- American to Miami in First, then Business Class to Sao Paulo
- Gol Smiles VIP Lounge and Domestic Service to Foz de Iguassu
- Sheraton Iguazú Falls Resort & Spa
- The Wonder of the Falls
- Gol Domestic Back to Sao Paulo and the Admiral’s Club Sao Paolo
- American’s Business Class to Miami and on to DC
I walked over to the transit check-in desk for Gol, it had a long line but I decided since I was there anyway I might as well grab my boarding pass rather than going upstairs, not knowing what the economy check-in line might look like there.
I had booked an aisle and middle in row 5, the whole plane is coach. Seat assignments secured by emailing email@example.com.
Brazilian domestic flights have a maximum weight for carryons of 5kg but the agent wasn’t the least bit worried, he just asked if I had any checked bags, I said no, and he handed me my boarding pass. Actually he printed two of the same pass, rather than one for each of us, so I’m glad I looked at them. That was quickly corrected.
Now it was off to find a lounge and a shower. I went upstairs and right by the domestic security queue found the Smiles VIP lounge. It’s Gol’s lounge, and I’m not an elite with them, but the lounge offers access via Diners Club and Priority Pass as well.
Inside I had to wait a few minutes for use of a shower, but the attendant said he’d page when one opened up. Internet access was via a code, you have to log in with personal information (name, ID number, but nothing whatsoever checks the validity of the data you enter to register). The coffee machine looked like it made good coffee, but the lounge had no milk or cream of any kind. The food didn’t look especially appetizing. It was crowded, the seating wasn’t all that comfortable, but my real purpose there was a shower.
There are two shower rooms and the attendant at the front desk gives you a real key, for which he’ll take a boarding pass or other ID as a deposit. The shower room to the left is small, to the right much larger. They’re not especially well lit, light enough to shower but I wouldn’t want to be a woman doing makeup in there. They give you a medium-sized towel for drying off, a small hand towel, and a small bath mat. There’s no shower kit per se, just a liquid soap dispenser on the wall. But the shower room was clean, the water pressure good, the water hot, and I was thrilled to refresh after the overnight flight.
Once through I caught up on email for about 20 minutes before it was time to go through security. No shoes of, no liquids out, no laptops out. It was just an x-ray and a metal detector. Through in a matter of seconds. I first proceeded to gate 15, just beyond security, where my boarding pass said my gate would be. But since this is Sao Paulo, the gate had changed to 23 (something the airport is well known for).
Queuing for the domestic flight was interesting. Everyone lined up. There were two lines, one was priority and one was regular. But there was no rhyme or reason to who went into the priority line, except that most people did not. The gate agent came through the line checking boarding passes and IDs, and ripping off a piece of the boarding pass. Anyone who had waited to get into line until after she had done this might have boarded without a ticket or ID check, and taken any open seat, though one presumes they did a head count to match actual load to the flight manifest (though I didn’t see them do this).
I don’t really understand the rush to board this flight, it didn’t much matter what order you got on. It’s a one-cabin coach domestic flight with plenty of overhead space since few people carry on rollaboards, most folks seemed to check large amounts of luggage and to respect the 5kg rule for carryons. I did not, of course, my 20″ Tumi was likely 30+ pounds.
The flight was uneventful. Buy on board drinks and snacks were offered, very few people took anything. I did see a large bottle of water from which plastic cups could be filled, so guessed that water was free, but I didn’t see anyone taking water. Everything else was charged. Since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast on the flight, I was hungry and bought a small sandwich which served the purpose of delaying my hunger until I could reach the Sheraton. (I had looked at food options in the domestic terminal but everything was unappetizing.)
Landing was to a remote position. For everyone at Foz de Iguassu — there are no jetways. Covered stairs are brought to the plane and you walk over into the terminal.