More Than Just a Boarding Pass!

At a glance Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil is not an impressive airport, whether your first view of it is from the plane or from the highway approaching the entrance. Granted, the new terminal buildings finished a 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the FIFA World Cup 2014 give a minimalist yet grand appearance in their dark glass coats.

Once inside and you start using facilities, or in fact look for them, you realise that this is one airport well geared for its main clients, the traveller. All areas are very well sign-posted from everywhere - the chances of getting lost here is very slim indeed! In fact, as an English speaker I had no problems and this was my first time I was spending more time than just collecting my baggage off the carousel before leaving the airport. I had to spend a few hours here before my flight was departing to Lima, Peru.

For the smokers I have bad news, albeit good news for the anti-smoking lobby - smoking is only allowed outside the terminal building and sufficient provision is made for cigarette butts so this not something I saw lying around. 

For checking in, there are large screens denoting the areas that cater for the various airlines with counter numbers noted for specific flights. “Most airports have those now!” I hear you say - yes, bear with me, I’m getting to the good stuff! Furthermore, all the other screens around the departure and arrival terminals show various domestic and international arrivals and departures. 


Now for the facilities; bag wrapping services can be found near all the entrances to the departure terminals and bathrooms; well, I have not encountered many public places that have such an abundant number of bathrooms everywhere on the premises. Very unlikely you’ll find yourself on a 10 minute hunt or 5 minute walk to a bathroom. Once inside these bathrooms, there is space - a lot of it!! Going in with your baggage trolley or just a backpack you’ll find shed loads of room to put your things still close to you without blocking access for other people. (Sorry ladies, I didn’t have the opportunity to see what your bathrooms look like.) The amount of space really impressed me as I’ve found myself less than impressed at times when squeezing into a bathroom and there’s hardly space for a mouse, never mind your luggage too.

Thirsty but not buying drinks or anything? No worries! Bring over your water bottle and fill it at one of the many drinking fountains scattered around. Yes, there are drinking fountains once you’re through security as well! Speaking of which, security checks is where my jaw dropped! The security personnel were very friendly and even helpful, which in itself is quite a novelty as many of you will know! They “process” people through the security check so fast and efficiently, I found myself on the other side wondering what just happened.  The immigration line was starting to grow with only three officers at the counters but very quickly they had more officers in and things were on a roll again!

Then, the star of my experience - needing a place to charge your laptop, tablet or mobile phone usually entails plonking yourself down at some wall or pillar and staying there till everything’s charged up or you have to go. Here, all the areas have sections with rows of seats where every single seat has a power outlet! Ingenious in its simplicity! Once again, these are in the pre-check-in areas as well as the areas around the boarding gates. It’s possible to sit right at your gate, on a proper seat, while charging your kit, talking on your mobile phone or whatever electronics you play with pre-flight. If you then fly LAN (in South America) like I did or Etihad (which I’d arrived with in Sao Paulo with) then you can just continue charging your electronics as each seat also has a power outlet.

Anyway, well done to Guarulhos International Airport - I was well impressed and hopefully the many people you will have passing through your gates during this World Cup will find it as great an airport!

Sunset at Guarulhos Airport


Expedition Logistics, Travel Planning And Tourism Product Development

A diverse portfolio of services with the tourism and hospitality industry as basis, include travel planning, expedition logistics and support, tourism and hospitality product development, and product/destination marketing.