Flight-Report

Review of Azul flight Rio De Janeiro Sao Paulo in Economy

Airline Azul
Flight AD 2403
Class Economy
Seat 27D
Aircraft Embraer E-190
Flight time 01:10
Take-off 04 Oct 15, 08:25
Arrival at 04 Oct 15, 09:35
AD   #6 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 30 reviews
jetsetpanda
By 2236
Published on 5th October 2015
Hi and welcome to this side trip FR that I took while in GIG in order to see some friends. I flew back on the same day and my schedule is as follows:

SDU-GRU on AD in Y - you are here
GRU-SDU on AD in Y - http://flight-report.com/fr/report-11847.html


As an aviation enthusiast I am always excited at the prospect of setting foot on a new airline and this was one of those occasions. Azul is an airline with a great reputation inside Brazil and a lot of people think that it is perhaps the best domestic Brazilian carrier. Its success is attributed to its founder Mr. Neeleman who modeled the airline after his first prototype - Jetblue. As a side note, Mr. Neeleman' latest acquisition is TAP - Air Portugal and he promised to keep its home base in Portugal for at least 10 years. AD already has a close partnership with UA and one can book reward seats in J and Y on AD for its North American flights. Presently AD flies to FLL and MCO and plans to add JFK later this year. As the third largest domestic carrier in Brazil it now serves North America and Europe (indirectly through TP). It will be interesting to see how this carrier evolves in the future. When I flew B6 the first time, I thought it was excellent compared to the legacy carriers. Friendly crews, clean and spacious seats, stylish marketing and free unlimited snacks. What is not to like? So with that point of reference I knew more or less what to expect from AD.

What I did not expect was the trouble using Azul's website and how user unfriendly it is. I tried to book my SDU-GRU trip through Azul's U.S. site and after receiving an error has occurred message once I submitted all my information repeatedly, I gave up and called res. The error msg was very vague and did not specify exactly what the problem was. The phone agent confirmed the price and after booking my trip gave me a confirmation number.

A few minutes later I received an email stating that there was a problem processing the payment and to call Customer Service in Brazil with my confirmation number. I called the U.S. toll free number again and the agent went over all the details and resubmitted my credit card information. It seemed that the problem was the exchange rate and my reservation was originally charged in R$ instead of USD. He verified my email address and said that a summary of my trip will be sent while we were on the phone. After telling him that I did not received anything he reassured me that the ticket was issued already and everything was in order.

I called AMEX and they confirmed that an initial charge was made by Azul and was cancelled right after, followed by another that was a few cents more. Is it always this difficult to book with them online when you are based outside of Brazil? After 48 hrs I finally received 3 email confirmations about my trip. I wanted to look up my information online but couldn't find any links on the U.S. site. I found out that there is a way to look at my reservations on Azul's website, but this feature is only available on the Portuguese side.

Once there, there are two ways to access one's reservation, but only one worked for me.

a- Go to Para su Viagem and click Minhas Reservas from the drop down menu. On the right side, click Por codigo de reserva (by booking code) and enter reservation number and last name. Click on ver meus voos. When I tried to access it this way it gave me an error message to the effect that it cannot be changed online.

b- On the home page there is already a link to Minhas Reservas on the left side. Click on it and then enter your booking code and last name. Click on Ver minhas reservas. Once I accessed my reservation details, I was able to get the seat map by clicking on Comprar Espaco Azul button next to my seat assignment.


Day of the trip

I stayed at the Hotel 1900 in the Catete area which is really close to SDU (10 min. by taxi). I called for a cab to take me there and within five min. after placing the call the taxi arrived. I left my breakfast plate half eaten.

Breakfast at the hotel.




After paying R$17 which came to approx. USD 4.23 or EUR 3.85, I went straight to the AD counter to check-in. I tried using the self kiosk but it gave me an error message asking me to select a passenger while I actually did that already. The IT part of AD really needs improvement.

photo DSC08111 (1024x683)photo DSC08112 (1024x683)


Frustrated by my inability to check in through either the barcode of my printout or by manually inputting the record locator, I went to the counter and an efficient agent checked me in without any problems and issued me the flimsy supermarket receipt (boarding pass). I must comment that there was no agent by the self check in kiosks to assist passengers.

photo DSC08267 (1024x674)

Going through security was pretty straightforward and just as in the U.S, you had to empty your pockets, take off your shoes and place your belt on the conveyor. One thing that I noticed is that in Brazil you are allowed to bring liquid as long as they are sealed in their containers. I had 3 bottle of cologne that I was able to pass without raising an eyebrow. SDU is a small domestic airport that is pleasant and prettier than GIG airport.

photo DSC08114 (1024x662)photo DSC08115 (1024x683)

One thing that I hated about this airport are the WC's. Some of the urinals did not flush and because of the old plumbing system most toilets cannot handle toilet paper disposal, so a basket is placed next to them. There are people that are so filthy that they just toss their soiled papers after use without even folding exposing their s#@t for the next occupant. Utterly disgusting. I don't think you need pictures as proof in this instance and can just trust me on this. :P

Moving on to more pleasant subjects, SDU airport is nice for spotting because the gates have a view of the tarmac with all the planes' activities. Unfortunately the windows need a good cleaning as they look dirty.




There were about 3-4 agents at the gate and when we were ready to board, passengers were placed in rows according to their group numbers, with top members of Tudo Azul program at the far right boarding first. You had to show ID and the boarding receipt one more time upon boarding. The efficient agent addressed me by name and invited me to board after checking my documents.

photo DSC08125 (1024x683)photo DSC08121 (1024x656)


Plane at the gate.

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A FA was at the door greeting passengers and I walked all the way down to my seat in the last row. I noticed that the overhead bins of the last few rows were reserved for company use.




There was only a safety card in my seat pocket. I saw that my neighbor's seat had a disposal bag for sickness.

photo DSC08146 (1024x683)


The safety demonstration was conducted in Portuguese only and soon we were ready to taxi out.




I was looking forward to this trip since the take off from SDU is supposed to be one of the most impressive ones in the world. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and it was dark and rainy. I will have to do this again in the future.




Cruising.

photo DSC08138 (1024x683)photo DSC08141 (1024x683)


There were 3 FA's who looked well groomed and professional with a smiling demeanor. I would say that in Brazil looks play a more determining role in getting hired as a FA compared to the U.S.



A FA took drink orders and delivered them individually from a tray. There are no beverage carts used on AD. This was followed by another FA offering a selection of snacks from a basket. You could order as many of those as you wanted. Once she ran out of a certain item, she proceeded to open a new one stored in the overhead bins at the end of the plane. There were maybe 4 of these baskets placed in the bins.

I ordered polvilho (similar to cheese puffs but made with tapioca flour from cassava root), Japanese peanuts and peach juice.




Later on a FA offered already sweetened small cups of coffee from a tray.

photo DSC08157 (1024x683)


Soon we were descending into GRU on a wintry and cold day.




GRU receives the bulk of intl. flights to Brazil.




We parked at T4 which is a separate domestic terminal used by AD and 2Z (Passaredo). We parked at the tarmac and used stairs to descend from the plane. Great for spotting.




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Verdict

Azul

7.8/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering9.0

Rio De Janeiro - SDU

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.0

Sao Paulo - GRU

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

With the exception of the disappointing experience with AD's website, I had a good flight with this carrier.

Cabin was clean but the lack of an inflight magazine and sickness bag in my seat pocket was a let down. The 2x2 configuration of the Embraer is always a nice feature and makes flying more tolerable.

FA's were efficient and professional. They place strong emphasis on how they present themselves.

A choice of snacks is very generous, especially for such a short flight. There was a nice mix of salty and sweet items to satisfy everyone's taste.

Information on the route Rio De Janeiro (SDU) Sao Paulo (GRU)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Rio De Janeiro (SDU) → Sao Paulo (GRU).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Azul with 8.3/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 8 minutes.

  More information

14 Comments

  • Comment 148215 by
    momolemomo GOLD 5204 Comments

    The US website of Azul is just there to say Look, we're international but that's all. It's useless. Also, there is a lot of informations missing on the US website and you can't fully access your reservation etc.
    Usually there's also a pretty interesting magazine in the seat pocket with good plans in Brasil. Was the TV working well to make up for it?
    The most impressive in SDU is landing. Taking off is also impressive but definitely not as much.
    You plane, the PR-AZL, is Azul's oldest Ejet. They received it in 2008 from JetBlue.
    You didn't want to do the landing in Congonhas ? It's as impressive as Santos Dumont.
    Thank you for this report.

    • Comment 326585 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2295 Comments

      I did not try to use the TV since there were no earphones. It looked like the radio and TV feature were working. Too bad that a magazine was not provided on either direction.

      It was raining harder when I returned to SDU but I was able to catch a glimpse of Centro.

      You plane, the PR-AZL, is Azul's oldest Ejet. They received it in 2008 from JetBlue.
      - Thank for that information. Spoken like a true aviation buff. ;)

      You didn't want to do the landing in Congonhas ? It's as impressive as Santos Dumont.
      - The fare was more expensive into CGH. I agree that leaving and coming from there can be impressive too. I took a flight with JJ back in 2010.

      Thank you for your comments Moritz. I thought that this FR might interest you since you visit Brazil frequently. Next month I will take the IB A346 from MAD-LHR which you reported too.

  • Comment 148230 by
    Caribel 114 Comments

    It's a shame you left half a plate of food on the table. Elvis would never have done that. :)

    I don't know why, Cristian Castro's song Azul kept playing in my mind while reading your essay. Azul, y es que este amor es azul como el mar
    Azul, como de tu mirada nació mi ilusión
    Azul como una lagrima cuando hay perdón
    Tan puro y tan azul que me han vuelto el corazón

    Hope your visit with friends enhanced your travel memories.

  • Comment 148236 by
    Benoit75008 GOLD 6546 Comments

    THanks for this report,

    Services on boad are quite similar than what is offering by LO in Europe in the same E-jet.
    The choice is ok apparently.

    I forgot that GRU has so many connection with SA or LX, which we can see on your pics.

  • Comment 148324 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4726 Comments

    So funny to have two back to back reports on Neeleman Airlines, LOL. The South American version of JetBlue has that same feel of good value and fun/hip branding. Then there's the fact that they use the same planes, except for widebodies, but I wouldn't be surprised to see JetBlue with widebodies a few years down the road. The cabin of the Azul E190 is almost exactly the same as on B6 and the liveries are very similar. Too bad about the website--it's not good if Azul wants to penetrate the U.S. market--you have to appeal to your point of sale. But then again, All the U.S. carriers have buggy websites: AA.com shows you fares that it can't sell and gives error messages half the time, Delta.com has gotten better but was known as Delta.dumb for the longest time, and let's not even talk about UA's attempt at a new website that had so many problems they reverted to the old site for a few days. Nevertheless, website problems are super frustrating. Thanks for sharing and see you on the next one!

    • Comment 326692 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2295 Comments

      Nevertheless, website problems are super frustrating.
      - With the exception of fare mistakes :P AA recently had one out of Brazil and there were some people who were able to fly from there to Asia on CX F for a ridiculous amount. As always I came too late to the party.

      AD really needs to improve their U.S. website. However, their partnership with UA is a good thing and I was able to find award flights on J and Y on their new North American routes using Mileage Plus, but only out of MCO and FLL as originating points, which kind of sucks since I want to attach the segment out of SFO. Another disadvantage is that these flights terminate in VCP and not GRU. VCP is very far from Sao Paulo but AD offers bus service into the city. Still a hassle if you ask me. Having said that, I am curious about their long haul product and from what I was able to find it seems decent.

      Thanks for stopping Kevin.

  • Comment 148332 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this report with us!

    Unfortunately the weather didn't co-operate with you so you couldn't fully experience the great views after takeoff from SDU.

    Seat comfort looks good on this E-190. I've always wanted to fly on one but never managed to do it even though Finnair regularly operates it to ARN.

    Azul gets a good score in the catering department, a generous offering indeed.

    See you on the next one!

    • Comment 326706 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2295 Comments

      Unfortunately the weather didn't co-operate with you so you couldn't fully experience the great views after takeoff from SDU.
      - Just my luck. Last month when I went it was rainy also. Maybe the third time is the charm. ;)

      The Embraer's configuration of 2x2 is unbeatable. You should try one sometime.

      For a 1 hr. flight is like flying F in the U.S. My LAX-SFO flight featured a snack basket in the front too.

      Thank you for your comments.

  • Comment 148359 by
    NGO85 1624 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this unique FR with us Adan!

    A very nice introduction to this company, but the booking aspect sounds atrocious. It reminds me a lot of dealing with domestic Japanese carriers, they don't have English websites and figuring out how to modify reservations can be tricky.

    I see you stayed at the same hotel as your last trip, that good of an experience?

    I had 3 bottle of cologne that I was able to pass without raising an eyebrow.
    - 3 bottles?

    Utterly disgusting. I don't think you need pictures as proof in this instance and can just trust me on this. :P
    - Thank you?

    You had to show ID and the boarding receipt one more time upon boarding.
    - Strange that they ask for your ID again on a domestic flight.

    The efficient agent addressed me by name
    - They have already outdone UA when you had the J flight to Mexico and you were cold-shouldered by the FA.

    I would say that in Brazil looks play a more determining role in getting hired as a FA compared to the U.S.
    - *cough* Asia *cough*

    A FA took drink orders and delivered them individually from a tray.
    - Very nice service on AD, lives up to B6's reputation and helps you quickly forget the nightmares checking in.

    Nice green special livery AD on arrival.

    Hopefully the weather is nicer on the return leg!

    • Comment 326727 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2295 Comments

      I see you stayed at the same hotel as your last trip, that good of an experience?
      - For USD 45/night including taxes it beats anything I have found in this category. That is not taking into account the friendly reception staff, free breakfast and evening snack (soup), tastefully decorated rooms and safe local neighborhood. I got my money' worth. ;)

      3 bottles?
      - Yes and these were not 3 oz. bottles, more like 180 ml. or bigger. Of course I called AD before and checked with them and they gave me the OK as long as the bottles were unopened in their boxes.

      Strange that they ask for your ID again on a domestic flight.
      - When in Rome do as the Romans.

      They have already outdone UA when you had the J flight to Mexico and you were cold-shouldered by the FA.
      - In all honesty the bar is not very high. :P

      Very nice service on AD, lives up to B6's reputation and helps you quickly forget the nightmares checking in.
      - Thing were done with a smile which is quite reassuring.

      Nice green special livery AD on arrival.
      - Pretty eye catching I must say.

      Hopefully the weather is nicer on the return leg!
      - It got worse and was raining when I came back later the same day. You will read about it.

      Thanks Michael for your comments and visit.

  • Comment 148374 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 10236 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    It's not that easy to buy an Azul ticket lol

    That was a great short flight with a nice crew

    How much was the ticket's price ?

    See you soon for the next leg

    • Comment 326738 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2295 Comments

      It's not that easy to buy an Azul ticket lol
      - I had to work for that ticket. ;)

      That was a great short flight with a nice crew
      - That is the best that it can get if you fly domestically in Brazil. I have also flown a domestic flight on JJ back in 2010 and although I received a warm sandwich in one leg and a small cheese plate on the return, I didn't have a choice. So in a way AD was better even though it was just packaged snacks (I know you have a dislike for these types of snacks so you might not agree with me on this). ;)

      How much was the ticket's price ?
      - Approx. USD 145 or EUR 127.66 roundtrip FLEX fare - fully refundable and changeable. It would have been USD 120 or EUR 105.65 for a restricted promo fare, but the difference was not much and I decided to have some flexibility just in case. AD has a Y+ section which are the first couple of rows and I feel that if you buy a FLEX fare you should have access to those seats and not pay an extra surcharge. The rate that I was quoted on my reservation when I tried to reserve those seats was USD 5 or EUR 4,40.

      Thanks Gilbert for your comments and support.

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