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JJ SCL-GRU-SSA W/video + Photos  
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5656 times:

Finally a chance to try TAM, they airline that pretends to take some of LAN’s well earned prestige in Southamerican quality service.

It was going to be a lot of firsts: first TAM flight, First time in Brazil, first A330 flight, first F100 flight, etc…

SCL-GRU
TAM flight JJ8027 13:15
Airbus 330-200 PT MVC Seat 26E

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Photo © Jérôme Mervelet



I’m used to try LAN business counters at SCL, or at leat the pre-checked counters. I tried many times to make my web check in or at least try to reserve a seat, which I was unable. TAM call center personnel is really unprepared, I knew more about the subject than the guy that attended my call!
Anyway, the check in counter line was very slow for a while, but finally got into the counter. The guy there was great, one of the best “counterers” ever met. He gave us the emergency exit, and reserved very good seats for the next GRU-SSA flight.

Very few people know that near LAN business/first check in counters, there is this special immigration access, but I was not sure if that was open for every passenger or it was only LAN passengers service. While most of people were waiting in the regular immigration access, I had no troubles and went immediately to the gate 20 (when JJ usually uses the opposite wing of the international terminal, which confused me for a while).

Here starts some of the difference with LAN… at the gate, there were NO PERSONNEL ready to attend us, not even 1 minute before the boarding time told. Even worst, the screen over the gate announced a LA flight to COR, which never changed!

Well, after a delay of more than 20 minutes, we got to board. The aircraft was pretty nice at the interior, I was really impressed by business seats, much more pitch that LAN’s business (although LA offers first). I think it was a little “bad taste” of a very clean and nice aircraft to have the head rester covers sponsored by Price Waterhouse Coopers.

I can say that across all JJ flight, I had this weird sense of “we really don’t care much” from crew, although I can’t say there were rude, not at all, but there was some indifference towards passengers that called my attention. The safety instructions were very “informal”, like none really notice them. I actually don’t remember the video

We took off almost 30 minutes after planned. SCL-GRU flights used to take off to the south, and then turn right to cross the Andes. Our flight did it, but she turned left, so it crossed the Andes southern Santiago. The crossing was a little bumpy, but although you heard some of the passengers nervous, it wasn’t really bad. Flight was very smooth, with the typical occasional turbulence, specially over Argentina.

As for PTV’s, there were fine, although I prefer VOD and more variety as LA has. I watched King Kong, and the Spanish sound was really bad, so my mates had to watch it in English although they don’t speak it.

Before lunch, crew passed hot towels, it was fine indeed, very classy, and as I’m constantly making comparisons to LAN (since they both compete to each others in leading the region). I chose meat and rise. It wasn’t fine, meat was too dry and rise too spicy, almost sweet. The wine was awful. The dessert, which was some mousse was truly delicious!


We landed at Sao Paulo almost 3 hours and 10 minutes later…



Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport

We had to walk a lot. Immigration process was fine and kindly, and then walking again to baggage claim, as we were demanded to re-check our luggage, even when it was labelled to our final destination to Salvador.
We exit the nice duty free area, and went to terminal B. Total mess, such a hideous airport! How can anybody could vote for GRU as the best South American airport??? TAM counters were placed in a very narrow hall, international flights to the left and domestic to the right.
Portuguese and Spanish language are very similar, but you got some troubles when trying to understand Portuguese spoken in regular “Brazilian language” I was incredible amazed that JJ international counter personnel told me that they didn’t speak English! Our flight to SSA had NAT as final destination (which we didn’t know), and there was no board that told us about which was the right line: there was announced “Natal, Manaus and Fortaleza”, but no flight numbers. After hesitating a while, I try to recheck at the same counter where they told me that no English was spoken, and I did it…

Then, we went to an ATM to get local currency, outside to smoke and “be in Sao Paulo”, where we could take some “welcome” photos and went to the boarding halls. They are boooooooooring, no bar no place to really stay, just a tiny cafeteria and lot of seats to wait aircraft.
The best of GRU: Brazilians: so nice, kind, and gorgeous girl! Full of Brazilian tshirts!

Again, at boarding time, no one on the gate. LAN people used to be there at least 15 minutes in advance.

GRU - SSA
TAM flight JJ3156 20:50
Airbus 320 PR-MBA Seat 2A

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Photo © Juliano Damásio - AIRFLN



Another thing that I really liked of JJ was the “welcome party” standing at the door of the aircraft. Fast board, nice aircraft again, although I felt that pitch was tighter than usual. We took of on time, in a gorgeous flight, with moonlight and clear sky. We overflew Belo Horizonte, and got gorgeous views of the night of Brazil.

No IFE system on board, but I was tired enough for not caring. Funny how JJ people plays with cabin light: they turn on and off a lot of time, becoming actually annoying; dark take off, dark flight for a while, and when most of people was sleeping or relaxing (after the announced light reducing “for your comfort”), all the sudden they fully turned on the lights for snack, a hot cheese sandwich passed by hand (no tray). Light reduction again, and continue that nice flight. Landing at SSA after a little more than an hour. Note aside, how incredible beautiful f/a we got in that flight. Well, Brazilian women ARE gorgeous, I was stunned at GRU!

Nice airport! We did had troubles waiting at the luggage belt: they announced belt X and it only delivered 3 suitcases (including mine!), but later the rest of flight luggage appeared on belt Y. It took more than 1 hour to finally get out of SSA.

Besides, it took almost 1 ½ hours more to get to Costa do Sauipe, my final destination.

***********************
This report is getting too long, so I will write about the nasty F100 return later. I will also include a video of the Andes turbulence we faced!

All I can tell is to out Brazilian members that although I got to see so little, I loved your country! Your people! I love to watch a World Cup brazilian match in brazil and celebrated a goal as one of you…

See you soon…


in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5649 times:

Well, there is no point in no posting the video promised in the subject, is not like telling the end of a movie...




in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5227 times:

SSA - GRU
TAM flight JJ3869 02:25
Fokker 100 PT-MRH Seat 9B

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Photo © Everton Machado



Such a nightmare flight, mostly due to the F100 and the time of the flight.
Well, I was not in a very good mood about this flight since I knew I had to stay in GRU for more than 4 hours.
I arrived about 11.30 pm to Magalhaes airport, which was mostly closed. SSA is actually nice, not very big but not a small. It has many stores, unfortunately besides some fast food places and a café, most of stores were closed. I had to go outside for smoking a while. The other problem about my “mood” was the fact that the night before, since it was my last night/day in Brazil, I slept less than 3 hours… At the counter, they offered us to board immediately in a A330 flight to GRU just leaving, but since we has to wait for another pax we couldn’t take the offer. We couldn’t get any emergency seat, not even for the GRU-SCL flight
Well, one more time aircraft delayed. One more time no JJ personnel at the gate for us, so it was a jungle; you just didn’t know.
I’ve always called F100 “dragonfly”, and it is… what a nasty aircraft! Boarding (finally) was OK. I had a cold, so climbing and descending really hurt my ears.
Flight was smooth about weather, but very uncomfortable: after a dark take off, and when most of the people was trying to sleep in the tiny seats which almost don’t recline, the suddenly lighted up the cabin for snaking: some biscuits and cold drinks. I think thay waking up people for such snack at 3 in the morning was unnecessary. Crew was kind though. Then the part I enjoyed the most, the pilot welcomed us, explained the route and told us the flight was about to last almost 1 hour longer than our outbound flight.
But what I likes was him telling us as last words: “the night is full of stars (“a noite esta estrelada”), enjoy the flight”. Wasn’t that nice?

I slept almost nothing again, and arrival in Sao Paulo. One more time I hated GRU: ALL CLOSED, INCLUDED TAM COUNTERS! And we had to get some stamp in the boarding pass. So we had to wait for 2 hours doing nothing for them to open.
After that, as soon as we were ready, we pass immigration and costume, to get to the gate. One more time only a cafeteria and very uncomfortable seats for waiting another 2 hours

GRU - SCL
TAM flight JJ8026 08:05
Fokker 100 PT-MVF Seat 37A


Of course, flight delayed and at boarding time nobody on the gate. It wasn’t too long, though.
After we boarded I almost fainted (I was that tired). I actually woke up with the roar of the engines on the head of the runway for take off.
Once in the air a very nice flight. I asked for a pillow and cover since there were not placed In the seats. The temperature was very low, so when I found them in one of the bins, most passengers asked me for one. Even so, the f/a came to my seat with another one, since she didn’t notice that I already had one. Very kind of her…
The flight for me was a permanent sleep-awake state. I “watched” Narnia at my PTV, as you can see in the turbulence video.
I had a sort of brunch, with chicken and rise, wine and juice. Good portion, nice food, although it was far of being the best I’ve tasted.
The flight lasted 4 hours. Close to The Andes it became a little turbulent, although we where “prepared” for something worst or so you got form all the instructions form the crew.
They sprayed us with a very strong insecticide for “preventing Chile’s Phytozoosanitary Patrimony”. I think I can still smell that odour…
I guess an Airbus 330 pressurises much better than a F100, because the flu didn’t bothered my ears during the whole flight…

As a resume, It was a pleasure to fly TAM and visit Brazil, both my fist time. Would I recommend JJ? Yes, but nothing to die for. It’s not the best airline of South America, I even got better attention in SCL-CCP of Sky airline in Chilean domestic flights.
Compared to LA? I think it’s better LA, but not that much…
GRU? I thought MAD has the worst airport you could try, but GRU is competing really hard…

O Brigado Brasil, hope we’ll meet again soon!



in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
User currently offlineHALFA From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1354 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5209 times:

Arcano,

Thanks for writing your report, I enjoyed reading it. I am a frequent visitor to Brasil and have flown with TAM on many occasions and all of my flights were on time. You must have had bad luck with your late flights!
I agree with your comments about GRU. I was quite surprised that GRU was voted best airport in South America, as I think Santiago's airport is much nicer. GRU is improving though IMO.
I have been to Costa Do Sauipe twice, first time was a week at the Marriott, and last year was a week at the Renaissance. Did you enjoy your stay there? Where did you stay? I love it there.
Thanks again for writing,

Aloha,
HALFA



Don't mess with Texas....We just may do that!
User currently offlineTR763 From Brazil, joined Mar 2001, 775 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5124 times:

Arcano,

Very nice TR!
Have you noticed AVOD IFE on your flight back to SCL? Yes, MVF/G/H/K/L have this feature!
Thank you very much for enjoting the Brazilians and your trip to Bahia, although you had to pass thru GRU which is really an awful airport. But wasn´t EZE considered the best of South America? Because I went there in february and look what I´ve seen:
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a174/hoanes/EZE1.jpg

Quoting Arcano (Reply 2):
O Brigado Brasil, hope we’ll meet again soon!

Obrigado você! Hope you feel like coming back soon!

Best Regards
TR763



Transbrasil
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4910 times:

Quoting HALFA (Reply 3):
You must have had bad luck with your late flights!

I guess, after all all airlines faces delay from time to time. What actually bothered me was to see nobody, as no one cared!

Quoting HALFA (Reply 3):
I was quite surprised that GRU was voted best airport in South America



Quoting TR763 (Reply 4):
But wasn´t EZE considered the best of South America?

I think the "best XXX" depends a lot of who makes the poll and who answer. I don't think an airport or an airline can be truly and undeniable chosen as best of their category, as it will always depend.

EZE??? that airport where to pay in advance the tax is a sin, and when you go to pay for it thay say "we accept visa, no mastercard"??? Have you checked the waiting area? The AR terminal?

See? I don't think someone could certainly declare an airport as "best"

Quoting HALFA (Reply 3):
Did you enjoy your stay there? Where did you stay?

It was great, though very rainy, Gorgeous place! I stayed at Breezes

Quoting TR763 (Reply 4):
Hope you feel like coming back soon!

I hope! AFAIK, my next destination is CUZ, next september.

Thanks for your comments

)(



in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4807 times:

Quoting Arcano (Reply 2):
I slept almost nothing again, and arrival in Sao Paulo. One more time I hated GRU: ALL CLOSED, INCLUDED TAM COUNTERS! And we had to get some stamp in the boarding pass. So we had to wait for 2 hours doing nothing for them to open.

Very interesting trip report, and useful for me, as next week I will arrive in GRU (and Brasil) for the first time.
I am supposed to arrive from Lima at 03:45 (middle of the night!) and leave to VIX, with TAM, at 05:25.
At what time did you arrive to find everything closed? The schedule of your flight says 04:45, so I will be in the same desert than you!
I hope immigration and customs are opened at 3:45, I have less than 2 hours between the flights, and if I miss the 05:25 flight I would have to change airport in Sao Paulo.



Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4624 times:

Quoting TR763 (Reply 4):
Have you noticed AVOD IFE on your flight back to SCL? Yes, MVF/G/H/K/L have this feature

Indeed, although I missed the fact that the movie can't be paused, advanced or rewinded as other VOD system. It was much metter than the other IFE of the first flight, though

Quoting TGV (Reply 6):
At what time did you arrive to find everything closed?

I know it's a little late for answering, but for the record, TAM conters for international flights (terminal B) opened at 6 am.

Regards )(



in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
User currently offlineTGV From France, joined Dec 2004, 874 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4511 times:

Quoting Arcano (Reply 7):
I know it's a little late for answering, but for the record, TAM conters for international flights (terminal B) opened at 6 am.

Thanks anyway !

Had not problem at all with my arrival at 03.45.
I am busy writing a trip report, the first part (CCS-BOG-GYE) is already posted, next part will come soon with the GRU connection.



Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
User currently offlineMD11junkie From Argentina, joined May 2005, 3148 posts, RR: 57
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4381 times:

Quoting Arcano (Reply 5):
EZE??? that airport where to pay in advance the tax is a sin, and when you go to pay for it thay say "we accept visa, no mastercard"??? Have you checked the waiting area? The AR terminal?

It's not a sin. It's a problem between airlines and the airport consortium. That made the government turn all fares in cash and to the airports accounts. No more problems for them - but that's where problem for us start  Sad

I think airlines should get a grip, specially IB, AR, RG and LA (so I've heard), and pay the real amount due.

Anyway - good trip report Arcano. Nice to see you had an ugly bias against the F100 worsened by your bad mood.  Yeah sure Big grin

Enjoyed reading it.

A ver cuando nos vemos acá!

Cheers! wave 
Gastón - The MD11junkie



There is no such thing as Boeing vs Airbus as the queen of the skies has three engines, winglets and the sweetest nose!
User currently offlineArcano From Chile, joined Mar 2004, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4235 times:

Quoting MD11junkie (Reply 9):
It's a problem between airlines and the airport consortium

Indeed, its a real pain to have to make the line, and then they tell you they even don't accept mastercard...

EZE has benn upgraded a lot. The departure level is very beautifulk, but I honest and humbly think EZE is not a great airport at all, and Buenos Aires deserves more...

Quoting MD11junkie (Reply 9):
F100 worsened by your bad mood

Come on, that pitch twists everybody's mood...

Quoting MD11junkie (Reply 9):
A ver cuando nos vemos acá!

I have no plan for Buenos Aires. Next september I'm going to Cusco -never been there so very exited- I hope i'll do another report. Too bad I'm booked in 320s for SCL-LIM and LIM-SCL  Sad

If finances go well, I hope to be in Buenos Aires next march (although there is also a plan for visiting Australia and Hong Kong in march, in that case it will be may-june)

Saludos



in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773 and 380
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