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Rio and São Paulo - American First and LATAM

Rio and São Paulo - American First and LATAM

Old Dec 4, 19, 5:09 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
Rio and São Paulo - American First and LATAM

My trips of late have been mostly domestic and uneventful. I decided not to bore you with domestic hops.

My apologies, as always, that I do not take a lot of photos.

My stepmother is turning 60. Indeed, that is just 15 years older than I am. I now encourage you to ponder various Disney tropes about evil stepmothers. The stepmonster stepmother is from Rio de Janeiro, and my family still has a flat there. The birthday festivities are to be held in Rio.

The advice I received from friends about how to get through this trip: “keep drinking.”

And the advice from my primary care provider: “you should take a lot of clonazepam.”

As for planning the trip, economy class tickets were astonishingly expensive: $1700+ I even tried clever tricks like Copa and Air Canada. No. Thus, a whole lot of AAdvantage miles. But this would mean a simple connection and I could score “Flagship First.”

A flight directly into Rio would have necessitated an absurdly long layover in Atlanta or a double connection through Miami. I decided upon a far more clever plan: fly to São Paulo, stay overnight and recover (or prepare) and then fly to Rio/Santos Dumont. There are now flights from Guarulhos to Rio/Santos Dumont, so this would eliminate some sort of painful cross-town transfer in São Paulo.

TIA: Transient Ischemic Attack? or Tucson International Airport?
It seems like TIA is in the non-medical vernacular, and it would be wise to call the airport “TUS” instead of “TIA.” I guess it’s a step up from Norovirus International Airport or The Gonorrhea Domestic Terminal.

I’ve grown to love the Tucson Airport. It is small, hospitable, but not luxurious. There are no lounges, no glitz, but it is just so easy. Tucson is full of upmarket hotels and resorts; it’s a bit odd that the airport isn’t too swank. I guess the traffic is so limited that it doesn’t necessitate elaborate lounges or a Cartier showroom.

There was nobody in the line at AAmerican, and the polite agent commented that I “looked well put-together,” and she was jealous of my suitcases. (Rimowa and Jack Spade: a touch of class.) Flattery will get you everywhere. She didn’t comment that the bags are totally beat-up.

Security was polite and entirely uneventful (phew!)

As one has grown to expect in Tucson, there were an exceptional number of passengers in wheelchairs. But the ground crew were polite and efficient, and we still pushed back on time.

I do wish they would stop badgering us with, “This is a very full flight!” Don’t shame us for something we did not plan. It’s akin to a lousy teacher starting the class with, “We have a lot to cover today!” What good did that do? Thanks for raising the tension; we needed that.

AA2483
Tucson-Dallas/Fort Worth
Seat 3E
737-800

This was largely uneventful flight. I watched “Veep” on my iPad and looked out the window.

The crew were very much “dialing it in,” rolling their eyes at passengers asking for things. Do they know we can hear and see them? Like—do they know that passengers are sentient?

The video monitor at my seat was unable to show the safety demo. How will I know if “great” is what they’re going for? Likewise, the map display was all over the place. (Does anyone remember when Airshow was first introduced? It almost always bookmarked Gothab, Greenland.)

To her credit, the chief flight attendant apologized, and took the demo issue seriously.

We landed just a little early, and I got out of the soon-to-be-rehabbed Terminal C as soon as I could.


DFW Flagship Lounge and Dining
The “concierge” was slurping on a Chick-Fil-A milkshake as I entered. She took a brief break from the milkshake to tell me that my phone wasn’t bright enough for her to read my boarding pass. I like to think of such interactions as “a touch of elegance.”

The maître d’ at the dining room was flummoxed. I was supposed to have received a specific invitation to dine, and Madam Chick-Fil-A was supposed to walk me over. I was told that I must walk myself back to the Chick-Fil-A counter and address the issue. Couldn’t they have used a phone?

And then it got better.

Pilar, the server, was bubbly and engaging. She popped open the Krug, and it was great. The other staff were equally chatty in an informal but professional way. They seemed to be really having a good time.

I didn’t nick the menu, but I had:

· Leek and Potato Soup
· Pasta with a mushroom "bolognese"
· Dark chocolate budino
· more Krug

It was all rich, but the portions were small enough. I joked about the possibility of getting the soup “to go” and how to gain further access to the budino. They universally agreed that the food is very good.

I took a quick shower, and then prepared for the long flight.

I ended up chatting with two non- Chick-Fil-A staff, and I politely addressed the check in process. They agreed to handle that matter quietly and internally. Moreover, they made it clear that I should never feel bad for saying something.

AA963
Dallas/Fort Worth to São Paulo/Guarulhos
777-300
Seat 1J





Boarding was chaotic, but they still had two Portuguese-speaking gate agents, a Japanese-speaking gate agent, and many other staff. I was impressed by the sheer number of staff.

They still seemed to have some snags with the “photo” based boarding. It didn’t seem to save any time. Also, I hate looking at photos of myself.

Once on board, I was greeted with sincere warmth by the purser, Deborah. She knew everyone’s name, preferences, and “read the room” like a pro. I was impressed by mix of informality and class. We were on a first-name basis, but she was all style.

The other crew seemed well-groomed, attentive, and happy. They defied the stereotypes of the senior AA cabin crew. There was one speaker for the two forward cabins, and (I think) three others. They were men, thus they did not sport the famous “speaker skirt.”

We took off expeditiously, and headed toward Houma, Louisiana, Grand Cayman, the western edge of Cuba, Puerto Ayacucho, Brasília, Goiãnia, Campinas, and on to São Paulo.

The flight was mildly turbulent the whole time, but this was merely an inconvenience. There were no nagging announcements, and the crew took a commonsense approach. There was such a nice tailwind that the turbulence meant that we would arrive close to an hour early.

As for the menu, it wouldn’t compare with Flagship Dining, but it was not bad at all. In fact, I think it was the best premium class meal I’ve had on American.


SMALL PLATES
Lobster Salad Deviled Eggs
Ibérico ham, shaved manchengo cheese

or

White Balsamic Poached Baby Figs
honey ricotta, mint oil, pesto shoots


SOUP
Classic Beer Cheese
Roasted pretzel croutons


SALAD
Seasonal Green Salad
Edamame, feta, oven-dried tomato

MAIN PLATES
Soy Ginger Short Rib
sweet potato miso mash, sesame carrot snap peas, soy honey sauce

Alpine Herbed Chicken
fingerling potato, bourbon jus, baby carrots, jalapeño jam

Grilled Halibut
cauliflower mash, snow peas, beurre blanc, grilled lemon

Heart of Palm and Roasted Corn Cakes
saffron couscous, edamame, tomato and caper jam


DESSERT
Traditional Ice Cream Sundae
vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, butterscotch, seasonal berry toppings, whipped cream, pecans

Gourmet Cheese Board
smoked gouda, aged white cheddar, jalapeño pepper jack, medjool dates, strawberries, grapes

Seasonal Pumpkin Gooey Cake
Crème anglaise with ice cream

BREAKFAST
Offered prior to arrival

SELECTIONS
Broccoli and Red Pepper Strata
smoked chicken sausage, roasted potatoes

Fresh Fruit Bowl
granola, Greek yogurt

The figs were by far the highlight of the menu. They were beautifully plated with little dots of pesto. The honey ricotta was light.

The soup was—of course—salty. I was dubious of something that sounded like pub food. But I actually quite liked it.

The salad was a bit heavy on the feta; in fact, I think it would have been better without feta at all. But the yellow sun-dried tomatoes were especially good. (I had a professor in college, who explained that European countries that were economically backward had an excess of feta cheese. She demonstrated the “feta belt” ranging from Greece and up through the Balkans.)

As expected, the main was not the best part of the meal. It was just kind of starchy and boring. It needed vegetables. Why mix couscous with corn cakes? At least the tomato caper jam was beautiful.

As if that budino wasn’t enough, I had a beautiful sundae. In true Seinfeld form, it had the right ratios and balances of chocolate and ice cream. I also think that American’s sundae cups look better than their United and Delta counterparts. Somehow the glass makes the ice cream look especially good.

The meal setup really did feel first class. The linens, the salt and pepper shakers, the glassware. All of it seemed high-end and classy. It was quite clear that this was first, not business.

Without prompting, Deborah made up my bed, and I slept for perhaps six or more hours. The Casper bedding and pajamas were warm and inviting.

I woke up somewhere around Brasília, with only a little bit left in the flight.


Breakfast was the usual fruit plate, but the smell of cinnamon rolls permeated the cabin.
I knew better than to consume “Fresh Brew,” particularly since I was about to arrive in the land of good coffee.

The Airshow remained goofy for all of the flight: it got stuck, often suggesting that we had hours to go. Maybe it was user error. Upon arrival, my phone kept welcoming me to the Bahamas.


Guarulhos (GRU)
Deborah gave me a hug and wished me well. There were only three or four people ahead of me at immigration. The officer was young, friendly, and wished me a good trip.

Brazil no longer requires landing cards. This information is not found on the Brazilian government web site. I even went through their recommendation of completing the form online and printing it out. There was no need.

This is where tragedy struck. I was desperately waiting for the sultry voice of Iris Lettieri. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/...toryId=8976813. Instead, another voice welcomed me on the loudspeaker. She referred to it as “Grooo-airport,” presumably because “Guarulhos” is too hard to pronounce. Do they know about the Russian GRU?

Bags were slow: about 45 minutes, but I was happy that they arrived.

I made the trek through customs and Duty Free.

Brazil no longer has the “press this button to see if we’ll search your bags” machine. I always found that a bit curious.

The Marriott bus was waiting as I got outside. I knew to expect a profoundly bumpy and circuitous, neck-ache-inducing bus journey, and this was no exception.


View from my hotel room. This is why Paulistas travel by helicopter.



Marriott São Paulo-Guarulhos
It seemed like a wash between the Marriott and the Pullman. I’m not really sure why I chose one and not the other.

The Marriott is okay-ish. I had paid extra to ensure early check in. I even used web check in. But that was immaterial; the room still wasn’t ready.

The room itself is small, nondescript, except for its gargantuan foodservice-capacity coffee machine. There is nothing luxe about the Marriott, but it’s nothing terrible.


Yes, I'm expecting 45 guests for coffee.

There was too much rain to spend a bit of pool time, so I resorted to doing work.

They also offered “Dr. Oetker” brand tea. (There have been a lot of Dr. Oetker jokes among my friends and family. I joke about listing “Dr. Oetker” as my dissertation advisor, primary care provider, attending, etc.

The Club Lounge was the highlight. It was well-stocked with an open bar, pão de queijou, cappuccino machine, etc. The staff were more than accommodating, knowing everyone by name.

Coming up: a night's rest in Marriott blandness, and then off to Rio de Janeiro.
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 4, 19, 7:45 pm
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"Brazil no longer has the “press this button to see if we’ll search your bags” machine." CNF airport still has it and even with two hands in your pocket the security personnel asks to push it.
Jaenks is offline  
Old Dec 4, 19, 10:45 pm
  #3  
 
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Great TR - thanks so much!
gaobest is offline  
Old Dec 6, 19, 8:43 am
  #4  
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Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
Onward to Rio de Janeiro

After a decent sleep, I had breakfast in the lounge. It was quiet. Nothing spectacular, but it wasn't bad either.
The bus ride was bumpy but a bit quicker than on the inbound.

Guarulhos 2
LATAM has self check-in and self-tagging for domestic flights. When I booked the ticket, I did not find any opportunities for premier or expedited check-in or security. This turned out to be immaterial. There were perhaps three or four people ahead of me in line to check in, and only one person in front of me at security.

As there is no ID check, security was very fast and entirely unobtrusive.

The check-in lobby at Guarulhos 2 remains hot, humid, dark, and uninviting. But the airside section is greatly improved. There seem to be endless shops, kiosks, duty free, gelato, etc.

Gol Premium Lounge
I used my Priority Pass card to enter the Gol lounge, which serves Delta as well as Gol. (I assume Air France as well). This was simple, and the receptionist was welcoming, asking if I needed anything. Although not necessarily glamorous, there were pastries, espresso machines, wine, and a lot of power outlets. There were showers available (I didn't check these out), as well as the option to purchase a massage.

I'd also nominate Gol for the second-ugliest color scheme of any airline (Arkia is the undisputed winner.)


View from the Gol Premium lounge. This view features the Pripyat-esque architecture of Guarulhos.


Off to Rio de Janeiro

There was a bit of a walk to the gate, which was amid the darker, older quarters of the terminal.

LA3070
São Paulo/Guarulhos to Rio/Santos Dumont
A319
Seat 1F
I Googled and re-Googled where to sit so as to obtain the best view. I was the only passenger in the front row of the airplane.
The flight was sparsely booked. The cabin was all new with the nice LATAM upholstery. Although there were entertainment monitors, these were not used. I think that WiFi and "bring your own device" entertainment were available via LATAM Play, but the flight was so short that I wasn't too interested. I smelled coffee, but I was asleep for any cabin service.

The crew said "hello" and "thank you," but that's it. The announcements (recorded and not) were entirely in Portuguese with the single exception of a message in English to read the safety card.


View of Cristo Redentor on approach to Santos-Dumont.

Aeroporto Santos-Dumont
My bags were on the belt within seconds of arriving at the bag claim, and I was off to the opposite end of the terminal to catch an Uber. Hot and sticky, I arrived at the Bossa Nova Mall, where the Uber "lounge" is located.

The drive was jerky, traffic infested, and thus normal for Rio. I was glad that I chose to fly to Santos Dumont. I hate the drive from Galeão.

The Ipanema Inn
My little sister is gifted travel researcher, and she found the Ipanema Inn. It's a few blocks from my family's apartment, pleasant, clean, on the beach, and comparatively inexpensive.

It's near the erstwhile Sofitel, which I believe is closed for renovations.

There was nothing exceptional about it, but the room was large by European/South American standards, and it was a few blocks from the beach.

The restaurant, Quítéria, was amazing. It features a lot of organic-type food. Since it was pouring rain, none of us felt like a long walk.

I should not that my family was on its best behavior. We'll see how long that lasts.

I would include more photos, but it's pouring rain.
Next stop: Buzios.
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 6, 19, 8:52 am
  #5  
 
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Location: London, United Kingdom
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Good report

Sofitel has now reopened as a Fairmont
ajeleonard is offline  
Old Dec 6, 19, 5:49 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
Good report

Sofitel has now reopened as a Fairmont
I think it's the former Sofitel Copacabana (really, in between Copacabana and Ipanema) that has reopened as a Fairmont. The Sofitel Ipanema remains closed for renovations.
dkc192 is offline  
Old Dec 7, 19, 2:38 am
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Would love some bar and restaurant recos on Buzios after your stop there. Visiting in Feb. ty! Enjoy!
GetSetJetSet is offline  
Old Dec 9, 19, 7:49 am
  #8  
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
Buzios

We rented a seven-room house in Buzios. There are any number of houses, pousadas, etc. we were pleased to be in the water with a pool, hot tub, and steam room.


The beach

There were three staff who prepared meals, cleaned, and played with my little nephew. The house is often popular with bachelor parties, so we were a more sedate crowd.

The staff speak only Portuguese and a bit of Spanish. They said that Google Translate had been helpful with guests from France and the USA.

Resting my feet in the deck.


Since some of my family members are more observant of kosher laws, and we had an eight-month-old, we really stayed nearby. Sorry GetSetJetSet , we dined inn.

We paddle-boarded, swam, drank.
There is a bit of commerce on the beach: a man in Spider Man attire selling ice cream, delicious frozen açaí.

Family drama was very much afoot but it wasn’t as dramatic as during some prior visits.

Now back to the road. It was a rainy, bumpy drive in the way, so I’m preparing for the long drive. Too bad the Buzios Airport is limited to general aviation, and the Cabo Frio Airport (I think) only has Azul flights to Campinas. And my G5 is in the shop

Next up: back to the Ipanema Inn.
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 10, 19, 11:59 am
  #9  
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Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
The drive back to Rio was considerably shorter and the weather was much better.
We were back to the Ipanema Inn for an adequate walk/jog along the promenade and a pleasant dinner at Pici.


Futebol on Ipanema Beach


The following day featured much cloudier weather, so went to Polis and walked up by São Conrado (two of my favorite places in Rio.)


São Conrado (the white building is the Sheraton Hotel)


There was an absurd amount of traffic, so plans were a bit cut short in order to get to the airport in time.

Santos Dumont
There were only a couple of people ahead of me in the queue, and check-in therefore quite quick. Security in the "non-priority" section was well-staffed, and there was only one person in front of me. Laptops out, jackets off, but shoes stayed on and there were no liquid requirements. This time around, an agent scanned my boarding card, but this seemed to be intermittent .

Next up: flight to Guarulhos and beyond.
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 10, 19, 4:54 pm
  #10  
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
LATAM 3633
Rio de Janeiro/Santos Dumont to São Paulo Guarulhos
A319
Seat 1F

The flight was about an hour late due to weather in São Paulo.
I'm glad I speak (some) Portuguese as all of the gate change and delay announcements were strictly in Portuguese.

Boarding was about as chaotic as one might expect for a flight in Brazil. I had a tough time finding stowage for my tiny bag. It ended up being six rows behind me despite boarding at the first opportunity. First world problem.

The flight was smooth, boring, and I didn't witness any service" so to speak. The crew seemed unhappy.

Since I had to wait for the plane to empty before retrieving my bag, I had little wait in the smelly arrivals hall of Guarulhos/2. Ick. It's so gross down there.

Despite endless warnings about the long walk from terminal 2 to 3 it didn't seem like much of an effort. I mean... compare that with a broken train at Newark or taking the Underground at Heathrow. There was nothing to it.

Two cheery and inviting AAmerican agents were waiting at the entrance to check-in. "You must be Mr. Mats!" they said. (Probably a good guess on their behalf.)

In less than five minutes, they had my bags checked and they accompanied through security to the lounge.
I had PreCheck, and they had no security questions at all.

I got the impression that they were having a great time. The one agent was celebrating 13 years at American in São Paulo.

Security was--like at Santos Dumont--very easy. No liquid rules, just keep laptops out. There was only one person ahead in line.

Immigration was equally speedy with no queue at all. The agents smiled and wished me a pleasant trip. (One of the immigration agents was very good looking, I might add.)

Admirals Club, São Paulo
Spoiled brat that I am, I somehow anticipated Flagship dining. No.
But there was a nice bar, fruit, pastries, beans and rice, chicken curry, and pão de queijou. It wasn't a terribly comfortable space, but it was quiet, and the staff were all really nice.

The Premium Services/Five Star agents made sure that they would call ahead and find a quiet(er) time to board.

I'm still amazed at how many people are smiling in the AAdmirals Club. The staff are cheery and polite beyond comprehension.

Last edited by Mats; Dec 11, 19 at 6:25 am
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 11, 19, 6:53 am
  #11  
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
AA963
São Paulo/Guarulhos to Dallas/Fort Worth
777-300
Seat 1J

The Premium Services/Five Star agent picked me up and we walked down to the gate. She was in frequent communication with the gate staff so as to find a quiet time to board.

They do not use carts or limousines at Guarulhos, but it was not a long walk. And I was impressed by the new, spacious terminal. It's a world of difference from Terminal 2.

Once at the gate, we bypassed the crowd went through a series of doorways and lifts, which brought us close to the aircraft entrance. No need for creepy questions or foot swabbing (though the agent had to be wanded before she entered the airplane.)

On board, the same purser from the inbound flight, Deborah, was there to greet me. Hugs, a kiss on the cheek, and a warm welcome. Another crew member, a Swiss gentleman, came right over to say hi, and to say how happy they were to see me again. The first and business class crews shared some responsibilities, and each of them introduced themselves to the passengers in first class. They were genuine and thoughtful every step of the way.

The Captain was less welcoming. He blathered on about how American is a "proud participant in the Federal Air Marshall program," and that passengers who use the washrooms must be seated immediately upon exiting the washroom, and that the law blah blah blah criminal offenses blah blah. Is he studying to be an assistant principal at a lousy junior high school? Will they have a Pledge of AAllegiance?

To be fair, the first officer was cheerful and friendly, and we made brief small talk in the front galley.for

We made a speedy departure out of São Paulo, and headed off over Amazonas to Bucaranga, Colombia, the Cayman Islands, and the edge of the Yucatan. The flight was 1h10 shorter than planned(!)


Fool that I am, I left the menu on board. From my memory...

Slices of goats cheese with assorted jams and yucca toasts

Mixed greens with mango dressing

Potato and kale soup

Vegetable risotto
Hake
Beef
Chicken

Sundaes
Guava cheese tart
I had the risotto, which was amazing: it was full of fresh vegetables, not even slightly overcooked. I wasn't even sure if I was hungry, but I devoured it. I consider it impressive to produce such perfect vegetables on an airplane.

There were multiple passes of warm bread.

I slept until about two hours prior to arrival.
Breakfast was the same as the outbound (or at least almost the same). The fruit wasn't quite as good, which is strange for Brazil. But the bread, jam, and yoghurt were perfect. I once again knew better than to ask for "Fresh Brew" and had tea instead.

DFW
There was no queue at Global Entry. The agent asked if I had anything to declare, and that was it.
Bags took about 20 minutes or so, probably because all of the flights arrived at the same time.
There was some form of law enforcement officer making a big fuss of carrying a rifle around the Customs Hall. It must be hard to get through life trying to compensate for so much.

Grand Hyatt DFW
I remain a fan of the Grand Hyatt. One exits the Customs Hall and it seems to take just seconds to get to a room.
The only bummer is that they do not offer "day rates" or useful early arrival rates for those of us coming from South America. I had to pay for two nights, which made me unhappy. I think it was more frustrating because I couldn't get an answer out of them. I tried email, fax, and multiple phone calls until I finally reached a snippy phone agent who booked me for two nights (unapologetically). I called the hotel, mind you, not the central reservations number.

My bitterness mellowed once I got to a calm, quiet room with a big, cozy bed.

Above all, The Grand Hyatt has finally come to its senses and abandoned the revolting June Jacobs toiletries. Did enough people notice that they did not want to take a shower with soap that smelled like turnips and scallions, or whatever was in there? Sayonara, June. The new stuff is from Balmain.
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 13, 19, 6:05 am
  #12  
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,272
I dined at the "Grand Met Lounge." If you have not tried their ice cream, you should. I noticed another guest ordering it "to go."

I slept fitfully, but that happens with jetlag. At least the bed was quiet and comfortable.

I had plans for the next day to go to the gym, have a leisurely breakfast/lunch, and then take an early afternoon flight. Haha.
For inexplicable reasons, my patient schedule got booked! In other words, I was 825 miles away, and I had patients scheduled in about two hours. Adrenaline.

In a way, it worked out as best as one could expect: there was one seat left, and I snagged it with same day confirmed. (They used to charge a fortune for that, but I didn't pay anything.) This was actually a separate, paid segment from Dallas/Fort Worth to Tucson due to American's stopover rules. Since I only had minutes to spare, I didn't have time to negotiate a change in the award ticket, even if that would have been possible. It also meant forfeiting the extra $400 at the Hyatt, because I paid for two nights on account of my early arrival. Oh well. Life happens. Nobody died. First world issues.

AA2483
Dallas/Fort Worth-Tucson
737-800
Seat 3A

I checked in with no wait, and the agents were bubbly and smiling. Security was unobtrusive, mostly because two of the TSA staff were screaming at a woman who did not speak English. "No you can't do that!" they snapped. I guess the Dallas TSA stopped recruiting on pizza boxes and started looking for candidates at the SuperMax.

The flight was busy but the passengers seemed organized, and there were no snafus.

The breakfast/snack was either a turkey and cheese croissant or granola/fruit/greek yogurt. To me, this is still more substantial than what most US carriers would consider to be a snack. I give credit to American for using real crockery and a choice of options even though the flight is under two hours.

I drank "Fresh Brew" out of desperation. It wasn't that bad.

The crew seemed a little bored. I got to hear almost every word despite my noise-cancelling headsets. They had a lot of bones to pick about vacation time and their bid. "American is b****s****!" one of the exclaimed.

I jacked up the music and the noise cancelling for the credit card circus, and then we were at the top of descent.

Bags were extraordinarily fast, and I was in an Uber within five minutes.

I managed to maneuver my entire patient schedule such that no patients were inconvenienced. My eyes were red, I was unshaven, and my shirt looked weird. But I still made it to work.

Final Thoughts
American Airlines: extraordinarily good on this trip. No delays, enviably warm service on the international legs, quite good food, and very comfortable seats. No, there was no caviar, the liquor list is sad, but the rest was impressive. The crews defied stereotypes of American Airlines. In fact, several of my family members flew on United for the same trip; they were delayed by 24 hours, and they mentioned that the crews were exceptionally hostile and snippy--even without the delay.

Flagship Dining: a pretty fantastic benefit. The food was excellent and the service was top-notch. Also, Krug.

Five Star: an absolute pleasure. Warm and conscientious staff on the phone, by email, and at Guarulhos. They are so passionate about their jobs, and they seemed so happy to serve. It took away a great deal of stress. Worth every dime.

LATAM: okay, I guess. Nothing good or bad except the delay on the way back. LATAM was easy, and it was shockingly inexpensive. They didn't have the warmth or charm of Aerolíneas, but that was the only real difference.

Marriott São Paulo/Guarulhos: Meh. It's fine. The lounge is nice, the gym is nice. I'm not in a huge rush to go back. I slept pretty well there, so that's something.

Ipanema Inn: Terrific! Friendly, great location, and outstanding value for money. It's not really posh, so to speak, but it is clean, comfortable, and pleasant.

Grand Hyatt DFW: Beautiful room, excellent food, unparalleled convenience but I wish they had a "day rate" or similar (I only have "Discoverist" stats.) They also need to work on their communication by fax, phone, and email. But I have faith that they can work these problems out. Their ice cream remains exceptional.

Thanks once again for reading.
Até mais!
Mats is offline  
Old Dec 13, 19, 8:46 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco
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Posts: 5,399
Fun about the ice cream at the grand Hyatt dfw - which brand??? Maybe you can get it at home :-)
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Old Dec 13, 19, 10:22 am
  #14  
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gaobest They make their own! I think that's why it's so good.
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Old Dec 13, 19, 9:22 pm
  #15  
 
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Which ice cream flavors did you get?
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