Guarulhos Airport - Sao Paulo

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Sao Paulo, Brazil

Guarulhos Airport - Sao Paulo Reviews

jesa145 jesa145
42 reviews
Start Boarding Early! Dec 09, 2010
Ok.. so! Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo is and INTERNATIONAL airport.. it's a major airport in Brazil and one of the busiest!

It was my last day and with a delayed flight, I arrived the airport 4 hours before my revised departure time. Checked in.. went for a small meal at the airport courtesy of KLM and then stood in the longest queue ever just to get through security and immigration and still run to the gate to catch my flight! How is that possible you might wonder?!

My flight was leaving at 11 pm (originally scheduled for 8:15 pm), hence I arrived the airport at 8pm. As I'd done my online checkin, I still had to stand in line waiting to drop off my bag.

Finally reached the counter at 8:45 pm... I was given a dinner voucher at the airport cafe to compensate for the inconvenience and was advised to start boarding at 9 pm. I looked at my watch and thought what??!! 15 minutes to eat and smoke? What about goodbyes? And you should have seen the queue at the cashier counter at the cafe...

Well, I went in quickly to pick my meal and a dessert and consumed my dinner in lightning speed... another long queue presented my voucher and rushed out for a quick smoke.

at 9:15.. i made my way to what I thought was the entry to the security clearance and I remember thinking.. "oh my! what's with the long queue"? It was then I realized.. OOHHH.. this is where I start! So I walk backwards, almost towards the checkin counter and stand in queue. I see the minutes passing, and before I knew it! An hour had passed and I still hadn't got through security and immigration. I could hear passenger's being paged over and over and I saw a few nervous passengers sighing and looking at their watch... Of course, it's hard to find anyone who speaks English to help you get through.. so you stand there silently and hope to get through fast.

Finally got through security and now to get through immigration.. I start to panic and get really nervous as I realized that it's 10 minutes to 11.... OH MY GOD!! While in line, I struck a conversation with a french guy who was going to be on the same flight as me and we continued talking I guess to calm both our nerves. He was sweet enough to wait for me after passing through immigration. We both then rushed to our gate, run down the escalator and see that the display screen shows another flight.. so we hike back up the stairs and run around looking for our gate. In the meantime, we hear our flight being called and our names too...

We stopped to asked for directions in my horrible broken portuguese and realize that we were on the same gate but due to the delays.... airlines were sharing display screens.

To end this excitement.. we both get on our flights in one piece and wait another 30 minutes for the rest of the passengers to board. Good to know we weren't the last! I would hate the attention :p

Moral of the story... get to the airport early, check in and allow time to sit through the queue.

Maybe on my next trip the airport would have changed.. or I hope they are making changes as it's going to get busier :D
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Shashank Shashank
6 reviews
Mar 31, 2004
After having travelled to few hundred airports, Guarulhos Airport - Sao Paulo is the proud recipient of the worst transit airport in the world. The signs do not work and because of tourists do not know Portugese, noone appears to be friendly. Looking for gate information on screens does not help (it does not work), attendents dont know either so no point asking them. Best is to "pray" and keep using common sense on how to get to your gate of departure (dont forget it could be the same gate you arrived on)..
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