Ricardomexico From Mexico, joined Nov 2002, 109 posts, RR: 2 Posted (10 years 10 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7546 times:
I wish to dedicate this trip report to a Brazilian friend in Sao Paulo, a very nice guy and also an airliner fan. Claudio, Hope your B777 experience with Alitalia had been as good as mine was with your home airline!, sorry that I only had the chance to publish this report until now…
When AF began using the B777 in its flights to MEX (few years ago), I saw it as a big chance to accomplish my first B777 flight on this route…but it did not happen, neither with AF nor with any other airline (nowadays AF returned to use the 747 on this route).
I red several trip reports about this aircraft, and every time my wish to fly on the B777 was increasing.
Finally my wish came true…During the last months I was often flying the route MEX-GRU-MEX (most of the times with AM). This year while I was in Sao Paulo I heard that RG would be adding more B777 to its fleet and will use temporarily one of those on its flights to MEX. I got more than happy with that wonderful news and saw it as a real chance to live the 777 experience. Actually it was supposed to be my very last trip to GRU before I go back definitely to Mexico City, since my work assignment in Sao Paulo was finishing, so I would be allowed by my company to fly on business class on the route GRU-MEX, so I got my reservation with RG scheduled as follows:
MEX-GRU Apr 29 on a B777 coach class,
GRU-MEX Jun 4th on a MD-11 business class.
I did not like too much the idea that that the outbound flight would not be in a 777, however some days later I was told that I could change my inbound flight to MEX to May 17th. I checked in the RG site on the internet and got more than happy when I saw that RG would still be using the B777 on May 17th. I got my flight changed to be supposedly flown on business class…but once again, destiny changed for better!….you will see…
Date: April 29, 1994
Departure: MEX (Mexico City)
Arrival: GRU (Sao Paulo, Guarulhos)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
It was a nice day and I was really excited, it would be my first flight on the B777. I usually fly to Sao Paulo with AM but this time would be special, would be my second flight to GRU with RG and of course, would be one of my most memorable flights. Check-in at MEX was very fast, no people waiting in the line, I asked for a window seat but there was none available, neither an aisle seat, so I got one in the very middle, but this time did not care. I spent a few time walking and having a coffee and anxiously waiting for boarding. Finally we were asked to board at gate 19-B (we would be boarding by using a movil lounge to get into the aircraft). While we were conducted to the plane, I saw that the a damaged RG MD-11 was still in the MX maintenance area. Then the RG B777 appeared in my sight! Wonderful aircraft with the new paint scheme of RG, now I had no doubt that I would be flying in the B777.
When I got in the aircraft I got more impressed, the interior was fabulous, as I had seen before in many pictures. I promised to another good friend to give him a call once I were inside, so I did it, and let him know my impressions, he wanted to know if they also have the individual LCD on every seat: Affirmative!
Once inside, I moved to the very last row and waited stand up to all seats be occupied. I asked a flight attendant to tell me if any window or row seat was left empty when boarding finishes. When doors where closed I realized that no window nor row seats were available, with the only exception of 41A and B. A guy occupied seat 41B, then I took 41A. I think the plane was 80% full on coach and 60% on business, I do not remember about the first class section. It was nice that in the welcome announcements it was in the name of Varig, Star Alliance and Mexicana since it was a codeshared flight with Mexicana. At 19:47 the plane was pushed back and at 20:08 we took-off. I was excited watching the route in my seat LCD. At 20:15 we were flying close to Popocatepetl volcano (the second tallest volcano in Mexico).
When dinner began to be served, the guy next to me decided to go back to his original seat, so I was going to have both seats only for me. Dinner was served and I got the beef with vegetables and a cup of red wine.
I saw on the display that at 12:28 AM we were crossing the Costa Rica – Panama border by the Pacific side. I saw the movie “Something’s gotta give” with Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and Amanda Peet. After that I tried to see another film (Paycheck with Ben Affleck) but I was so tired that I slept for a long time.
I was woken up by the breakfast movement, I got coffee, fruit and bread. Then I filled out the forms for immigration and customs and wait for landing.
We landed at 6:37 AM and were in the gate terminal at 6:45. This is actually one of the first RG flights arriving at GRU. I enjoyed so much this flight that I was waiting to try it again in my outbound flight in Business class.
Date: May 17, 2004
Departure: GRU (Sao Paulo, Guarulhos)
Arrival: MEX (Mexico City)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
This day I slept only a few hours, since I had spent the weekend in Iguazu Falls, from where I had just arrived the night before (by the way I flew GRU-IGU with TAM, IGU-CWB Varig, and CWB-CGH with TAM, and the service with both TAM and RG was good. Iguazu Falls is one of the most wonderful places I have enver been). Thus I only slept a few hours since I had to do my baggage. I put everything inside the rented car I had in Sao Paulo and went to sleep. In the moorning I did checkout in the appartment where I was staying and drove to Guarulhos. Once I arrived to GRU area I went to the gas station and then to drop the car. Then I was taken to the terminal and stayed in line for the Business class counter, it was a long wait since there were only 2 open counters, but I did not complained, I was happy to return to my country and at the same time I felt sad for leaving Sao Paulo after 9 months...
When my turn in the check-in counter came, I put all my luggage in the scale, and gave my ticket and passport to the attendant. After she checked my papers she saw the weight of my luggage and very scared she told me that I was allowed to carry only 30 kg in business class, and I had to pay a lot since I was carrying more than 80 kg. I asked her if the bike had a standard price per piece and she was not sure, so she went to ask and it took more than 10 minutes, I did like it but I did not complain nor got desperated since I was very happy waiting for my 777 experience in business class and already knew that any charge for over-weight would be payed for my company. Finally when she came back she told me in a very polite way that the bike was charged by kilo, but considering that I had a business class ticket and she really wanted me to fly again with Varig, she was going to give me an upgrade to first class so I were allowed to carry more luggage.. I never expected that answer and such wonderful gift and did my best not to celebrate this like a child in that moment I said to the lady : „Oh, thank you very much! Of course I will fly again with Varig“ and at the end she only asked me to pay for 30 kilograms (about 300 dollars wich was worthy to fly in first class even if my company had not payed for it). Then I asked the nice lady to charge the fight miles in my Mexicana FTP (By the way, this RG flight is codeshared with Mexicana). After paying the over-luggage I got my ticket and the lady asked me to wait in the executive lounge.
I wen to exchange my brazilian money „reales“ for dollars and it took a long time, almost half hour. You are asked for your brazilian ID or the recipe you got at the time you exchanged your foreign currency into reales, and the cashier fills a lot of information in the computer. After this I went to the post office and sent some letters and postcards to some friends and bought some pieces of cheesse bread for a mexican friend. Then I decided to wait the last minutes in the executive lounge. This lounge had nothing special but I was able to take a cup of the delicous brazilian coffe, juice and fruit. Later I realized I had been waiting in the domestic executive lounge, so I think the international lounge would be better. Then I decided to make some final shopping in the duty free store, so I passed the immigration control, and bought some stuff in the duty free store. Now it was time to board my plane, so I went to gate 27 where the plane was already being boarded. Once on the plane, I saw that business class seats were vey nice but my seat was much better. Business class was almost full but we were only three people in first. The seats were very comfortable and the interior of the 777 is very nice and relaxing, above all travelling in first..
Once on board your receive as a gift a nice travel kit with several products „La Essenza“ brand for relaxation and aroma therapy.
Welcome announcements were done in portuguese and english, and once again it was nice that it was in the name of Varig, Star Alliance and Mexicana (At this time, MX was not anymore a member of Star Alliance but remains an agreement with RG).
The printed menu for first class showed a picture of several guavas, one of my favourite fruits and aroma. The design of the menu is a Varig tribute to the works of Brazilian Poet Jorge Amado and the fruits of Brazil „all priceless aspects of the nation´s rich heritage“. Once again it was very nice that the printed menu has the MX logo and the legend „This fligt is codeshared with Mexicana (logo)“. In the menu there are several options for lunch and snacks but not all of them are available. It also has some legends to show the selections that contain fewer calories, and the options „that helps the body to adapt to long trips, minimizing the jet lag effect“. The Wine list is attached to the menu and contains a „selection of wines from the most prestigious regions of the Old and New World“ with the following sections: Champagnes, White wines (from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal), Red Wine (from Argentina, Chile, Spain, France and Italy), Whiskies, Beers, Beverages, Cognac and Liqueurs, Aperitifs, Port Wine.
My selection for luch was as follows:
- Mixed Nuts
- Caviar from the Caspian Sea
- Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella and basil
- Soup, cream of asparagus
- Main dish, Grilled Tournedo complemented by tomato risotto and creamed Shiitake mushroom
- Apple pie with honey and vanilla sauce (good but I did not expect it was cold)
- Red wine, Danzante Merlot from Italy.
The food was very good and the only one thing that I did not like was that the apple pie was cold. But in the other side I found very nice that the salt and pepper containers were designed to represent the famous „pao do azucar“ from Rio.
After lunch I was asked if I would like to see a film. Actually I was not in mood to see any film since I felt tired, anyway I checked the menu for films and choosed „Rio de Jano“ in english. The f.a. went for it and asked me that it was only available in portuguese/french, I said „it’s ok“. „Rio de Jano“ is a documentary that records the impressions of Jano, a French artist who did a visit to Rio in 2000 „The result of that trip is an album which has become a reference point for observers of contemporary Rio...offering a razor-sharp vision of the city’s otherwise well documented contrasts between wealth and poverty, joy and violence“. I liked this interesting documentary and it is presented with stories of people from Rio mixed with drawings of those people.
After watching the film I decided to rest and sleep. I slept for several hours cause I was very tired of the last weekend and the first class seat helped a lot. Actually the seat did not get totally reclined as a bed, but it was really comfortable.
Before arriving to Mexico City we were served a hot snack, my choice was the following: .
- Selection of cheeses
- Smoked salmon and alouete cheese on rye toast
- Grape tartlet
- Apple juice
The landing announcements were done and even though I was enjoyin this flight I was really anxious to arrive to Mexico City. The landing was perfect, on time and enjoyable .
Pzurita1 From Greenland, joined Sep 2002, 1404 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 7186 times:
I guess we all would like to get upgrades like the one you got!!!!
Nice report. By reading it I could easily feel your excitment about getting into a 777. I felt the same when I was inside a CX 340-600 en route to HKG.
Though you have been to Mexico since May, I can say: Welcome back.
Ricardomexico From Mexico, joined Nov 2002, 109 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 15 hours ago) and read 7051 times:
Thanks for the comments on my report.
XA744...Yes hopefully some day I will fly in a B777 with AM
PZ: It would also be great to fly in the 340-6 some day, every time I try a new plane or airlines is allways exciting. I still have not got the chance to try the AM's 737-7 or the ERJ's with Aerolitoral, but in the other side, I think I tried all the AM's 767 while I was in Sao Paulo. Thanks for the welcome, certainly I came back in May, but still flew again one more time to GRU in June for a couple of weeks, that time with AM getting upgrade to "clase premier". Obviously the seats and entertainment in first class with RG are better than in the AM's 767, but I recognize the warm and attentive service of its personnel in "clase premier" in the long-haul flights.
Hardiwv From Brazil, joined Oct 2004, 8780 posts, RR: 46
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6831 times:
Well done, Ricardo! Will try to book RG from AMS to GRU in my next trip to Brazil!
Question: RG has been operating a daily service from AMS to GRU (quick stop-over in CDG) with a 777-200 over the last few years. However, I noticed that from October RG is now using a MD-11. Anyone knows the reason for this?? It seems rather strange to put back into service the older MD-11!!
Ricardomexico From Mexico, joined Nov 2002, 109 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6751 times:
Thanks for your comments Hardiwv. Hope that you fly next time to GRU with RG from AMS. I do not know why RG will be using the MD-11 instead of the 777 but I think it could be temporary just like when RG used the 777 in its flights to MEX...and let me tell you one more news: I just saw in the mexican site of RG (www.varig.com.mx) that RG announces the use of the 777 again in its flights to Mexico City, begining september 20 every day of the week but thursday and saturday (those two days will be in a MD-11).
My first flight with RG from MEX to GRU was in a 767 and I thought that they were newer than the MD-11, but I remember that I saw in a brazilian magazine that the Varig fleet of 767 was older than the MD-11.
I also know that Varig Maintenance Company -VEM (Varig Engenharia e Manuntencao)- receives MD-11 from other airlines for maintenance, like Malaysian Airlines...so enjoy your flight and hope you fly the 777.