Route: UYU – LPB
Flight: OB 315
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ200 (CP-2852)
Flight time: 20:40 – 21:40
This is just a very quick review of my return journey from breathtaking salt flats of Uyuni back to La Paz. For the inbound trip we flew with Amaszonas and I have written about that experience in here: Amaszonas Bombardier CRJ200 (La Paz LPB- Uyuni UYU)
I booked return sector with Boliviana de Aviacion just for the sake of trying out some new airline.
Check-in in Uyuni was just a breeze, there were only two flights (Amaszonas and Boliviana) departing in the evening and both of them were operated by CRJ200 with capacity of 50 seats, so there were basically no queues.
One of the unusual features of this tiny airport is the airport tax, that needs to be paid in cash at a different counter. Basically after check-in is completed, passengers have to proceed to separate desk with their boarding passes, pay the tax (11 Bolivianos, that is approximately 1.50 USD) and obtain “a tax sticker”.
Another surprising point that is very rare nowadays, was the absence of x-ray machines. At the security we were checked by typical metal detector, but our carry on bags were placed on the table and checked manually by the security staff. I guess small airports like that can’t really afford expensive equipment.
Aircraft arrived from La Paz quite late (around 20:30, while our departure time was 20:40). But surprisingly 20:40 we started boarding and boarding was completed by 20:50.
On our way to the aircraft I tried to sneak one quick picture of the plane, even though I saw that ground personnel were actively stopping people in front of me from doing so. So all I could manage only some blurred disasters…sorry for that.
Aircraft is equipped with 50 seats in all economy configuration, that are taken care of by single cabin crew member.
If you happen to fly on CRJ200, try to avoid very last row for one very simple reason. There are only left hand side seats (13AB), the right hand seats seats are removed and they are replaced by the lavatory. I don’t know anybody who would enjoy having the toilet as a flight neighbor.
We were seated at row 12 (second last row) and have to say that legroom was not too bad (I am 181cm tall).
I don’t like to complain, but the state of the aircraft in terms of cleanliness was very disappointing. Seat pockets were full of rubbish left over from previous passengers. I can still handle that, but the state of the lavatory was just shocking. Since we were seated at the back, I am sure I was the first person that tried to use the toilet on the flight, but as soon as I opened the door, I saw the sink filled up to the rim with what appeared to be old vomit with spill overs on all surrounding areas.
I do apologize for being so graphic, but filthy lavatory like that is just a no go, especially if that’s the only lavatory on board.
After breathing through my toilet experience I had a look into the seat pocket. To my surprise there were no in-flight magazines of Boliviana.
Service, as it is the case with all regional flight was very simple: Fruit juice and sandwich (I guess it was cheese and some kind of mortadella, but not so sure LOL).
Since it was only around 30 passengers on board, service was wrapped up within not more than 20 minutes.
Shortly after we started our approach to El Alto Airport in La Paz, where we landed on time, despite the initial delay.
I am very sad to say, that what initially started as a pleasant short flight, turned out to be a disappointment due to level of cleanliness (or its absence). In my personal scale of importance in terms of airlines, cleanliness comes second right after safety.
On that note, what do you consider to be the 3 most important factors, when choosing the airline? Here are mine: 1. safety, 2. cleanliness, 3. punctuality
Final score: 4/10