This post should have narrow appeal, but should be of great use to people flying through Bogota El Dorado International Airport in Colombia. Priority Pass members–free with an American Express Platinum–get free access to the Salon VIP LAN and Avianca Sala VIP. Which is better?
I flew from Bogota to Dallas today on American Airlines. The flight leaves Bogota at 1:20 AM, but I had nowhere to be and nothing to do after leaving my Airbnb apartment at 8 PM, so I headed to the airport and sat in line for American Airlines check in, which opened at about 10 PM.
After checking in and passing security, I still had about three hours until my flight, so I checked my Priority Pass app to see which lounges I could access for free.
My two options were the LAN and Avianca lounges. The app lists the Avianca lounge’s closing time as 11 PM (actually closes at 11:30 PM) and the LAN lounge’s as 12:30 AM, so I planned to just go the LAN lounge until boarding.
But when I got to the 3rd floor, I realized I was on a part of the 3rd floor that could only access the Avianca lounge. Not wanting to go back downstairs and then back upstairs, I decided to check it out.
Avianca Sala VIP, Bogota
This is Avianca’s flagship lounge, as the airline is hubbed in Bogota. Priority Pass members have access to the main lounge, but not to the more exclusive lounge-within-a-lounge.
I loved the design, but the food options were terrible.
The lounge was mostly one large open area with a variety of seating options like benches and seats around a variety of table shapes.
The food is what I see a lot of in South America: weird lunch meats and unappetizing non-sweet breads that I would expect to be sweet. If you’ve traveled a lot in South America, you know what I’m talking about.
My table didn’t have any outlets. There were some table with plugs, and there were these towers with plugs.
Since the lounge was fairly empty, I could easily have moved to a table with an outlet, though I do think lounges should have outlets at every seat.
The Avianca lounge did have showers, which I didn’t check out, but so does the LAN lounge.
The bottom line is that there is no reason to ever go to the Avianca lounge because the LAN lounge is much better and just a few minutes away.
Salon VIP LAN
The LAN lounge is on a different part of the third floor and much smaller.
What it lacks in size, it makes up for in better seating, food, alcohol, and outlets.
I chose this couch, which had outlets at the table in front. I probably wouldn’t have liked having to share this couch with someone whether a stranger or companion, but if you can commandeer the whole thing, you’re in good shape.
I believe there were outlets at every seat in the main lounge area, which featured a variety of seating options.
There were no outlets in the main dining area, but it would be a comfortable place to enjoy some food while chatting, away from the quieter lounge area.
The buffet area was beautiful with a wine-and-wine-glass theme.
The buffet itself–while very modest–was miles ahead of the Avianca options. There were actually edible sandwiches–I loved the chicken and sundried tomato on a bagel–cheeses, fruit, and one piece of sushi. (I assume the sushi is better stocked earlier.)
Alcohol, too, offered a better selection than in the Avianca lounge including several varieties of Bogota Beer Company craft beer.
To top it all off, there was a nice ice cream selection.
The lounge also featured showers and nice private bathroom stalls.
The lounge closed at 12:30 AM, which is about 20 minutes earlier than I otherwise would have left, but still one hour later than the Avianca lounge closed.
Neither lounge is world class, but the LAN lounge is far superior to the Avianca lounge at BOG airport.
This was surprising since Avianca’s hub is Bogota.
Next time, you are flying out of Bogota, use your Priority Pass to access the Salon VIP LAN.