I was on El Tiempo after not checking it for a few months and I saw a Brazilian flag in an advert. It was from Avianca (which now has hubs in Brazil after buying Brazilian airline Ocean Air earlier this year) and their ad was to inform people that it operates two daily flights to São Paulo from Bogotá.
Late last year in Medellín, I decided to give Avianca a call, pretending I was a Brazilian living in Colombia so I spoke with a Brazilian Portuguese speaking agent and received a price of around $1,000 for a round-trip flight to São Paulo. Considering my round-trip flight from the US to Colombia was $600, I said thanks but no thanks. Fast-foward a year and Avianca, as mentioned previously, is operating from within Brazil. One would think their operating costs would go down somehow and any savings might be able to go to the customer. Wrong.
From the image above, it can be noted that a round-trip flight (which, by the way, is BOG-SAO) would cost me US$800. Perhaps the time of the year has a little to do with it but I kind of doubt it.
As a carrier, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but praise for Avianca. In fact, I’ve never flown better. Assuming third time is a charm and I move back to Brazil in 2011, it would be really nice to have a cheap(er) way to go between countries and the difference for me is in the price. At $500-$600 rt, which I’ve always been able to find from the US to Colombia, I have been able to get to know various Colombian cities in the last two years but at $800 rt, such a pleasure must be relegated to once every 3-4 years. That’s the psychological difference that $200-$300 in savings makes.