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tvltripper Oct 10, 14 2:23 pm

Connecting UA to Azul
I managed to use miles on UA to get to Belo Horizonte, and they put us on Azul from GRU to CNF. (B.H.) Has anyone done this yet? Azul is a new partner with UA. I assume that I will have to go through immigration and customs in GRU, and then transfer to Azul, but I am hoping that United will check my bags through from Chicago (a non-stop), and all I have to do is get myself to Azul. I think Azul is at Terminal 4 - is that a bus ride? Or are they still at Terminal 1? Help is appreciated.

tvltripper Oct 10, 14 2:25 pm

I mean, I will have to get my bags and then recheck them for Azul, but I am hoping they will have a desk for that after passport control and customs in Terminal 3.

qfrodo Oct 10, 14 4:29 pm

UA arrives at the new Terminal 3. When I last came thru and making a connection to GOL, there was an area after exiting customs where you could recheck bags. I noticed Azul also had staff in that area. Yes, you will need to take a bus to Terminal 4 according to other reports.

neuromancer Oct 10, 14 5:49 pm

No, United will not check your bags through, you need to collect them and pass through customs at GRU (the next flight is a domestic and arrives at a domestic gate where there is no customs).
Azul still operate from Terminal 4, reachable by bus. I'm not aware of any plans for them to move, but it could be better if they were at T1/2, as they should have the capacity now that all the international flights operate from T3.
T4 is rather spartan, there is nothing there except chairs and a food kiosk for snacks, if you need anything else better buy it while you are in T3.

tvltripper Oct 10, 14 9:47 pm

Thank you

Originally Posted by qfrodo (Post 23658590)
UA arrives at the new Terminal 3. When I last came thru and making a connection to GOL, there was an area after exiting customs where you could recheck bags. I noticed Azul also had staff in that area. Yes, you will need to take a bus to Terminal 4 according to other reports.

Confession: I am a new member, although I have lurked a bit. I am really impressed. I had called UA, done much research on line, and scoured the maps of GRU, checked with a well reputed tour company for Brazil, etc. and no one could give me the answer given above, which is what I was hoping for. We have plenty of time, just did not want to have to drag our own luggage to terminal 4. (Bringing more than we usually travel with because we are bringing things for family living in Belo now.) Thank you FlyerTalk community.

qfrodo Oct 11, 14 6:07 am

:)Welcome to FT!

There is also an information desk in Terminal 3 after exiting customs, should you have any further questiions, or should Azul not be present in the recheck area.

When you exit customs, continue walking straight, don't go to the right where people will be waiting and the elevators and escalators to upper floors are located. After passing that, the recheck area is a nook on the left.

You didn't mention when you are traveling, but I'll be doing this again next week, so if there are any changes, I'll post here.

In the past, at least with TAM, UA would tag the bags to VIX, but you still need to claim them at GRU to go thru customs as neuromancer stated. Since Azul is a partner, UA may be able to tag them to CNF. Don't be surprised, though, if when rechecking they pull the tag off and put their own. :)

SoCal Oct 11, 14 8:26 am

Absolutely need to go through immigration, wait for your bags and go through customs at GRU (your port of entry into Brazil) just like you would entering the U.S. After immigration you can shop at a large duty free store. To go through customs you don't have to fill out a form unless you have something to declare, though you could get pulled out of the "nothing to declare" line for inspection, even at random.

Having your bags tagged for BH will make the connection easier at the transit desk (see below) and keep you in international baggage weight limits for your domestic flight. So UA should tag your bags for your ultimate destination, even though you will make a connection at GRU (and have to get your bags, etc). I don't see it making any difference if Azul puts their tags on in addition to (or in place) of United's.

The transfer desk is, as stated, after customs, in the main hallway outside the security zone, at GRU. Last time I was there, there was a sign for Azul (plus lines for TAM and Gol). Here you'd hand over checked bags and get your boarding pass for Azul (assuming both flights were purchased together).

My wife has flown Azul and quite liked the service.

Jake Gittes Dec 23, 14 7:27 am

I don't really have anything to add here, but I thought I throw out there that this thread contained the exact information was looking for regarding transferring from UA to Azul in GRU. Thanks FlyerTalk!

SoCal Dec 23, 14 9:37 am

UA and Azul being code share partners has nothing to do with the requirement to go through immigration and customs at your first port of entry (just like you would at your first port of entry to the U.S.). Your flight to Belo is a domestic flight; no immigration or customs at the end of that flight. UA can't help you avoid going through immigration and customs to enter Brazil.

We have flown Delta and Gol (code share partners), as well as other carriers that weren't partners, and the process to enter Brazil is the same (immigration, customs, then take your bags to a transit desk, where you'll get your boarding pass, then go through domestic flight security to your flight).

United and Avianca International are both in the Star Alliance. Avianca Brasil is still operating separately from Avianca International, but I assume that before too long they will merge and Avianca Brazil will become a partner with United. Not sure if Azul would continue as a partner. Anyway, even if you were transferring to TAM or Gol (as we may do on an upcoming international trip involving United to/from the U.S.), your bags would be tagged to your ultimate destination, and you'd transfer per above.

BTW, it is imperative to have your bags tagged for Belo, so that the transfer desk doesn't try to charge you domestic baggage fees for that trip (i.e., as a separate trip). United in the U.S. will do this routinely.

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