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Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes -- if this is smart, what is stupid?

Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes -- if this is smart, what is stupid?

Old Jun 3, 15, 7:25 pm
  #1  
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Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes -- if this is smart, what is stupid?

Before I rant on Gol, let me say that my wife and I had a delightful trip to Brazil this past week. Once we were onboard the Gol flight from São Paulo to Florianópolis, everything was fine. The flight attendants were very nice -- no problem onboard.

But what an absurd system Gol has created for passenger check-in. My wife and I flew into GRU on AA. We put 4 hours between our arrival at GRU and our Gol departure to FLN. We figured that would mean lots of sitting around time in GRU. No.

Turns out we needed all of that 4 hours to make the flight to FLN, and that's entirely because Gol is the most unintelligent Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes I can imagine.

We were travelling heavy -- above the free baggage limits. My wife was an entrant in Ironman Brazil, so we had a big bike box and two big suitcases with us. We were totally okay with paying some extra money for this baggage.

Even if you don't have extra baggage fees, you wait a really, really long time in the Gol baggage drop line at GRU. Over an hour, for a flight that will end up being shorter than your baggage drop off wait.

And if you have extra baggage fees to pay, then add about 45 minutes to that. The baggage agents cannot take payments: they direct you to other Gol agents in GRU. We went to one office, then another. We paid cash. This was a big mistake -- the agent had no change and disappeared for 10 minutes while she got change.

After we finally paid the excess baggage fees, we returned to the baggage check-in guy. He gave us our boarding passes. We went through security.

When we got to the gate, boarding was well underway. Half of the passengers had boarded.

The takeaway: give yourself a whole bunch of time if you have Gol in mind.
dhuey is offline  
Old Jun 3, 15, 8:17 pm
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The other domestic airline choices may not be much better under similar conditions. :-(. And anything else involving Brazilian burro-cracy.

So tell us more about the trip. Where did you go in the "spare" time?
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Old Jun 4, 15, 10:50 am
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
So tell us more about the trip. Where did you go in the "spare" time?
Alas, we didn't have much spare time. A full Ironman is quite an ordeal, especially if it involves international travel with a disassembled bike. We spent almost the whole time in Jurerê, the northern tip of Florianópolis. On the last day, we took a slow drive along the east coast of the island to see the non-touristy parts. Glad we did that.

Jurerê Beach is gorgeous and the town is very nice. I realize that Florianópolis isn't really Brazil, much like how Cancún isn't really Mexico. We hope to go back to see Rio, Bahia and Amazona someday.

We became friends with a really fun couple. The guy, also an Ironman entrant, was born in Brazil and and moved to the USA as a teen. His aunt and uncle flew in to see him, and we all went out to dinner one night. That was our authentic Brazilian experience -- a family dinner of sorts.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 2:13 pm
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This was on one ticket? Can't figure why you would have had to pay overweight fees to Gol if you'd already paid them to AA. If this was the case, I'd certainly complain to AA. Or did you not buy the ticket through AA? If you bought it through a third party, things could be tougher, though I'd still try to get reimbursed.

We've not had to stand a line for Gol to transfer (e.g., from Delta or UA), 30 mins. max (which is a lot), though once they wouldn't allow us to check in more than 3 hours before our domestic flight. I am not a fan of Gol personally.

As noted, you don't know what your experience would have been with the other carriers on this route.

Lesson for others: if you know you'll be overweight, research in advance.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by SoCal View Post
This was on one ticket?
No, separate itineraries. This was a mileage award on AA in business (SFO-DFW-GRU) and a separate ticket from GRU to FLN. I don't think there was any way for me to add the GRU-FLN leg to the award itinerary.
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