GRU Experience Report

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by Gaucho, Feb 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Gaucho
    Original Member

    Gaucho Gold Member

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    For those of you that follow the Argentina and Brazil forums here, you may have seen that my good friend jbcarioca and I have been going back & forth about how bad our airports are. Not that either of us own airports, just that we are both rather unhappy of the quality of the airports of the countries we live in.

    I spent almost 8 hours in GRU during my two stopovers with my family, this was part of a holiday in northern Brazil (close to Salvador, Bahia). I experienced both the domestic and the international areas, the domestic on my outbound and the international on my return leg.

    Being used to the horrible EZE and AEP facilities, I must say that I had high expectations of what Brazil was going to offer... I guess I overestimated this and should have listened to jbcarioca. Services are spartan, organization is variable (Im trying my best to be nice), and staff are not always helpful and properly trained. I had to ask 2 or 3 times before being directed to the proper place, and while I will conceed that my Portuguese sucks, I do speak passable Spanish and my English is OK.

    The Sterile area of the Domestic Terminal has no lounge facilities.... the shopping area is not fully operational, and many stores are closed. One or two bar and 7/11 type convenience stores.... nothing else. Plenty of bathroom facilities.... not Chiangi specs and cleanliness but reasonably acceptable. I wanted to try to use either the American Express lounge or the United RCC, but was told that these are in other terminals and/or in sterline areas not accessible with my boarding pass (domestic connection) for that day. Our planned 3 hour stay was extended to an additional 2.5 hours because TAM cancelled our flight... needless to say, it was a nightmare.

    On the return leg, since our flight was international, we were in the same terminal that UA operates from... dont remember now which one it was. Bad news was that the lounge was closed... shopping in this area is better, there are more options.... prices are not very convenient, but then this is also the case at AEP and EZE, so we share this with our northern cousins.

    The gates on the lower levels of the concourses are very uncomfortable, because they are too small for most of the flights with larger planes.... when boarding time comes, its a circus, there is no room to stand in line... it seems that the gates on the upper levels are better. I was unlucky and had all my GRU flights operate out of lower level gates.... and this btw also means no jetway..... that is another thing that surprised me greatly about GRU.... there seem to be a lack of jetways, or perhaps TAM is cutting costs and operating out of remote spots saves them some $$$.... the walk down to get the bus and then go up the ladder thing is just so AEP it makes me throw up....

    To end on a positive note, the work on the new terminal seems to be going on at full speed, and even the now operating areas are showing work in progress, so I think its safe to assume that for the Copa Do Mundo in 2014 these things will all be history.
    jbcarioca likes this.
  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Ever the optimists that we both are, I will agree with you. GRU seems to have stopped getting worse and the new terminal is beginning to reduce the overload a little bit. I have no fears of being able to compete with any respectable airport anytime soon, but it is improving.

    GIG has had some remarkable improvements in Immigration, Customs and baggage handling that few of us expected.
    EZE also is gaining some very nice gate areas, so it is improving.

    Too bad that we must take heart from such modest gains.

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