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Trip Report -- The Never Ending Odyssey: Gol to Curitiba

3531 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  StreetView
My previous trip report, which covers the CWB-GRU flight:

Flight: G3 1847
Aircraft: Boeing 737-76N reg. PR-GOE
From: São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU/SBGR)
To: Curitiba Afonso Pena International Airport (CWB/SBCT)
STD: 18:10 / Actual: 18:51
ETA: 19:20 / Actual: 19:49
Gate: 17A, Terminal 2
Seat: 9F

Continuing my journey, it was time to go back to Curitiba. I took a taxi from the hotel to Congonhas Airport and where I took the Gol bus to Guarulhos International. On my inbound trip I took the same bus, but going on the other direction and it took me 63 minutes to get from one airport to the other. However, this time the trip was much quicker, and I was at Guarulhos International about 45 minutes after I had left Congonhas.

It was about 16:10 when I arrived at the airport, so I went straight to the check in counters. When I got there, I saw there were lines everywhere and they were all very long. However, none of the self check in machines were being used, so I tried to use one of them. I did everything all right, but when I got to the ID number step, the machine wouldn't accept my driver's license. It was ubelievable. For the record, my DL was already registered in Gol's system from a previous flight that I took and the number even poped up without need for me to type it in. Strike number 1 for Gol.

So, the self check in machine wouldn't accept my ID, so I obviously headed to a counter to be checked in by an agent. There were three different lines for check in: a priority lane for elder citizens, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and status members; a general line; a third line, with no signs specifying what passengers should go there. I got to the end of the general line and a Gol agent directs me to the third line. Since it was much shorter than the general line and I would be number 6 in that line, I thought it would be a good deal. I only thought so, because it wasn't. I was waiting in that line for about 25 minutes until it was my turn to be checked in. Unacceptable, given that there were so few in line, compared to the other queue. Plus, when it was my turn to be checked in, it took the agent less than two minutes to do that. That's strike number 2, Gol: the slowest check in ever, and a line that move one person each four minutes.

Landside pictures of terminal 2

Entrance to the security checkpoints at terminal 2

More landside pictures of terminal 2

The observation deck at terminal 2 -- a very rare feature in many airports these days

After finally checking in, it was time to clear security, which was very easy and quick without any lines. Once airside, I roamed about the terminal to take some pictures and see if there was anything interesting going on. The terminal looked very empty and there were no flights leaving immediatly from the domestic gates. I proceeded to gate 15, where my flight was supposed to leave from, and is also the same gate where I arrived three days earlier. When I got there, I found out that my flight would now be leaving from gate 17A, which is a bus gate. Needless to say, I don't really like bus gates, but it's interesting sometimes, because we can see the aircraft from the ground. The lounge for gate 17A is shared with gates 17B and 17C, so it was very crowded because the three gates were being used at the same time. I wonder why they do that. Upstairs, the jetway gates are much nicer, with roomier lounges, concessions and all of that and were all empty, not being used, so why have boarding for three flights in the same area, which is very restricted and small? I really don't understand that. I'll give this as strike number three for Gol.

An empty gate 15, where I had arrived a few days earlier and where my flight was supposed to leave from

Overview of the airside domestic area of terminal 2

Gates 21 and 21A are swing gates, so they can handle both domestic and international flights

The glass wall is movable, allowing international passengers enter the lounge by gates 21 and 21A when international flights depart from there

Note the door that gets closed when international passengers are boarding via gates 21 and 21A

A peek into terminal 2's international area

Sterile corridor for arrivals. Note the door that gets closed when international flights arrive at gates 21 and 21A

Down to gates 17

A crowded lounge at gates 17

At about 18:05 the gate agents started calling passengers for boarding. I guess I don't have to say that we would be late... the flight was supposed to leave at 18:10 and boarding started at 18:05, so what do you guys think? Interestingly enough, however, is that the flight information displays were still showing flight G3 1847 as "on time". Anyway, boarding was very quick because they shuttled us to a remote stand and passengers could enter the aircraft using front doors or rear doors and at about 18:30 doors were closed. Ready to go? No! The captain makes an annoncement saying that as far as he was concerned, the aircraft was ready, but ground handlers were still loading the aircraft and it would take another 15 minutes or so. Or so it was. Pushback was at 18:51 and at that time all traffic was arriving and departing from runways 27R and 27L, but when we finally pushbacked they the tower changed all arrivals and departures to runways 27L and 27R. We took off from runway 27L, right after a LH 747-400 and a TP A330-200.

In-flight was pretty uneventful and service was the usual Gol standard: a soft drink and two cookies, but this time they also gave us a peanut candy. We had a very short turbulence, but nothing to worry about. We landed in Curitiba safely, as expected, arriving at the gate at 19:49. After deplaning, I went to baggage claim and after less than five minutes the bags were coming out.

Deplaning in Curitiba. Note the airline agent at the end of the jetway. I think it's weird that many Brazilian airports don't have transfers desks yet passengers get to a sterile corridors when they deplane, so that they have to talk to an agent if they are connecting to another flight

Sterile corridor to baggage claim -- yes, we have to go through sterile corridors even when we are deplaning from a domestic flight

Down to baggage claim

This is rather interesting

Baggage claim in Curitiba

Overall, the experience was ok and nothing more than that. In flight service doesn't bring any surprises or disappointments -- you get exactly and you pay for. Ground services, however, are lacking in quality, not to mention that I don't remember taking a Gol flight that left on time and arrived on the scheduled time. That's definitely a point where Gol should put their efforts to improve its services.
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