, as I mentioned.

If the weather pattern were to repeat itself, the Airplane would not just arrive with ugly light, but also in quite the downpour.

Fortunately, the departure from Barcelona was delayed somehow, and even though the day was rather gray, there was no huge thunderstorm. It wasn’t even raining.

BCNCTG
Flight Status in Qantas' website.

The landing finally happened at about 1400 local time.

So I met with my good friends the Gustavos (it’s two of them), and Sergio L., and we moved to the place we had planned for the photos.

Right when the Airplane was approaching they changed the active runway.

It wasn’t going to land on runway 01 now, but on 19. The photo could still be made alright with the runway change from the place we were at, but it was going to have less contrast.

BCNCTGDESV
Look at the sudden turn because of the runway change.

The Boeing 747-400 was precisely the first Airplane to land on runway 19 when it became the active runway.

DSC_2895
In sight approaching to runway 19.

Ramírez.

DSC_2897
The approach to runway 19 continues. Notice the amount of people waiting for the Airplane.

Ramírez.

DSC_2908
Landing!

Ramírez.

DSC_2915
Landing!

Ramírez.

DSC_2916-1
Landing!

Ramírez.

But in the holding short point of runway 01 there was an Avianca Airbus A320 that had been ready for takeoff before.

DSC_2922
The Qantas Boeing 747-400 de Qantas braking, and the Avianca Airbus A320 in the holding short point.

Ramírez.

So the 747 positioned behind the A320, and both Airplanes had to wait for another Avianca A320 to land on runway 19.

DSC_2927
Both Airplanes waiting.

Ramírez.

This last A320 had to backtrack at the threshold of runway 01 since it couldn’t use the area meant for making the turn, as it was being occupied by the two Airplanes of Avianca and Qantas.

DSC_2934
Avianca Airbus A320 landing on runway 19. It was the second Airplane to do so after the change of active runway, the first one was the Qantas Boeing 747-400. This one had to backtrack at the runway threshold because the space meant for turning was already occupied by two Airplanes.

Ramírez.

When the last A320 that landed made the 180 degrees turn at the runway threshold, the crew of the first A320 that had been waiting for a while at the threshold decided that it was safe to takeoff from there, and did so.

And only there could the Qantas Boeing 747-400 move. It had been there standing for a good while now.

DSC_2951
Finally on the move.

Ramírez.

Let’s see something about the Airplane and the signs it has.

First, the airline name.

Qantas means “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”.

It’s the third oldest operating airline, after KLM and Avianca. It was founded originally in a little town called Winton, in 1920.

The airline was born precisely in Queensland, one of Australia’s states, in which I lived.

If it were an independent country, Queensland would be the 16th biggest country in the world. It’s huge!

DSC_2962
'Longreach'. 'Nullarbor'. If you take a close look at the window, you'll see one of the Pilots greeting.

Ramírez.

Little time after the foundation the headquarters were moved to another town called Longreach. That’s the reason for one of the signs on the Airplane.

Longreach is a very important place in Qantas’ history, so much so that nowadays there is a museum there with a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 707 exhibited (among other things).

The building of the first hangar they had is considered historic heritage.

On top of that, “Long Reach” fits those Boeing 747-400s the airline has perfectly, given the very long nonstop flights they make. Many have the“Longreach” sign.

In 1930 the headquarters were moved again to Brisbane, the state capital and the third biggest city of Australia. I lived there.

And nowadays the headquarters are close to Sydney Airport.

The individual name of this Airplane is “Nullarbor”. Honouring a plain located south of Australia where there is a big extension of arid terrain with almost no vegetation.

“Nullarbor” means “Without Trees” in Latin, because of what I just wrote.

Now that you know a little bit more of why the Airplane has all those signs and names, let’s continue where we left.

DSC_2959
The taxiing continues.

Ramírez.

Cartagena’s Airport doesn’t have taxiways between the apron and the runway. So bottlenecks usually happen when there’s traffic. You can see a chart of the Airport below.

ctgchart
Cartagena's Airport chart. DO NOT USE FOR NAVIGATION.

Ramírez.

The Qantas’ Airplane taxied on the runway toward the apron then, and the tour’s entourage was there waiting already.

DSC_2974
Reception.

Ramírez.

Many buses were in place to receive the passengers and crew, on top of the people who were just noseying around (including myself).

DSC_2997
Reception.

Ramírez.

DSC_2995
Reception.

Ramírez.

We went to another place later, and saw the crew disembark.

DSC_3149
Disembarking.

Ramírez.

Other friends, such as Gabriel H and Luis A. were there.

IMG_20191011_143925585
The Airplane behind.

Ramírez.

WhatsApp-Image-2019-10-11-at-15.25.52
My friend Luis A. was there.

Luis A.

gusyo
As well as my friend Gustavo (one of the Gustavos).

Ramírez.

actie
In action!

Ramírez.

The other Gustavo made a very nice 360 degrees photo. There is someone very tender in that photo.

360 degrees photo of the group.

360
The group.

Gustavo Borré.

One of the Pilots was quite happy when he saw the amount of people who had gathered to see his jumbo, and got out the top escape hatch to greet.

We were there for a while, alongside a snake friend that was in the place.

The snake was picked up by the animal control team of the Airport. When I asked them, they said they would keep the snake in a special warehouse, and then she was to be set free in a rural area close to Turbaco, south of Cartagena.

IMG_20191011_161348589
Snake friend.

Ramírez.

They told us the snakes could go to the runway at night, and die crushed. I hope that’s the handling they’re given, I don’t like people bothering animals for nothing.

Night came, and my friends took me to the place of a person they know, this person has a property with a great view overlooking the Airport’s apron.

IMG_20191011_180540023
The worst located lightning pole in history.

Ramírez.

There was a lightning pole that didn’t allow for a good photo of the full Airplane at night, but we had a good time there nonetheless.

The day ended in the Airport as we were drinking something with my good friend Sergio D. who had arrived piloting a Dassault Falcon.

I took good photos of him, which I will show you later.

The next day I woke up early hoping that there would be better light for the photo. Indeed, it was a beautiful morning, and that allowed me to take better photos.

DSC_3233
Way much better light the following day in the morning.

Ramírez.

I returned in the afternoon to see the landing of the KLM Boeing 787-9. The Airplane arrived on-time, but the weather was all gray again.

Airplanes of KLM and Avianca were seen together for a while, they’re the two oldest operating airlines. Both are due to turn 100 years old in 2019, as you will see later in the photos of the KLM Boeing 787-9, and the Avianca Airbus A320 retro.

Qantas is the third oldest! Will turn 100 years old in 2020.

DSC_3477
The KLM Boeing 787-9 arrived.

Ramírez.

The Avianca Airbus A320 retro was around as well.

More information about the Avianca Airbus A320 retro.

DSC_3342
The Avianca Airbus A320 retro departing.

Ramírez.

DSC_3313-1
Taking care of the Boeing 747-400 in case they try to steal it...

Ramírez.

DSC_3387
Leaving the place, one of the nearby warehouses was open and allowed for this view of the Airplane.

Ramírez.

There I left to do other things in city that hadn’t much to do with Aviation, and I only returned two days later for the Airplane’s departure.

I took photos of other Airplanes as I was saying, but since the weather didn’t help much with the light department they were few and far between.

DSC_2675
Weather didn't help.

Ramírez.

It could be said that the additional photos I took were divided into four motives. I will show you some examples:

1. The photos of my friends Sergio and Pablo, the former in his Dassault Falcon, and the latter in his Airbus A320.

DSC_3156
My friend Sergio D. braking after landing in his Dassault Falcon.

Ramírez.

DSC_2823
My friend Pablo O. about to depart in his Airbus A320.

Ramírez.

2. Photos of the international traffic that arrived in the day, especially airlines from the United States.

DSC_2871
American, Spirit and JetBlue.

Ramírez.

DSC_3308
American, Spirit and Delta.

Ramírez.

3. Photos of the KLM Boeing 787-9.

DSC_3447
KLM Boeing 787-9 arriving from Bogota and Amsterdam.

Ramírez.

DSC_2794
KLM Boeing 787-9 departing to Amsterdam.

Ramírez.

4. Night photos in general, when weather wasn’t so important to get the photo.

DSC_3199
The three main players in the Colombian domestic market trunk routes.

Ramírez.

DSC_2799
Viva Air Airbus A320 about to depart. The trail lights in the background are from the KLM Boeing 787-9 taking off.

Ramírez.

You can see other photos I took those days in the gallery below. As I mentioned before, search for the KLM Boeing 787-9 and the Avianca Airbus A320 retro to see their respective 100 years old signs:

When the Qantas Boeing 747-400 was due to depart to Lima I returned to the Airport. In the road between the historic centre and the Airport there was a badly crashed BMW that had been crossed by a pole.

IMG_20191014_071218476_HDR
Nagging poles!

Ramírez.

It was supposed to depart at 0800 local, but it was delayed for almost one hour.

CTGLIM
Flight status in Qantas' website once it landed in Lima showing the delay.

Ramírez.

I had thought on looking for a different place for the photo, so it wouldn’t be all backlit.

But the morning was all gray and rainy again (a soft rain, nonetheless), and in the end I didn’t think it was justifiable to do all that search, given the conditions.

DSC_3500
Being boarded.

Ramírez.

Just like on the arrival, the Pilots greeted the nosey lot that were present there (including myself).

This time around it wasn’t only them, also the occasional passenger!

The Airplane was finally pushed-back, and started taxiing after the landings of the Viva Air Airbus A320 “Claudia Obando”, that was again doing the Lima – Cartagena – Lima rotation…

DSC_3533
Viva Air Airbus A320 'Claudia Obando'.

Ramírez.

Of an Avianca Airbus A318

DSC_3582-1
Avianca Airbus A318.

Ramírez.

And of a Wingo Boeing 737-700 (HP-1377CMP, the same one in which I went to Panama and returned this last April) that appeared to be drying the wet runway.

DSC_3592
Wingo Boeing 737-700 drying the runway.

Ramírez.

It finally started its taxi to the threshold of runway 01 for takeoff, with one last gesture on the Pilots end, all ready in the cockpit.

DSC_3550.jpg

The Boeing 747-400 was light, since it was only flying to Lima, Peru. That is a three hours flight approximately from Cartagena, and the Airplane can fly for 14 or more.

On top of that it wasn’t as loaded with passengers as it could, since it was on a private chartered operation for the aforementioned tour.

Also, Cartagena Airport is almost at sea level, and the temperature wasn’t hot.

Perfect conditions to get the best performance of the Airplane. Of course, the Airplane rotated super fast, and began its rocket-like ascent.

DSC_3638.jpg
DSC_3644
See you!

Ramírez.

DSC_3648
Gear up!

Ramírez.

DSC_3650
A crowd saying goodbye to the Airplane, just like the reception. And it had been raining...

Ramírez.

It quickly turned south, and overflew the place where we were, very high already.

DSC_3653
Rocket.

Ramírez.

DSC_3665
After climbing and turning south, to fly over the place where we were again.

Ramírez.

The Airplane continued toward Panama, I don’t know why. From there it flew to Lima, landing there at about noon.

CTGLIMEU
After taking off in Flightradar24. I am the blue point.

Ramírez.

CTGLIMPTY
Now in cruise Flightradar24. It went all the way to Panama.

Ramírez.

That had been it. I had made a rendezvous with a special Airplane for me, and with people I cherish in Cartagena.

Meanwhile, the Australians tour continued on track, and for me the time to return was coming.

With the possible exception of things like the arrival time, and the light because of the weather (something no one controls anyway), all had been perfect.

I will leave you below with a gallery with more photos of the arrival, stay, and departure of the Qantas Boeing 747-400 in Cartagena.

Mission accomplished!

The time to return to Medellin came, the very same afternoon of the day in which the Qantas Airplane left.

I checked-in without problems, and I saw many known faces from high school in the Airport, go figure.

IMG_20191014_163355366
In the waiting room.

Ramírez.

The Viva Airbus A320 chosen for the flight that day was HK-5276.

When boarding we had an Easyfly ATR 42 to our side leaving to Bucaramanga, I think.

DSC_3667
Boarding.

Ramírez.

DSC_3672
Easyfly ATR 42.

Ramírez.

DSC_3669
Boarding.

Ramírez.

DSC_3673
Boarding.

Ramírez.

Again I had a seat in the first row of the Airplane, but on the opposite side, seat 1F. It had a little less space than 1A, but it was comfortable enough.

IMG_20191014_164634727
Ready in my seat.

Ramírez.

DSC_3675
Ready in my seat.

Ramírez.

We were pushed-back on time again, and taxied onto the runway to make our way to threshold 01, do the 180 degrees turn, and takeoff.

In that turn I also had a nice panoramic view of the runway.

DSC_3689
Cartagena Airport runway 01.

Ramírez.

We had a normal takeoff, and in that hotel zone that I’m showing you below was my friend Diego E. who took a photo of the Airplane in-flight with me inside.

DSC_3704
My friend Diego E. was there below somewhere.

Ramírez.

DSC_0932
The photo that my friend Diego E. took of the Airplane in-flight with me inside. I was where it's signalled by the arrow.

Diego E.

We turned south, and continued our way toward Medellin with the sunset in sight.

DSC_3714
Sunset while in cruise and flying south.

Ramírez.

DSC_3719
Sunset while in cruise and flying south. Solar halo.

Ramírez.

DSC_3736
Mordor.

Ramírez.

DSC_3738
Sunset while in cruise and flying south.

Ramírez.

DSC_3740
Sunset while in cruise and flying south.

Ramírez.

We managed to overfly Medellin city and Olaya Herrera Airport still with the last rays of light, and to see other atmospheric phenomena.

DSC_3756-1.jpg
DSC_3774
Atmospheric phenomena.

Ramírez.

After overflying the city we turned north again to align with runway 01 of Rionegro Airport, and approached over all San Nicolas valley, with La Union town and El Capiro mountain in sight while it was getting dark.

DSC_3782
La Union town.

Ramírez.

DSC_3787
El Capiro mountain.

Ramírez.

We landed softly and taxied to gate 1B, this time we wouldn’t have to disembark via stairs.

The Avianca Boeing 787-8 about to leave to Madrid was in the Airport, and when we reached our gate it was already totally dark.

DSC_3800
Avianca Boeing 787-8 at the gate about to depart to Madrid.

Ramírez.

DSC_3803
Arrived.

Ramírez.

DSC_3805
Arrived.

Ramírez.

IMG_20191014_181455088
Arrived.

Ramírez.

I picked up my luggage and left the Airport. Viva was totally punctual and rose to the occasion. If one cares to read the small print it can be a great option for travelling.

Even more so, I do remember that when they were starting, and had punctuality issues, I managed to fly with them several times. The only thing that ever happened was a delay because of an aborted takeoff that almost ends in a riot.

But that was a technical matter, because the flight had initially left on-time. And these things happen in Aviation, nothing to do about it.

Now that they have more and newer Airplanes, they’re much better.

If one reads the small print and it’s not fit for purpose, then one chooses another airline, as I’ve done it many times when Avianca has been cheaper. But please, read!

I came to my dogs that night then, and life moved on. Had been great days in Cartagena.

Xoxoxo.


read more:

Leave a Comment

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of