So you’d like to fly within Colombia to save time without breaking the bank? That’s wise! Colombia is enormous, many roads are bumpy and unpaved, and mountainous terrain makes drives unpredictable. Even locals prefer flying over 10-hour bus travel since it’s possible to find cheap domestic flights in Colombia. There’s just one problem: foreign visitors get ”tourist prices” without a bit of flight hacking. But worry not, we’ll share our flight hacks to save some serious bucks!
The Best Domestic Airlines in Colombia
We compared Colombian flight prices online for weeks before making our choice. Our top 4 airline choices included Avianca, LAN, Satena, and Viva Colombia. The first thing that we check is safety: these four are labeled as secure choices for air travel. LAN (or nowadays officially LATAM) is the biggest airline in Latin America, originally from Chile; the others are Colombian domestic carriers.
Avianca was the only carrier that flew to all destinations on our 4-week itinerary, but at first, the prices on Avianca’s international site kicked us out. After surfing around forums, we were convinced that it would be safe to book domestic flights at local prices, on the Avianca’s Colombian website. This illumination dropped off LAN and Satena, which had higher fares to most destinations.
Viva Colombia is a low-cost carrier with tempting prices. It’s the first credible low-cost airline in Colombia, nowadays partly owned by Ryanair. Like most discount airlines, Viva Colombia charges hefty fees on hold luggage. We were traveling with almost 20 kg backpacks, which would have risen Viva Colombia’s total prices near or even over those of Avianca. Still, we might have saved a couple of euros at some legs, if we’ve chosen Viva Colombia for those distances.
For ease, we opted to book all our flights within Colombia from Avianca. One reason was that Avianca offered us many straight flights, whereas the other airlines had layovers. For instance, on Santa Marta-Medellín leg Avianca has the very only straight flight. Because Avianca is the Colombia’s biggest domestic airline, they have the widest spectrum of domestic flights meaning convenient flight times and quick connections in case of layovers (we flew through Bogotá many times).
How to Book Avianca’s Cheap Domestic Flights
This is flight hacking at it’s best: simple and quick. Just change your location, when you visit Avianca’s website to unlock your cheap flights in Colombia. If you google ”Avianca” from abroad, you’ll be directed to Avianca’s international website. If you simply choose a different language, español in this case, you’ll still be offered with content aimed at foreigners. We have to be more clever to find the cheap flights!
In the domain field of your browser, just correct the end of the URL into ”en-co” so that the domain will be http://www.avianca.com/en-co/ This will allow you to book the internal flights in English, but get the Colombian prices! It’s your time to smile.
Otherwise, Avianca’s website is very easy to use. The prices are shown only in Colombian pesos (COP) when you browse the Colombian site. Just use some web-based currency converter. We prefer XE’s currency converter.
After your flight hacking trick, you can see and choose any of the ticket classes, even the cheapest ”super promo” price (marked in red). On the international site, you cannot even see the best flight offers.
Here’s the last catch: you can book the flights at Avianca’s website with a credit card issued in North America and many European countries, such as UK, Spain, and Germany. At the time of our booking, just a couple of months ago, Avianca didn’t accept Finnish credit cards, but now they do! Fortunately, we were incredibly lucky to have a friend in Bogotá, who booked the flights for us.
At the check-in and boarding, you’d simply need to show your passport. Avianca’s web check-in worked smoothly, supplying handy mobile boarding passes. At the moment, Avianca’s official rules still require printed boarding pass, but mobile versions proved out to be legitimate, as well.
You’ll quite likely get the best fares from Avianca if you book your flights well in advance. However, we ended up booking ours just a couple weeks before and were still happy with the cheap flight prices.
The Mysterious Avianca Airpass
Web forums are still raving about Avianca’s Airpass. It was once a real bargain for tourists aiming to book several flights within Colombia but hasn’t been available for years. None of the other airlines offer any air passes in Colombia at the moment, either. But with our flight hacking tips, you’ll find cheap domestic flights in Colombia on your own!