Welcome to my trip report on Boliviana de Aviacion Part 1!
Thi is BOA's long haul aircraft, the Boeing 767-300ER which will be replaced by the A330-200. (Photo Lazaro Riberio)
The idea of flying with this airline came about when I did some search using Skyscanner and 2 airlines caught my attention. BOA and FlyBondi. For almost the same airfare, I could do 2 flights instead of one and experience for myself how Bolivian hospitality is like in the air and on the ground. It was not a difficult decision so once that was decided, I managed to book my ticket directly with the airline. Only thing negative about the website is I wasn’t able to check my booking until check-in time.
Majority of the cities in South America is visa-free for my passport but entering Bolivia requires a visa so I decided to do a stop-over and fortunately, visa is not required for transiting. For EZE-VVI-GRU, I was the only passenger doing this route as I saw the airline staff holding 2 stacks of papers with passengers's name on the list and my name was the only appeared on the flight to GRU. Even the staff at EZE airport was puzzled with my flight itinerary, more on this in my later part of the report. This airline definitely goes into my list of exotic airlines and I am glad to have flown twice with the airline. This brings back memories of my time in Indonesia, flying on those smaller airlines (Trigana and Kalstar).
Thank you for joining me in this report to know more about this airline and perhaps can consider flying with them in the near future. Without further ado, let's begin!
My flight summary
About BOA Airlines
Boliviana de Aviacion is commonly known as BOA (Not the Korean singer) is the national airline of Bolivia and is owned by the government. This airline is founded in 2007 and based in Cochabamba and operates mostly from its hub at Jorge Wilstermann International Airport and Viru Viru International Airport. The airline is currently operating a fleet comprising of Boeing 737-300, -700, -800, Boeing 767-300ER and Airbus A330-200. This airline is considered to be small and has a fleet of ageing Boeing aircraft. However, recently it took delivery of its first pair of leased Airbus A330-200 formerly operated with Virgin Australia. With this new aircraft type, the airline will replace the 767-300ER fleet and operate them to Miami and Madrid. These international routes are operated out of Viru Viru instead of its main hub, La Paz is because of the low attitude.
BOA's latest aircraft (Airbus A330-200) - Photo: desdeelpatio
About EZE airport
Ministro Pistarini International Airport is also known as Ezeiza International Airport is located at a location in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, about 22 km away from the central of Buenos Aires. The airport was named after Juan Pistarini, Minister of Public Works during the presidency of Juan Peron. This is the primary airport of the city that serves both domestic and international flights. This airport is opened in 1949 and is a hub for Aerolineas Argentinas and FlyBondi and comes with 2 runways, runway 11/29 and 17/35. There are 3 terminals (A,B and C) at this airport and recently opened a new terminal which offers advance technology such as Vision-Box's Seamless Journey Platform which allows passengers to perform self service pre-security service to increase efficency level of boarding pass control of both domestic and international flights. At this time, my airline's check-in counter was at Terminal A but I got to experience the new terminal as the departure hall was located over there. As far as I know, Terminal A serves only arrivals while terminal B serves all departures and it shares some gates with terminal A. As for Terminal C, the airlines were informed to move out earlier this year to move over to B. So the plan was to operate with only 2 terminals for passenger use.
Terminal A - International Flights
Terminal B - Some International and domestic flights
Terminal C - No longer in operation
The layout of the airport
I was able to do it without issues, selecting of seats was not a problem. I had actually went to the office at GRU to check whether my ticket was confirmed and thanks goodness it was as I was worried that there was issues with it. The staff had actually pre-selected the seat for me but I was able to change seats without payment.
Did I get the whole row to myself? Well, I wasn't so lucky on both flights. It turned out both flights were full.
Since I received the mobile boarding pass, I decided to skip the long queue to obtain the paper boarding pass.
However later at the boarding gate, my mobile boarding pass was not accepted and they told me to head towards the agent. The agent had to check my itinerary for my flights back to Singapore and once that was done, I was issued the boarding pass. Like my Aerolineas Argentinas experience, I had to wait for a while before it was done and by the time it was done, I was one of the last to board the aircraft.
On the day of departure
This is Terminal A
The airport offers complimentary Wi-Fi and the connection was good.
Checking which aircraft I was flying on, CP-2925 gets the honour to fly me to Santa Cruz.
This is the new terminal. (Opened in April 2023)
The departure hall was located over here, so I went to check out this area a little bit.
Everything was quiet at that time as it was quite late.
I am quite impressed with the new terminal.
This leads to the immigration counters and it was a fast and smooth process.
Once immigration and security check was done, I made my way to the air side via duty free shops.
At that time, there were a few international departure to Europe.
It was quite quiet at that time as most flight had departed at this point.
This airport is opened 24/7 as you can see there are flights even at such early hour of the following day.
Plenty of shops to check out with eateries and lounges available.
Checking the flight, it was on the way, however it would arrive late.
The schedule for the night and the following day.
This is where my flight was departing from.
There she is, this beauty just arrived from Santa Cruz.
Let's board this 737-800! Unfortunately I was one of the last to board the aircraft, but what matters is I was on my way.
My ride: CP-2925 (Photo: Charin De Silva)
Took delivery on October 2015
Ex-Shanghai Airlines aircraft
Engines: 2 X CFM56-7B26
Built in Renton (RNT)
942th Boeing 737 built
Flight route: EZE-VVI
Date of departure:11th June 2023
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Schedule departure: 0230
Pushed back: 0253
Take off: 0307
Flight time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Actual flight time: 2 hours 46 minutes
Schedule arrrival: 0440
Actual arrival: 0453
Departure runway: 29
Arrival runway 16
Another look of CP-2925
The excitement is there! I am off to Bolivia, at least for a few hours.
The registration and MSN of this aircraft.
My seat (Photo: Seatmap.com)
My in-flight experience
Once on board, I noticed every seat was taken after a quick glance. I have to say that the legroom space was good and the seat itself was comfortable. The lack of IFE makes you feel like flying in the good old days, but at 2 a.m, I don't need it. Even though we departed late, our pilots would try their best to reach there, I was glad the Captain made the English announcement. The cabin crew service was ok, in-flight snack was served and they came around 2 times to serve us beverages and that was nice.
The flight was relatively smooth except for descending into VVI as it was a bit bumpy especially on approach. After arrival, it was raining quite a bit therefore I had no photo to show. I have to comment that the pilot's landing was excellent, touching down very softly, well done to the pilot-in-command!
The legroom space of BOA's 737-800 is better than most 737-800 operators out there as every Y class seat's legroom space is at a generous 32 inches. The usual capacity of the 737-800 is 186 but this aircraft’s configuration has only 168 seats.
The view from my seat. As you can see the cabin interior features the old Boeing cabin.
Good amount of legroom space.
The seat can recline up to 3 inches.
Overall, I find these seats comfortable for the 2 hours plus flight.
At this point, we were preparing for arrival.
More photos of my seat
I am definitely a very happy aviation enthusiast!
At that point, a couple of BOA's A330-200 aircraft were being prepared for delivery.
I thought this is pretty decent. Sandwhich and Muffin with a choice of beverage. I chose the coke.
The airline's corperate livery is quite nice.
Goodbye Buenos Aires! Hope to visit you next time.
My flight summary
Airline's website: 2.5/5
Airport Staff at EZE Airport: 3.5/5
In-Flight Service: 4/5
In-Flight Experience: 4/5
Cleanliness of the cabin: 5/5
In-Flight Entertainment System: 0/5
In-Flight Snack/Meal: 4/5
Seat Comfort: 4/5
Cabin interior: 4/5
Overall rating: 33/50
This is a different type of excitement in which it is not about enjoying the luxurious business class or visiting a new lounge, it's about flying a new airline and to a new country which to this date was unknown to me. Sure, you have the internet but there wasn’t many reviews about the airline and the airport and I had to rely on my travelling experience to ensure that everything went well. Fortunately, from check-in at EZE airport and arrival at VVI Airport, everything went smoothly. I wasn't sure whether would I be questioned for this routing but no one cared and that matters. Despite the late departure, I enjoyed the flight as I was pleasantly surprised to receive a complimentary snack meal even at such a dreadful timing plus the legroom space was great. The lack of IFE system didn’t matter as I spent part of the flight sleeping.
I hope the airline can consider the following: To deploy airline's staff on social media like Facebook, Twitter..etc to assist passengers, updating the website by allowing passengers to view their booking online and selection of seats should be allowed during the booking process.
To be continued! I will conclude my thoughts on this airline in the next part.
Thanks for reading!
For my previous trip report ( Jetsmart Airbus A320 SCL-AEP), click here.
For my next trip report (BOA Boeing 737-800 Part 2, VVI-GRU), click here.
Have a great one!