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GRU Lounges, terminal transfer & dept tax queries

GRU Lounges, terminal transfer & dept tax queries

Old Oct 27, 06, 1:46 am
  #1  
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GRU Lounges, terminal transfer & dept tax queries

I posted an earlier version of this query on the Star Alliance board, and obtained some information there. However I have not been able to find out about opening hours of lounges, and other details, and so am posting here.

We are connecting at GRU from TP191 due to arrive at 19.50 to LH 502 departing the next morning to EZE. From what I can see TP arrives at terminal 2 and LH leaves from terminal 1.

I have seen there is an airside transfer facility between terminals 1 and 2.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=601666
Does this mean we can avoid entering Brazil, so that we do not need to go through Brazilian immigration and customs, and can check our bags through to EZE?

I have Star alliance gold status so can get access to Star Alliances lounges. There is supposed to be a Varig business lounge (Terminal 2), and a United RCC lounge (Terminal 1). Does the Varig lounge still honour *G cards (mine is Air Canada)? Would either be open overnight, and what facilities do they have? Would we be better going from Terminal 2 right away, or in the early morning? How do the facilities airside compare?

Just to make it more awkward, we are arriving on 31 December and leaving on 1 January, so planning to see the New Year in there. This is one reason why we would prefer to avoid trying for a hotel for such a short night (pleasure, not business trip). I have also read about the requirement for those with non-Brazilian tickets to pay a US$36 departure tax on leaving Brazil. http://www.bitourism.com/travelsneed...rporttaxes.asp
Is this avoidable if we only stay one night in an airport hotel, or is it always collected on check-in? Obviously the extra $72 is an encouragement to stay airside. We have EU passports so do not need visas.

Our preferable scenario would be luggage being transferred, and a direct connection between terminals and a 24 hour lounge with great food. Maybe too much to ask for?
donard is offline  
Old Oct 29, 06, 1:05 am
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Hello Donard,

Unless it changed recently, both TP (you mean Air Portugal, right?) and LH use Terminal 2. If that is still true, you don't have to worry about changing terminals... the airport is not so large anyway.
Also, as of December 2005, the Varig lounge was not airside (it's just before passport control) and the facilities were not that great either. Maybe it was because there were hundreds of people there, from dozens of cancelled Varig flights.
And finally, most tickets purchased out of Brazil already include all taxes, so it's very unlikely that you'll have to pay anything at the airport. Actually, the only time I've seen anybody paying the 36 dollars was years ago, with a Priceline ticket.

Anyway, unless you are really on a budget, go to a nearby hotel (when the GRU was new, the was a hotel inside the airport, not sure if it's still there). After the last evening flights leave, the place goes dead... all shops and restaurants close and you'd be pratically alone there.

Sorry all this info is not so precise, but I hope it helps.

Maria
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Old Oct 30, 06, 1:00 am
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Thanks and more info?

Thanks MariaSF

Yes, TP is Portuguese Airlines.

My information about terminals came from the Star Alliance RTW mileage calculator, which I used to develop the itinerary for our Round the world trip. It specifies terminal 1 for the LH flight. LH themselves on their site says for LH502 on 1 Jan 07 “Sao Paulo, Guarulhos Int'l, Terminal 1 2” which is not very helpful. I prefer to believe you, and the GRU departure boards which show LH currently going from Terminal 2.

Could we still transfer to terminal 1 and back again to use United’s RCC Longue, which is advertised on their site as being open until midnight?

Do you know about the process for collecting the departure tax? There are places – some Asian and Carribbean airports that I know of – where departure tax is collected and you cannot go airside without the receipt to show that you have paid the tax. Our tickets are Star Special Round the World, and we are not using Sao Paulo as one of our 5 permitted stopovers. This means, from a ticketing viewpoint, we will only be in transit. So it is unlikely that we will have paid departure tax in the ticket – which I am told, will probably be electronic. Paying for a hotel is OK. But if it is likely someone will insist on another $72US that would be a good reason to stay airside, even if we would have a lonely start to 2007. It is not as if we would have a long night in a bed, with a 8.30 am departure.
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Old Oct 30, 06, 9:28 pm
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As of today, according to GRU's website, both LH and TP (as well as other *A and non-*A airlines) are still in T2.
About the taxes and other connection details, I have no first-hand experience at all. I did live in SAO/GRU for decades, so I have been to the airport countless times, but never, ever connected there.
All I know is that for regular flights (not connections), it is extremely rare that the taxes are *not* included. Again, I don't know the rules for connecting flights in GRU.
I did this kind of overnight lay-over several times from MUC to GRU with TP, on purpose, just to spend a night in LIS. Never had to pay any extra taxes.
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Old Nov 10, 06, 9:40 am
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The boarding passes in Brazil have stickers with a barcode, wich are read by the guards when you enter the security area, and those barcodes actually indicate you have paid the taxes. As you will be in transit, your passes will not have these stickers, and I suppose you will have to pay them, otherwise you will not be allowed to board.
(This is an educated guess, haven't done what you describe here)
If you check in for the next leg at GRU you will get passes with barcodes, that will mean you will not have to pay anything extra.
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Old Nov 12, 06, 9:57 pm
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Originally Posted by neuromancer
The boarding passes in Brazil have stickers with a barcode, wich are read by the guards when you enter the security area, and those barcodes actually indicate you have paid the taxes. As you will be in transit, your passes will not have these stickers, and I suppose you will have to pay them, otherwise you will not be allowed to board.
(This is an educated guess, haven't done what you describe here)
If you check in for the next leg at GRU you will get passes with barcodes, that will mean you will not have to pay anything extra.
The airlines themselves have to collect the tax anyway (during Varig's meltdown, for example, things got so bad that the airline had to start paying transferring the taxes on a daily basis), so even if you didn't have the stickers, the personnel who scan them would simply send you back to the ticket counters. The agent would see that you already paid the Brazilian taxes. AA, for example, prints out each receipt and circles the reference to the tax so that there is no question.
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Old Feb 3, 07, 10:46 am
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Thanks for the help

Thais is to report on what happened. We went to both Varig's lounge (they had one airside, upstairs near the connecting passageway to the other terminal, and United's. We did not go in to Brazil. The Varig lounge staff got in contact with Lufthansa, as the did not seem to have any presence airside and they brought up our boarding passes. The bags were checked through. The two terminals are linked by a passageway, and there are no checks in it, so you are free, one airside, to wander back and forward between them.

This was on Jan 1 2007, when Varig was still showing the *A symbol.
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Old Mar 12, 07, 7:37 pm
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Thumbs up Clearing customs/immigration going DFW-GRU-FOR

So a few months ago I booked my roommate and I on an AA MileSaaver SNA-DFW-GRU-DFW-SNA. We'll be spending about 11 days in Brazil, and decided to spend 5 days working our way across the beaches between FOR and SLZ.

So we will be buying the GRU-FOR, but we have already ticketed the award reservation. AA said if we provide them with the flight reservation of TAM, they can check the bag all the way through. In searching FT, I've seen the airside link, and the process of connecting in GRU for international flights. But I'm arriving international and connecting on a domestic. The AA flight lands (T2) at 7:50am, and the TAM flight (T1) leaves at 9:30am. The AA Platinum desk assured me this is enough time, but couldn't tell me what the customs and immigration process will be. I'm assuming I will have to clear customs and immigration, drop of my bag back off on the otherside of customs (all while staying within security), make my way to T1, and get my ticket for my TAM flight to FOR. All under 2 hours. Now, this will be a Tuesday morning in mid-May, so I wouldn't expect extremely heavy volume, but I've never been to South America, so I want to know what to expect. Thanks!
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Old Mar 15, 07, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by mhpkev View Post
I want to know what to expect.
On arrival at GRU you will first go through passport control. The lines can be rather long – most international flights arrive in the early morning hours. This is particularly true if the Brazilian police don’t have enough officers on duty.

Next you will go to the carousels to pick up your checked luggage. After doing so you can give the customs form to the agent and walk out of the baggage area – the customs officers almost never stop anyone.

There is no place to leave luggage for other flights even if the bags are checked “all the way through” to your ultimate destination. You will need to take your luggage with you and walk through the doors out of the customs area.

You will then be outside the security zone – there is no way to avoid this. Look for the escalators or stairs and take them up to the departure area on the second floor. You will then need to walk to the TAM check-in counters in Terminal I – the two terminals are really just wings of the same building so this is easy to do. All TAM passengers check in at the same counters -- they do not have different lines for each flight. Get in the line – it may be very long. When you get to a counter you can check in for your next flight and get your boarding pass (they will also take your baggage here).

You will then need to find the door that leads to the gate from which your flight will depart – you will go through security screening here. Then you can locate the gate from which your flight will leave.
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