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How things have changed in GIG for layovers.

How things have changed in GIG for layovers.

Old Jul 6, 17, 8:30 am
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How things have changed in GIG for layovers.

I last visited Rio in November 2015, so was familiar with the issues of the airport and transportation in and around Rio to places like Copacobana.

Last week I dropped in for a couple of nights during a mileage run from London with United, and was surprised by just how much of the information in the threads on these boards is now out of date since the Olympics.

First off is the walk that you now have on arrival to get to Immigration. United use gate 59 in the new terminal, Lufthansa had an A380 parked at 60 and several other carriers were all parked out at the far end of the terminal. I was one of the first off, and am not a slow walker by any means but it took me at least ten minutes to get to immigration. The walk is well over three quarters of a mile from the plane. There are very few sections with travelators.

On the return, for those using the lounge, A* now have their own lounge, two levels up from the exit of the vast duty free complex that you have to pass through after passport control. That is about 400 yards walk. The lounge is at the entrance to the new terminal, and the gates they are currently using are about 800 yards away from there. Take that into account when judging when to leave the lounge. The check in desks are also furthest from the International Security (UA and LH are on B aisle). So you are guaranteed a walk of at least one mile from check in to the aircraft all told.

The other HUGE change is the length of time it takes to get to Copacobana and Atlantic Avenue. Tere are other theads on here warning that it takes about two hours and the traffic is horrendous. Not any more.

They have moved the RealPremier bus stops now to the centre of arrivals (from the far right). The 2016 or 2018 route will take you to Santos Dumont airport (for transfers) or to Copacobana/Ipanema/Leblon. Journey time to SDU was approx 20 minutes and another 25 minutes to Atlantic Avenue, where the drivers will drop you anywhere. This was at round 11am on a Friday, so not rush hour, but then again, I remember Rio as not having a rush hour, just gridlock all day long.

Getting back to the airport from the beach took a similar journey time, albeit I did this on RioShuttle, but still dropped off at SDU. I was picked up at 4pm from my hotel, and was through security by 5pm.

Final note about the A* lounge. Very quiet and relaxing feel to it. Not a good range of food available although so inviting deserts. There are two shower rooms available and a bar, but it seemed very understaffed. Only two members of staff were catering for everything including the podium. You had to search for them if you wanted anything.

If you have a layover in GIG of more than about six hours (like a same day turnaround on an MR from the US), you should have no problem in getting to the beach for some sun, sand and a meal for a few hours. There is even time, on a ten hour stop, to get up Corcovado or Sugar Loaf using public transport, if you plan it right.
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Old Jul 6, 17, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Richym99 View Post
If you have a layover in GIG of more than about six hours (like a same day turnaround on an MR from the US), you should have no problem in getting to the beach for some sun, sand and a meal for a few hours. There is even time, on a ten hour stop, to get up Corcovado or Sugar Loaf using public transport, if you plan it right.
I think it's a bit gutsy to make that claim based on a single recent visit. I'm hoping/assuming you visited on a weekday. True, congestion in Rio has eased quite a lot simply due to the massive recession we're going through: decimated oil industry, and record high unemployment mean less jobs to drive to. Add to that no money for petrol, cars being repossessed, and you have a lot less cars out on the road. But right now we're in the first week of school holidays, and some people would have got a headstart on getting away last week so traffic may have been unusualy light during your visit.

Case in point: early June I had an 8:00AM flight on a Thurs to Bogota, and I was driving to GIG at 5:30AM and I could see a queue of cars a mile or so long on the opposite direction heading into town.

Agree with your points on the walking distances and *A lounge.
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Old Jul 7, 17, 2:38 am
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I was basing my observations on comparisons to other visits I have made to Rio in the past, but obviously you are a resident so accept that my own observations may have given a false impression. On the other hand, passing a queue of traffic at that time of morning, I would suggest may have been down to road maintenance or a traffic accident.

My journeys were made on Friday at 11am and Sunday at 4pm, The main difference seems to have been the use of the new tunnel linking Santos Dumont to the docks area.
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