After a two and half years without flying, I finally have the pleasure of writing on this site again! The two reports I will be writing portrait my experience flying to and from Porto Alegre on the Azul Embraer 195. The routing goes like this:
I can't write a lot about the booking process, as I didn't buy the tickets myself. The tickets were a little expensive as we booked the flights only one month away, so we decided to travel by bus to Foz de Iguaçu, located 300 km (186 mi) from Asunción (my home city), and take the cheaper domestic flight to POA. My dad found very cheap flights on Azul on eDreams, and that saved us at least 100 dollars when compared to other options. I was excited to fly AD for the first time, after reading so many good things about them basically everywhere.
After a six-hour bus journey from Asunción (by the way, those who are visiting South America, please travel by coach at least once. The long-haul bus service is way superior than in other continents. Some companies even have lounges at bus stations, as did mine), we arrived early in the morning in the Brazilian frontier city of Foz de Iguaçu. Once in the bus station, we took a taxi to the airport, located on the road leading to the Iguaçu Falls. The airport had a very modern departures drop-off zone.
We walked through the main hall, where modifications were being made.
Afterwards, we headed to the check-in hall, but before we had to pass through a baggage security check. I find that quite unnecessary (this isn't done even in American airports, at least three years ago when I was in MIA).
When we got to the AD counter, a cold staff lady told us that we couldn't drop our luggage yet, as we were still seven hours away from our flight's estimated time of departure. However, we were checked in and our seats were assigned. I got seat 1D, the window seat on the first row at the right. This is an EspaçoAzul seat, for which you are supposed to pay a fee for extra pitch. We didn't pay for it, so I assume they quietly upgraded us for operational reasons.
Because we could't drop our luggage yet, we decided to spend some hours at the public zone food court, which only had two restaurants.
After spending three hours in the food court and having lunch, we decided to go to the check-in area once again to see if we could finally drop our luggage. The staff told us to wait for another 1 hour and 15 minutes, so we just stayed there to wait. I found AD's check-in staff to be very cold and emotionless on their treatment. However, they weren't rude and did their jobs.
Three hours before the flight, we were finally allowed to drop off our luggage. Just some minutes after that, we passed the security check to the departures hall.
A Gol 737-800 was boarding for Rio de Janeiro:
I spent the next two hours having little sleep flashes, as I slept only two hours on the bus ride. This Azul Embaer 195 in SKY special livery arrived from VCP. It wasn't our plane, however. Note that our flight data was already on the screen.
At 15:55, our E195 arrived from CWB (Curitiba):
- Airline: Azul (AD)
- Aircraft: Embraer 195
- Age: 7 years
- Registration: PR-AXF (Azul acima de tudo)
- Scheduled time of departure: 16:30 (ATD 16:34)
- Scheduled time of arrival: 17:35 (ATA 17:32)
- Take-off from runway: 14
- Landing in runway: 11
The boarding process started at around 16:00. It was very efficient and the gate staff handled it very nice. One of them was very warm and even added humor when talking via speaker system. We walked a few meters to our plane on remote position, as IGU doesn't have jetways.
A very cold flight attendant received us at the plane by just staring at us and barely saying "boa tarde". He remained with a poker face during the whole flight.
I didn't take a picture of the whole cabin because it was already occupied when I boarded, and to avoid problems with the flight attendant I talked about. This was my seat, 1D. Because it was on the bulkhead, it had plenty of pitch. For a tall and big man like my dad, they were on the narrow side.
View of the tarmac from my window, no other passenger planes were at the airport :
The main door was closed around 15 minutes after boarding began. As we began pushback, the safety video played on our screens. I was amazed about how amusing and Brazilian it was.
Shortly after pushback, we began taxiing to runway 14.
After we backtracked at the beginning of runway 14, the pilots pushed the throttles forward, and we were airborne.
The Iguaçu Falls came into sight seconds after take-off:
As we flew over Misiones province in Argentina, the landscape was dominated by tropical jungle:
We quickly were on our way to reach cruise altitude.
The meal service started shortly afterwards. First, a beverage was offered by the flight attendant I mentioned before. The other two flight attendants of the crew of three were very nice and polite.
Then, other very nice and gentle flight attendant offered Azul branded snacks from a basket:
The snacks were delicious. I found Azul's snack service superior to what you would be served in other Brazilian airlines like Latam or Gol.
Let's talk about SKY, the revolutionary Azul's live TV service found only in Brazilian domestic flights (to my knowledge). The system was really good as you could choose from several channels divided in different categories, even cable ones you would find in a Brazilian home TV set. However, you did not have access to recorded films and shows. Besides, the image quality isn't very crisp, although I don't know if this is the system's fault. The screen was controlled by buttons located on the armrest.
On the seatfront pocket you could find the safety card and the August Azul magazine.
During the rest of the flight, I entertained myself by just looking through the window. The views of the Serra Gaúcha were just breathtaking.
Around 45 minutes into the flight, we started descending towards Porto Alegre's Salgado Filho International Airport.
A dramatic situation unfolded minutes before landing. A passenger's pressure descended to dangerous levels, and he almost passed out. The flight attendants applied first aid and notified the captain, and he contacted the airport's emergency services. Because of this, we landed very quickly.
Beautiful sights of the city along the Guaíba lake could be seen on final approach.
We came into a land in runway 11:
As we taxied towards Terminal 2, I could see Terminal 1 and some planes at the gates:
We parked alongside a TOTAL Cargo 727F:
An ambulance was waiting for us:
Once we stopped in front of the terminal, paramedics came into the plane to check on the passenger. Luckily, he got off the plane walking by himself.
We got out the plane by an hybrid jetway-stair, which I have seen only in POA.
Baggage claim hall:
I didn't take any pictures of the terminal itself because of the hurry to get an Uber, but Terminal 2 is really old and worn out, and is very evident. After my Uber arrived, I got to my Airbnb after 45 minutes through Porto Alegre's heavy traffic.
This was an overall pleasant flight on Azul. I found the service to be superior to its competitors, in terms of meal service, cabin and entertainment. However, I found Azul's staff to be very inconsistent regarding treatment of the client. The gate staff and two flight attendants were really warm, nice and polite, meanwhile the check-in staff and the main flight attendant were cold and distant. The Foz do Iguaçu Aiport is everything you can expect from a small Brazilian city airport. Clean, efficient but really lacking in services and stores. The Porto Alegre Airport Terminal 2 should be demolished. Is old and worn, and is way evident.