Santiago or Rio Which for Entering/Leaving SA?

 
Old May 9, 07, 2:48 pm
  #1  
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Santiago or Rio Which for Entering/Leaving SA?

We're mulling over taking a South America cruise next February or March that can leave from Valpariso to Rio or the opposite. We live in the Seattle area and wonder if there are any overwhelming advantage of choosing arriving in either Santiago or Rio over the other and the same with leaving from either Santiago or Rio?

I've had limited experience with Miami, not particularly positive, and from threads I've read here Miami isn't widely appreciated as a transit point to/from South America. If returning from Rio via DFW how much of a hassle is the plane change in GRU? If we do that route how much connection time should one allow switching going through Immagration and Customs in DFW? In Miami?

From what I've read in FT if you're in award J, then you can use the AC in the airport where you pick up your international flight? Does that work the same way in returning, can use the AC in your transfer point from international to domestic?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully respond.
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Old May 9, 07, 3:19 pm
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The Wiki and AA.com both have good pieces about lounge access here:
http://www.berkeley.k12.ca.us/OS/doc...8_Calendar.pdf
and here:
http://www.aa.com/content/travelInfo...Policies.jhtml

Answer seems to be you'll get into the AC everywhere on an itinerary with Int'l J involved.

Can't compare the SA airports. I've only ever been to Rio, not impressed, but that was 10 years ago.

Choosing between a connection in MIA and DFW is easy. DFW ^, MIA . The only wrench I'd throw into that mix is that you're starting to push into T-Storm season at DFW which can mess a trip plan up bad. But the odds are still slim, and the odds that your trip will get messed up bad changing in MIA are good IMHO.

As far as minimum connect times, IME the AA planners actually know what they're doing here. If it's a legal connection I wouldn't sweat it.
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Old May 9, 07, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by nomore1k View Post
Choosing between a connection in MIA and DFW is easy. DFW ^, MIA . .
Yes of course DFW is preferable to MIA as a place to connect, but I don't think the difference is great enough that I would be willing to make an additional stop (in GRU) on a flight between GIG and the United States. I would suggest that anyone flying between the United States and GIG go through MIA to avoid the hassle of another connection -- unless, as is sometimes the case, the flight through GRU is significantly cheaper.
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Old May 9, 07, 3:37 pm
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I've never been to Rio, but Santiago has a really nice airport. I can definitely recommend departing from there ^
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Old May 9, 07, 3:38 pm
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Travel deep south america monthly the rio flight is great. no one in airport at all on arrival. on depart only the aa flight is going as all the other flight leave 2 hours before it. so no lines at all. dont worry about mia empty at 9pm so also no lines for you.
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Old May 9, 07, 4:15 pm
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In general, if you are not familiar with South America, Santiago will be easier and more familiar than Rio. For international departures, SCL and GIG are both normally ok, although you can escape the queues for passport control in SCL if you are in international business or first class (at least on LAN, go to the special check-in area at the far left of the airport on the check-in floor). There are no special queues in Rio. Another factor is that both the LAN and AA lounges in SCL are far superior to the AA lounge in GIG. As for arrivals, in GIG tourists normally are exempt from baggage inspection, although they still have to queue up with everybody else and that can take a while. In SCL arrivals there are rarely any queues to speak of for baggage insepction, but everybody has to put their bags through x-ray machines. There can be long delays for entry passport control in both SCL and GIG, but SCL is better organized.
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Old May 9, 07, 4:20 pm
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Go through Santiago!

SCL has the very best AC in the entire system! (Fabulous AAngels, Showers, DirecTV, lots of food and ICE CREAM!)
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Old May 9, 07, 6:09 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36 View Post
Go through Santiago!

SCL has the very best AC in the entire system! (Fabulous AAngels, Showers, DirecTV, lots of food and ICE CREAM!)
Second best, current #1 is NRT

mike
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Old May 9, 07, 6:21 pm
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In both cases, if yo're a Murrikin you will need to pay $$$ (thanks to reciprocity fees for the US price of visas) for both countries. Chile will give you a visa document good for the remaining longevity of your passport, no future fees - good on 'em!

Brasil you may have to apply for a visa in advance as you are arriving by sea? and you probably should do that in any case and get a multiple entry visa - iirc, mine was good for 5 years, and I'd rather spend $100 for something good for five eyars than for a one-time only use.
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Old May 9, 07, 8:02 pm
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The AC at GRU is nice -- but since I haven't been tothe one at NRT I can't say how it compares. Didn't get to try the AC at GIG.

I wouldn't sweat the stop at GRU -- I was there on the way back from GIG to JFK and it was painless. You actually get some time to relax in the AC between the two legs.
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Old May 10, 07, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by ajnaro View Post
As for arrivals, in GIG tourists normally are exempt from baggage inspection, although they still have to queue up with everybody else and that can take a while. .
Just as a clarification so that no one thinks that non-residents are exempt from Brazilian customs. Whereas I agree that customs in Brazil are less strict with non-residents, you are indeed subject to the same customs rules as anyone else, and if your luggage is bulky you can almost certainly count on a trip through the x-ray machine (only the luggage, of course). It will only be time consuming if you are selected for a manual review of your bags after the x-ray, since Brazilian customs are understaffed. But they are normally very polite.

As to the other issues you raise, the connection in GRU is not a big issue. You will only need to go through security and pre-boarding check again.

The AC in GIG is nice, but the spread has fallen drastically in quality lately as has the liquor and wine selection. SCL is much better for that.
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Old May 10, 07, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
In both cases, if yo're a Murrikin you will need to pay $$$ (thanks to reciprocity fees for the US price of visas) for both countries. Chile will give you a visa document good for the remaining longevity of your passport, no future fees - good on 'em!
However if one is connecting only through SCL ( I know the OP is actually entering both Brasil and Chile for the start/end of the cruise) , their ITI system avoids immigration. You get diverted on the way to immigration . go through another security check (quick) and then off to the gates.

SCL is an all around great airport to arrive at or connect through and DFW is the obvious choice vs. MIA regardless of arrival time. I don't think deep SA flights arrive at 9 p.m. as someone said and as such since they are all arriving really at once in the a.m. , immigration in MIA can be a nightmare. Not that the time matters that much as the triumvirate of INS, Customs and TSA is always horrible in MIA.
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Old May 11, 07, 12:38 pm
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Didn't think it was worth starting a new thread, but since TAM and LAN seem to come up a lot in this forum (more than in the S American forum), thought I would post here, from Thursday's news:

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazil's leading airline, TAM S.A. (TAM), and Chilean airline LAN (LFL) announced Wednesday a partnership on South American routes.

Passengers will be able to make connections between TAM and LAN flights using a single ticket and TAM and LAN's frequent flyer programs will be united.

"TAM and LAN passengers can rely on a wider variety of flights while enjoying all of the advantages of both companies," TAM Chief Executive Marco Antonio Bologna said in a statement.

TAM has been attempting to bolster its international operations since rival Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) bought former flagship airline Varig.

-By Alastair Stewart, Dow Jones Newswires
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Old May 11, 07, 12:59 pm
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I really would like to avoid Miami but was concerned about the plane change in GRU. That seems not to be a problem and flying via DFW seems to be the best choice.
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Old May 11, 07, 1:07 pm
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i suggest that you start in the city you would most like to visit, arr 2-3 days early [and always arr 1 day early for a cruise so as not to miss the boat]....

then, consider going thru the cruise arr city & return thru the dep city for more mi's....good luck.
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