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    August 26, 2008


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    I have mostly used American because of miles and hate having to go through SP, mostly because when coming and going from BH, it is not a stop-over, but a connection and SP immigration and customs is WAY worse than Rio. I didn´t really like American, especially since I seemed to only get 767s as opposed to 777´s. I am heading up to St. Louis hopefully in November and the best deal was Air Canada through Toronto. I have no idea of the service, though. Any reason you don´t fly them?


    I agree that customs is way worse in SP than Rio, good point!

    The service on Air Canada's international flights is actually quite good in my experience. I (along with most Canadians) would NOT recommend them for regional flight service within Canada, however as the service for those flights is terrible. The planes they use to fly to Brazil & back are brand new and feature on demand entertainment systems, etc... really nice for those long flights. I think they are Airbuses?

    The only reason really that we don't fly Air Canada back & forth is because they only fly into SP currently, which would mean that we would have to disembark, clear customs, then check into a domestic flight to Rio with all our luggage after so many hours of travelling. We much prefer to just do that stopover without getting off the plane!



    Thanks for the tip. Since for once I actually WANT to go through SP (I am planing on seeing a friend), you just helped me make up my mind. If the new American flight to BH is like the one they used to have, I used to fly that a lot. About 85% of the flight disembarked in Rio and the rest flew on to BH. Back in the day (2000), it was because overnight rental space for the airplane was cheaper in Confins than in Galeão. Of course, still the same issue with American, you probably won´t get the "on demand" entertainment on that flight.


    You can also fly non-stop to Rio from Atlanta on Delta.


    Air Canada currently flies 763's to SP, they are not new planes however they all have been refurbished. Business class (called Executive First on Air Canda) have true lie flat beds (ie. they lie flat not slightly angled like many suite or lie flat seats on some airlines. Economy is economy, however, there is more leg room than UA and Delta. Also, the on-demand video/audio is very good - when it is working and they have seemed to have made great progress in fixing the kinks. Food is passable to bad, flight attendants are reasonably friendly, to indifferent to downright surly, some say in direct relation to their age. Air Canada will be flying their new 777's to Sao Paulo effective January, interiors almost identical to the look of the refurbished 763's, but of course, larger planes, more pax. Have not been in economy - 777 - so cannot comment on that.
    United Airlines does fly direct from Washington to Rio. I do not like the airline - old worn planes, old worn flight attendants, mediocre food. However, they are going through a refurbishment program as well (many airlines are) but believe at this time odds of an old 763 are still high for the Rio planes (may use 777's not sure, but they are not as nice as Air Canada's.
    UA does have Economy Plus - simply economy seats but significantly more leg room. A friend flies Wash to Rio on a regular basis, being (Platinum?) he gets economy plus. I think one can buy up from economy to economy plus for a fee - don't know how much. But, since the price spread is thousands to fly business class he feels it is good value - gets him there without transiting GRU. United is Star Alliance so for those with an affiliated frequent flyer program, of course, you get the flexability of UA and Air Canada being in the same family. If I was not locked into Air Canada's progam being Canadian, I would explore Delta more. Flights in general, as we all know, have gone up significantly. I note the new AA Miami to Recife/Salvadore is sitting at around $1400 (lowest fare) - expensive for a 7-8 flight. Many US based airlines are going through the refurbishment thing - and at various stages (as is TAM, btw) so one may be hit and miss on a newly refurbished plane or not - AC's fleet (both domestic and int'l. is almost 100% done) - if that sort of thing is important to people.


    Although not to Rio, Delta has just announced other direct flights from Atlanta to cities in Brazil. (Manaus, Raceif, Fortaleza)


    I will soon be moving to Rio from Florida and have been traveling back and forth quite a bit buying property, doing the document thing, etc.
    I love flying TAM because the planes are so nice but HATE having to go through SP to Rio. Have also gone American quite a bit.
    However, starting the middle of September, TAM now has direct flights from Miami to Rio-finally.
    TAM is nice because if you fly three, you get one free. American is nice because you get miles and I have had a few free trips with the miles.
    Prefer TAM though...


    Wow nothing gets people talking like flying... thanks for the tips everyone! I didn't realize Delta offered the direct flights to Rio via Atlanta...


    I really like the Continental via houston from Rio. I used to fly on Air Canada, but since the Varig codeshare has been discontinued , so has the connection in SP. Imagine getting off of the plane after a 10 hour flight(more if you are coming back from the West Coast) going through customs, changing AIRPORTS and then finally gettign into Rio the next afternoon. Add luggage and kids and you get basically hell on earth.
    oh yes, are allowed 2 bags of 32 kg between North America and brazil, but be careful on the domestic route in Brazil, they will try to make you pay overweight(you don't have to...)


    I flew straight from Atlanta to Rio via Delta, and it was so nice to avoid stopping in São Paulo! On my first trip to Rio, I flew Continental from Houston. I found the Delta flight to be much more pleasant.


    Despite some of the bad reviews I've heard about Delta I still plan to give them a go next time...


    nice article!

    check out for more great info in flights to brazil and rio

    Gleyse de Franca

    I was in Brazil recently and took the Air Canada flight for the worst travel experience of my life. First they delayed my flight six hours which was fine, but worst was yet to come, they had overbooked the flight and sent me to Toronto with the hopes of a stand by, ten hours latter I was on the fly to Toronto, with all my luggage, had to wait more 7 hours at the Toronto airport (which they did not bother in offer me a food voucher-even I asked for), by then I lost my other flight that was leaving from Sao Paulo to Natal, which I would have to wait in Sao Paulo's airport for another 10 hours. Finally in Sao Paulo, completely pissed at their service, starving (they feed you with peanuts and water), I had to beg someone at the Air Canada booth in Sao Paulo for a hotel Voucher. My flight increased from 26 hours to 38. I wasn't happy at all. Their employees tread me to call the police when I was in Toronto because I was complaining that they did not want to provide me with vouchers. Awful experience. Air Canada, never more!!! And I AM Canadian.

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