AD4106 POA-VCP - E195 - an usual flight to Campinas AD4106 VCP-CNF - E195 - knowing more Belo Horizonte's old terminal AD2970 CNF-UDI - E190 - flying in an E190 after some time and knowing Uberlândia Airport AD2971 UDI-CNF - E190 - back to BH AD2413 CNF-GRU - E195 - an amazing flight on a very special livery! AD5005 GRU-POA - E195 - ending a very nice trip
Hey everybody and welcome to my newest flight report, this time covering a trip that almost went right to Ponta Grossa, a city that is quite near Curitiba, which is Paraná state's capital city. But why did it almost went right? Check it and see :D
As you may probably know from my other flight reports, I love regional aviation, so I'm always trying to know new and different destinations in Brazil. I'm also a big fan of Azul Brazilian Airlines, which (coincidently or not) is the biggest regional operator in our contry, using the fantastic 70-seats ATR 72-600, which at most times fits their routes perfectly. Last year Azul started operations between Campinas, their main hub and Ponta Grossa, which is a 300-thousand people city at a 100 km distance to Curitiba. PG is the main city of the Campos Gerais region, which has almost 1 million inhabitants. In Paraná, Azul flies to Curitiba, Foz do Iguaçu, Cascavel, Maringá and Londrina.
They started with 6 weekly flights made by the ATR, which you would think it's not even enough, considering the big population of the region and the low fares they made in the start of the route. At that time prices were pretty low, but I didn't get to buy tickets. But one fine day last August I managed to find the low tickets were still the same since 2016. Bad for the airline, which by the way had reduced operations to only 4 weekly, but very nice to me! The total price of the round trip was BRL403.15 with taxes - or USD124.72 in today's values. The route I'd make was POA-VCP-PGZ-VCP-POA - with a 25-minutes stop in Ponta Grossa! I'd also know Viracopos' new terminal, which was opened last year.
Originally, my flight would be made on a Sunday, October 8. That would be better, so then I wouldn't miss a class day. But some weeks prior to the trip I went to check my booking on Azul's website and I saw that the date changed to October 9. And I wasn't even informed by Azul about that… if I hadn't seen it there, I would've gone to the airport in the wrong day. I then tried to book a ticket on the right day and saw that there were no flights to PGZ on that day. Then I decided to call to Azulcenter (Azul's call center). A nice attendant confirmed that the Sunday flight was cancelled. The options were changing my flight to one that was no later 48 hours before or after the original flight - the only option was on Monday - or being totally refunded. As an aviation lover, I wanted to fly! So I decided I would go on Monday and miss a class day. The cancellation wasn't the actual problem I saw: these things just happen, after all. The main fault on Azul's side was changing my booking without even noticing me. Later another passenger I talked with before my flight said her booking was also changed without any warning. That's no good.
Viracopos' new terminal
After an uneventful flight from Porto Alegre, I arrived at Viracopos' new terminal. And it's waaaay better than the old one, that was really suffocating for Azul's rapid growth. It is basically divided in three parts:
the mainline part, which recieves the Embraer/A320 flights; the regional, which has the ATR operations; the international, which recieves the flights to Lisbon, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
Viracopos is totally dominated by Azul, that has something like 95% of the passenger flights operations. The two other Brazilian airlines there are Gol, with ~12 weekly flights to Rio/Galeão, and LATAM Brasil, with ~18 flights to Brasília. So the whole structure depends on AD's hub; the food court, for example, is on the airside; on the check-in area, there are few cafés and one or two restaurants. The feeding is also important: only ~5% of the passengers of the MII (Marília)-VCP route stay in Campinas; the others connect to other places.
But let's go to the photos:
PR-AQR "Se você fosse uma cor, seria o Azul" (If you was a color, you would be Blue) being prepared to go to São José do Rio Preto (SJP) as AZU4310
Azul's impressive ominpresence in Campinas. How many different destinations can you count on this report?
Each gate has two floors in Campinas: the lower for the boarding and the higher for deboarding. Each one has also elevators.
PR-AYI "Azul Celeste" (Sky Blue) going to Brasília as AZU2601 POA-VCP-BSB. I had just arrived at VCP on it!
Mainline part of the airside.
Connection to the international flights area.
Leaving the airside to see more. Azul's check-in area
Pretty nice sight here!
LATAM and Gol check-in area
The signs in Campinas are nicer than in most Brazilian airports.
Reimpressed my boarding pass. The tickets in Campinas are also nicer than in other airports!
Back to the airside. This kind of sign, pointing where each store/restaurant is, is also smart. I never saw one of these!
Hm… it seems my flight is 40 minutes delayed!
Not quite a rush time
10 minutes were increased to the delay.
At 11:40 PR-TKJ arrived at VCP as AZU2583 from Maringá. It would make a quick turnaround and then take me to Ponta Grossa! And finally… let's go!
Not quite a full flight, though: 50 passengers would occupy the 68 seats of this ATR.
Ah, and I forgot to say: but that's a quite important detail: PR-TKJ operated for TRIP Linhas Aéreas before the merging with Azul, so it has a different livery and also a different interior. What a great experience it will be! The last time I flew on an AzulTrip aircraft was in 2015, in a CWB-POA flight, on the E190 PP-PJJ. PJJ now flies for British Airways Cityflyer.
Ah… how I love the hybrid AzulTrip livery!
And by my side, here's one for the French readers: Azul, Blanc et Rouge (Blue, White and Red, in French) was the first ATR delivered to Azul in the revised, post-merging livery, with the lighter blue in the "u". AQB also operated for TRIP with the Azul livery before the full merging, using stickers that said "operated by TRIP" right by the rear door, this between 2012 and 2013. Anyroad, AQB had come from Foz do Iguaçu as AZU9350, apparently had a breakdown and some hours after the landing went to Bauru as AZU9017.
PR-AYA "Brasil é Azul" (Brasil is Azul) coming from Goiânia as AZU4123. It'd later go to Londrina as AZU2442. AYA was the first Embraer 195 recieved by Azul, and also the first Azul aircraft I flew in. It was a POA-VCP flight in September 20, 2009. And there go some eight years from that day! Fun fact: from 2008 to last year, AYA's name was "Azul é Brasil" (Azul is Brasil), but they've changed it to "Brasil é Azul". I don't know why, but I prefer the old one!
Boarding. This livery has Azul's logo applied on the front and TRIP's tail, and some other differences. Beautiful, isn't it? At least it will keep TRIP's legacy for some more time - but not for too long. All AzulTRIP Embraers were sent to TAP Express or BA Cityflyer, and PR-TKK was the first of five ATRs to recieve the full Azul livery.
View from my seat.
I asked for some water and the FA promptly brought it to me.
We're late, so let's not waste too much time!
Video of the take-off. The window was terribly dirty, as it's the usual in the ATRs, but that's what we have for today ;)
Some important advices
Not a bad legroom, innit? I'm 1,67m tall (5'48ft), so that's never a problem for me, hahaha! Notice the dirty seat pocket. It really should be washed
As it is the standard in Azul flight experience, FAs (or Blue Angels, how the airline prefers to call them) ask the drink the client wants. Then, they serve it and offer the snacks. Snacks for today were nuts, potato chips, cookies and jelly beans. Drinks were Coke, Coke Zero, guaraná, juices and water. I asked a Coke and all the snacks! The napkin now speaks to the passenger. "I'm small, but I'm here to remember EspaçoAzul is giant!". EspaçoAzul (Blue Space) is something like Even More Space in jetBlue, where you pay a fee to seat in the first rows and have more legroom.
Snacks. I love them! After that I asked some more to take home and share with my friends.
We were in Pink October, and Azul strongly promotes this cause since 2010. So the jelly beans are pink-themed and instead of the regular "Aviõezinhos" title, the packing sported the campaign's slogan: "Quem se cuida, voa mais longe." (Who takes care goes further).
View from the last row:
Azul Magazine was also in pink, and promoted Buenos Aires, Azul's latest international destination.
Later we started descending. View from the outside. This clouds were not good.
Then we started to make some turns over Ponta Grossa instead of actually landing. We didn't know why, but look at that:
Later we felt the aircraft climbing and accelerating. The captain made a speech saying that it was raining in Ponta Grossa, and the aircraft couldn't rain with the wet runway. So we would go back to Campinas. That was terrible for the passengers, but not a lot for me. After all, I would go back to VCP anyway… heheh, just kidding. I would've loved knowing Ponta Grossa Airport! The FAs served us snacks and drinks again. (She authorized me to publish these photos of her):
Besides all the headache, Blue Angels made a very nice job. Well, the passengers also understood the problem. They knew it wasn't an airline problem, but an structural one.
Landing at Campinas. No arrival speech by the FA
After the deboarding, an airport supervision said to us on the PA we had to go to the check-in counters to get a lunch voucher and also a ticket to another way to get to Ponta Grossa. Passengers had to take a flight to Curitiba and then they'd get to PG by bus, of course everything secured by the airline. I wouldn't do this - of course I'd stay in Campinas and then get on a flight to Porto Alegre. And after everybody deboarded… what a beautiful interior! Better than the regular Azul's.
Bye bye TKJ! It was so nice flying with you, besides the diversion.
This panel on the arrivals hall was also promoting Pink October.
Getting my lunch voucher.
And last, but also important. Sorry for the terrible edition I made, I don't want to edit it again, but I think you'd like to see PR-AZL, Azul's first aircraft. "O Rio de Janeiro continua Azul" (Rio de Janeiro keeps blue) pays tribute to a song by MPB artist Gilberto Gil, "Aquele Abraço". The song says: "O Rio de Janeiro continua lindo…" (Rio de Janeiro keeps beautiful…) Just love it! AZL was going to Brasília as AZU2612.
I came back to Porto Alegre in AZU5046 on the E195 PR-AXG "Trovão Azul" (Blue Thunder) . Video of take-off:
Thanks for passing by and stay tuned for my next reports! :D
Campinas - VCP
Campinas - VCP
Well, nothing can happen exactly as we want. Besides the diversion, though, I had a nice experience with Azul, as usual.
Cabin is better than Azul's. Unfortunately it was not as clean as I expected. Cabin crew was great, polite and friendly as always. Azul Magazine is enough for regional flights. Snacks are so good - and for free! Also, the pink jelly beans gave a nice touch to the catering - and that's one of the reasons why I'm a big fan of Azul.
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