After a quick trip the Medellin, we were headed to Bogota. In Medellin you have two options for airports – MDE, the main airport about 45+ minutes from town where the big airlines fly or EOH, a small city airport where only small Colombian airlines fly. The price difference wasn’t huge, so we decided to fly the Colombian airline SATENA EOH-BOG.
SATENA is a unique airline in that they are owned by the Colombian military. Many of the ground crew wear their full military uniform and they fly smaller routes that may not be economical for other commercial airlines. Their airplanes are a mix of newer ATRs, ERJs, and a single EMB-170. We were easily able to book our ticket on their website, which can be a bit difficult for some of the smaller Colombian airlines.
On our day of travel, we took an Uber the 5 miles to the airport, where (once again) the drive preferred one of us to sit in the front to avoid problems with the police. EOH is so small, there is very little waiting in line for anything. Some of the SATENA staff spoke a little English, although we didn’t need it for this flight.
The waiting area at EOH is small, a bit dark, and only has one little coffee shop along with a vending machine. Having said that, the free wifi was among some of the best I’ve encountered to date. For boarding, they called our flight and we exited through the door that lead us down the outdoor hallway to the actual gate where the aircraft was located.
This flight was operated by one of SATENA’s 1 year old ATR-500/600s. Boarding was quick and the flight attendant was very formal, while also friendly. The cabin was clean and the windows were in much better condition than the EasyFly Jetstream we had been on a few days earlier. Interestingly, it seemed like the other passengers on this flight were fairly wealthy compared to our other flights in Colombia. That’s probably because it’s a little more expensive to fly from EOH instead of MDE to BOG. We were definitely the only tourists onboard.
Taxi and takeoff were very quick. There were family members of passengers on board who stood at the fence near the runway to wave goodbye. Vanessa and I both thought that was really sweet. Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendant came around with drinks. I had Pepsi – rare for me but it sounded good.
The flight was very quick at about 40 minutes with no turbulence. It was absolutely stunning coming into BOG where the clouds were held back by the ridge of the plateau the city sits on. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture. We landed at BOG right on time.
On the ground at BOG, SATENA only use remote stands next to the military hangers. This meant we had to be bussed across the airport to baggage claim. It only took 10 minutes or so, and our bags came out immediately.
SATENA is a modern, no-frills airline that just happen to be part of the Colombian military. For this trip they probably saved us at least an hour of travel time. That’s mostly because EOH is a real pleasure to use. I look forward to flying with SATENA again in the future, perhaps next time to somewhere exotic in the Amazon.