Maybe it should be "South American
trip" . But as I started like that, I keep it!
Part 1 is at CCS-BOG-GYE (Part 1 Of A South America Trip) (by TGV Jul 30 2006 in Trip Reports)
I arrived at GYE airport at 14:35.
GYE Departure hall
There was only one person waiting in line for the LAN Peru flight, so check-in was very fast.
The agent was very friendly. He considered my itinerary with some surprise, and explained he could check my luggage to GRU, but could give me a boarding pas to LIM only.
He issued a boarding pass with an aisle seat, but when I asked for a window seat he issued another one, in an exit row.
Immigration was easy, as well as the safety check. And so in less than 10 minutes I was in the boarding area, where there was a fair number of people, but many free seats nevertheless.
Departing flights. Note the delay for Santa Barbara! I had initially thought of taking this airline, good idea not having done that!
It is interesting to note that there is a new terminal building built: it will be opened to service on Aug. 7th for domestic flights and Aug 13 th for international flights. So I will not elaborate more on the existing facilities.
See Guayaquil's New Enhanced Terminal (by Mariscal35 Jul 28 2006 in Civil Aviation)
The new terminal:
The name of the airport will be changed from Simon Bolivar to Joaquin de Olmedo.
As CCS is also named Simon Bolivar, I was one of the last persons able to spend half a day just to travel between Simon Bolivar Airport and Simon Bolivar Airport.
Flight LP 631 GYE-LIM
Scheduled 17:05 / 18:55
Real 16:58 / 18:48
Boarding was by bus, and by row numbers, and started at 16:16.
But as rows were called starting by the end of the plane, and as the first bus left when they had already called the third group, the thing was not perfect: people called first, and therefore supposed to board first, were in fact at the back of the bus, not in a good location to board first. "Les derniers seront les premiers!". I took the second bus.
The bus trip gave a good view on some "locals"
Both doors were used for boarding.
Front door boarding
I settled in my exit row seat, with a lot of legroom, of course. The cabin attendant gave me a special safety card for the exit door operation.
Doors were closed at 16:58, with a load factor of around 30%. We pushed back at 16:59. During the cabin check the purser asked me if I had been told about the safety exit.
We taxied and, after a small wait, took off at 17:11.
The collation service started at 17:25. The service was efficient, but not very smiling.
The collation was composed of a hot (and quite tasty) sandwich with ham, cheese and tomato, and of fruits.
The descent commenced soon afterwards the tray collection, and we landed at 18:45, with the arrival at the gate at 18:48.
Disembarking was fast, as there were few passengers leaving the flight (which continues to SCL).
After passing a safety check I enquired of the transfer desk, to get my boarding pass for the next flight. I was told to go to the gate, where this would be done.
I had a ticket for flight JJ8461 which appeared nowhere on the screens. Fortunately I knew it would be operated by TACA Peru (it was mentioned on my itinerary, but without any flight number), so I found the correct gate but comparing airline, destination and time. Strangely other codeshare flights (IB with BA to MAD, KL with AF and AZ to AMS) had each a special line on the screens. But not JJ8461, obviously less famous!
I went to the gate immediately (gate located at the ground floor level, for embarking by bus). There was not any agent in sight so I left to wander a little in the airport, very well lit, and very busy at this time of the day.
Duty free area
There is one bar / restaurant in the gate area. I went there to drink something and ordered a papaya juice. But after 10 minutes at the counter, without any juice in sight, but having noticed that a customer arrived after me had receive his juice already, I left, without waiting more, anxious to go back to the gate, and with the hope to be able to get a window seat in exchange of my pre reserved aisle seat.
Flight TA 028 / JJ 8461 LIM-GRU (operated by TA)
A 320 N487TA
Scheduled 21:10 / 03:45
Real 21:09 / 03:43
The gate agent arrived at 19h55. She kept my ticket and passport, as she was not able to issue the boarding pass immediately. My request for a window seat was received with a peremptory "the flight is full", without checking anything.
And when I asked if my FF flyer number was in the system, as AFKL has an agreement with JJ, the agent told me: "this is a TACA flight". I emphasized that I had a JJ ticket, but this did not change anything. Obviously she was not at least interested in what I was saying.
As I was waiting, seated at some meters of the desk, another passenger discussed with the agent, and was not happy: he left saying "esta compania es pesima" (this airline is very bad).
After some time another high voice discussion happened between the agent and a passenger, connecting from a KLM flight, regarding its checked baggage.
So there were problems at the gate, and it seems the solutions were not very satisfactory for the passengers!
I was called at the desk to receive my boarding pass for the originally assigned aisle seat (could have been worst, with a middle seat!), and I started to prepare myself for a difficult (and short) night.
My boarding pass was mentioning TA 028 ALSO JJ 8461, and a boarding time of 19h30, totally stupid for a 21h10 flight (furthermore I received it at 20:15!).
At 20:34 the boarding started for Business Class and Elite passengers. Others passengers were requested to remain seated as the boarding was by row numbers. But afterwards they called row 4 to 25, which must be the whole economy cabin.
A line formed, with one agent checking the passport, and another boarding passes.
Boarding was by bus, a first left with Business and some Economy passengers, then a second bus that I boarded. The bus filled entirely, and it was the driver who had to attract the attention of the gate agent on this fact. Another bus was waiting behind. And it remained only a handful of passengers at the gate.
The bus trip was short, and we boarded the plane by both doors, under a light rain.
The cabin was a little chaotic, and I found a girl in my seat. When I showed her my BP she moved two rows, apparently to her original seat.
Luggage bins were very full, as a lot of people had large "hand"-carry. The crew had to disembark some, giving receipts to the passengers.
This should have been made at the gate, at they knew the flight was full.
To summarize a boarding quite badly managed by the ground staff.
The seat was quite comfortable, with adequate pitch.
We pushed back at 21:09, while some people were still changing seats. I had to stand up, at the request of a cabin attendant, to enable the person in the window seat to exchange its seat with somebody else; it is not often you are standing in a plane moving on the ground, at the request of the cabin crew.
After a fairly long taxi, we took off at 21:22.
At 21:30 there was an announcement indicating that chips and drinks would be served, but that more consistent meals had a 5 USD cost.
At 21:37 immigration forms were distributed. The meal service started at 22:00, and was finished at 23:00, as they passed twice for the drinks.
The cabin lights were (FINALLY!) dimmed at 23:08.
During the first part of the trip there was a lot of turbulence, but it calmed down afterwards.
At 01:15 (03:15 GRU time), lights were abruptly switched on, and a very loud announcement was made, indicating that we were starting our descent.
Landing was at 03:34, and we were at the gate at 03:43.
The safety cabin check before landing was minimal, as I had in fact my seatback reclined during all the landing phases. I was not yet fully awake!
After some walking I arrived to the yellow fever check counter, where 5 persons were waiting at the only desk opened. But the process was quick, and I passed in 2 minutes.
Then I waited for the sole immigration agent, with the same 5 persons in front of me. The first four were quickly processed, but the man just before me apparently had a problem and after 5 minutes a supervisor, who was checking the process, moved to a second desk and called me there. He processed me in 1 minute, and I reached the baggage carrousel at 4:00. My suitcase was already there.
After passing the customs, unmanned, I took the stairs to the first floor, and walked to terminal 1. The terminal was quite deserted at this time of the night, of course.
Five check-in desks for TAM domestic flights were manned, as you can see it was quite sufficient!
I was attended immediately by a young woman who said something to her supervisor before checking me in, entering a lot of data in the computer including the ticket number and giving me the window I requested.
She then told me (some difficulties of communication as she spoke only Portuguese, no English/Spanish/French) that all my reservations had been cancelled, and that I should check with my travel agency. I pointed out that at this time of the night it would not be easy to contact a travel agency in CCS. She then told me to go to the ticket office nearby. There a lady checked and told me (stil the same communication problems) there was no problem but that I had in fact a reservation for a 22:15 flight to VIX this day!
Even though my printed ticket, my printed itinerary given by the travel agency, and my printed itinerary made using virtuallythere.com all mentioned the 05:25 flight!
I could not get a clear explanation of what exactly happened, and why this information. I had called Lan Peru in GYE to reconfirm, but they had told me this was not necessary, and in fact my GYE-LIM and LIM-GRU flight did not pose any problem. So why this doubt now? It will remain a mystery, as all continuing flights would not pose any reservation problem.
Flight JJ 3364 GRU-VIX
Scheduled 05:25 / 06:50
Real 05:36 / 07:03
I arrived at the gate at 04:45. No flight was mentioned on the gate screen, but as some people were there I waited with them. The flight appeared on the screen at 04:52.
The time passed quickly, as I was busy writing this report, in order not to fall asleep, and boarding was called at 05:28. The captain was greeting the passengers at the door (I have yet to decide if I find this a good idea: would not he be better in his cockpit double checking everything?).
Boarding was finished at 05:34, with a 60% load factor.
I had seat 20E, just before the engine.
The cabin was clean but the seat comfort was not excellent. Especially when the person in front reclined! This is a short flight, but my night had been a little difficult!
The door was closed at 05:36, and candies were offered by the cabin crew. We pushed back at 05:40, and information was given, but only in Portuguese. We took-off at 05:51, after waiting some time at the runway end, until another aircraft landed.
After take off we were offered a light breakfast, very sufficient and quite eatable except they had only cold drinks, and, at this moment, I would really have accepted a coffee!
Descent started at 06:41. The approach was made over Vitoria, so I could get some pictures:
We landed at 06:59 and were at the terminal at 07:03. Another TAM flight was there (A320). Two stairs were used, so disembarking was fast, as well as baggage delivery.
Disembarking. Note the carpet!
I was in the taxi at 07:15 (there is a booth giving taxi tickets at the right at hand side of the exit, you pay to the driver).
And, good surprise, even if I arrived at 07:45, the Novotel was able to give me the room immediately, which, after such a night, was really appreciated.
End of Part 2, Part 3 on your screens as soon as possible!
[Edited 2006-08-04 02:53:01]
Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)