Welcome to the third installment of this five-part journey to Buenos Aires in Air Canada's "Signature Service" Business Class. For a full explanation of the whats and whys of this trip, please refer to the first segment, YYZ-GRU. It discusses all of this in some depth. It also has an extensive review of Air Canada's Signature Suite in YYZ as a bonus.
AC91 - Business - Buenos Aries → Sao Paulo - 787-9You are here
AC97 - Business - Sao Paulo → Montreal - 787-9Coming soon
AC405 - Business - Montreal → Toronto - A220-300Coming soon
Arrival at EZE, check-in, security and immigration
I catch a noon shuttle to the airport from my hotel in Ciudad Evita. I know I'm going to be here quite early, even more so because I've got notifications from Air Canada that this flight is already running 45 minutes behind schedule "due to weather" at some point in my plane's past.
I've still got more than an hour to make the connection, and I've read that Air Canada holds the Montreal flight from Sao Paulo should the flight from Buenos Aires be running late.
We arrive at the international departures section of EZE about 10 minutes past noon.
Inside, I'm not surprised to see that not only is Air Canada's check-in set up but there's a lineup. I end up second in the Priority line. The agent says check-in will open in about 20 minutes, at 12:30. He checks my vaccination record and the QR code for the ArriveCAN app.
Here's a look at the check-in hall while I wait for the agents to arrive.
They show up at about 12:30 as promised, and they quickly start dealing with passengers. The agent rechecks my ArriveCAN QR code and issues me boarding passes for all three of my flights. I haven't had a paper boarding pass in a long time.
When I open my Air Canada app a bit later, I will discover I also have electronic boarding passes for these flights there. I didn’t know the app updated those even when you check-in “in person.” This may come in handy someday.
Upstairs I go for security and immigration.
Here's one last look at the departures hall from above.
Both security and immigration are quick. The border agent is no more chatty than the one I met on the way into Argentina. And shortly afterwards, I'm airside on the international concourse. It's not very busy at this hour and is quite a pleasant facility, even if it is laid out in a snaking fashion.
A brief spotting interlude
There's not much to see at this hour, but let's see what we can.
This Iberia A350 is boarding for departure with very long lineups in the hall.
Here's a LATAM A321.
It is so nice to see The Queen at GRU yesterday and here at EZE yesterday and today. Impressive that both of these South American destinations get AC's flagship and, therefore, F service.
And finally, an Air France Dreamliner, just like the one I captured about to take off upon my arrival at EZE yesterday.
And that's about it for international metal at this hour. So it's time to head upstairs and check out the Star Alliance Lounge.
Star alliance lounge EZE
The Alliance lounge is located at the end of a hallway upstairs from the concourse and next to the hallway leading to immigration.
I scan my boarding pass, and the attendant welcomes me by name.
While the lounge is simply a rectangular room, they've done a nice job decorating it, defining spaces and making it feel calming and homey.
Here's a look at the buffet area. The food offerings don't call out to me. But I'm happy to see still sparkling water fountains because I love some sparkling water.
Here's a look at the FIDS in the lounge. I find it funny that there are separate listings for AC flights to GRU and YYZ, although they're the same flight number.
There are several single-person washrooms, and there is a shower available.
WiFi in the lounge is protected by a username and password and is fast throughout my stay. Here's a corporate shot. Geez, I've been busy.
I'm not hungry, so I just try a local beer. It's very nice. I have to ask where the bottle opener is. Spoiler: It was right in front of me at the buffet. D'oh!
A while later, I discover a secondary snacks and drinks station part-way down the lounge with nuts, snack mix, olives, etc.
The first beer was so good that I decided to try another product from the same brewery. This time it's a stout, and it's even better than the first one. I accompany it with some lovely marinated olives, one of my favourite bar snacks.
I enjoy my time in the lounge, doing some work email and writing a good part of this flight report. Ready for things to get a little meta?
While I'm sitting in the lounge, I get an email from AC saying they're "monitoring my flight" through Montreal that may be affected by snow. Great. Maybe I should delay my return to Canada by a month or so?
Fortunately, it looks like my ride up to Sao Paulo is almost here, about a half-hour out of EZE.
After a while, I'm feeling a bit peckish, so I have some olive tapenade and hummus, along with some focaccia. Again, it's the kind of bar snack I enjoy. (But then, what kind of bar snack isn't?)
My chariot arrives. And even better, it pulls into the gate right below the lounge.
A few minutes later, I have a ringside seat for the passengers deplaning and heading for immigration. Welcome to Argentina, eh?
According to my boarding pass, the revised boarding time is 4:30 for a 5:15 departure. But a few minutes before 4:00, I feel like getting up and going for a walk around the terminal before our departure. My eye catches the departures board in the lounge on the way out. It says our flight is boarding.
So I head downstairs, and as I get down there, they're calling Zone 3. It looks like they will try to make up some of the lost time on the late arrival.
I find the line for Zone 1, and an agent welcomes me up, checks my passport and boarding pass, and I'm on my way.
But first, glass jetways provide opportunities for beautiful aircraft photos.
the flight report
Flight: AC91 From: Buenos Aries (EZE) To: Sao Paulo (GRU) Date: 4/19/2022 Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Registration: C-FRTG Seat: 1K ATD (STD): 16:39 (16:30) ATA ( STA): 18:56 (19:10)
At door 2L, I'm greeted by the same crew that staffed my flight from Toronto to Sao Paulo yesterday. So I guess I've got my answer on how AC handles these flights.
For this flight, I'm in 1K, right upfront. Once again, I'll skip a full review of the seat. I offer my thoughts on the seat on the YYZ-GRU flight report linked above, and this seat is pretty much the same. It's on the other side of the plane, at the front of the cabin, and I've got the correct dual-window setup here.
Next door, Lufty is boarding at the same time as us, getting ready to head back to Germany.
Boarding is pretty fast. By 4:30, it is done, and the captain tells us we're just waiting for one more cargo door to close. They've done an excellent job making up time.
Sure enough, we push back about ten minutes later, and they play the familiar safety video. We beat our bigger neighbour.
We pass a couple of Aerolineas Argentina A330s as we taxi to the runway.
After a short taxi, we pull onto the runway and into the air above Buenos Aires, just about 20 minutes behind our posted departure time.
The moving map still has trouble with this segment. It thinks we're going to Toronto, and we're 8,500 km away. But somehow, it knows we'll be getting to where we're going in a little over two hours, despite the fact it doesn't know where exactly we're going.
Once we're above 10,000 feet, I connect to WiFi. It takes me a couple of attempts to sign in, but it stays solid throughout the flight up to GRU once I'm in. So far, I love this status benefit of a worldwide AC WiFi pass.
Unlike on our GRU-EZE flight, there's pre-meal drink service on this flight, complete with almonds for a snack. I request a Caesar.
After that, flight attendants bring down the drinks cart and serve the snack. I request the Argentine red wine to accompany it.
It's another cold main course on this flight, but I prefer this one to the GRU-EZE snack. Although cold, the roast beef and potato salad are both quite tasty.
The fruit salad is pretty much the same as the one served on the outbound segment, and it's good.
The truffle is the same. And still just as good.
After my snack, a flight attendant offers anything else, and I request an espresso. It is promptly delivered and hits the spot.
With the meal over, I make a quick visit to the lav. I'm using the solo Business Class washroom just behind the flight deck this time. And indeed, as I cross over, I pass one of the pilots, likely the reserve pilot, chatting with the flight attendants in the front galley.
There was less than an hour left on the flight, so I spent some time working on this flight report and relaxing before we started our descent into Brazil.
Shortly after my return to my seat, the captain lets us know we're about a half-hour out from Sao Paulo and expected to land just after 7:00. The scheduled arrival time is 7:10, so we appear to have caught up on any delays this aircraft may have seen over the last few flights.
Very soon, we're starting our descent into Sao Paulo.
We break through the clouds.
And a very blurry touchdown at GRU at about ten minutes before seven.
A short taxi to the gate, and we arrive at our gate very fogged up.
We disembark from door 2L, and once again, a glass jetway lets me get one last good look at my ride before we go our separate ways.
The international concourse is quite long at GRU, which means it's a bit of a hike to get to the transit security lobby. But it's a familiar experience for me because I'm a grizzled veteran of having done this same thing yesterday.
There's no lineup for security, so it only takes me about ten minutes from leaving the plane to heading back upstairs onto the international concourse.
And just like last time I arrived in GRU, we'll leave this flight report here.
Thank you for joining me for this short trip up to Sao Paulo, and I hope you'll check out the longhaul overnight flight from Sao Paulo to Montreal once I post it.
Star Alliance Lounge
Buenos Aires - EZE
Sao Paulo - GRU
A good seat, a decent meal, and arriving on time despite the flight a posted delay. It's hard to complain about that.
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Well that was quick!
Haha, yep I can't keep up!
My brain almost exploded, it's like when two mirrors are aligned haha
That's a great perk! I wish AA did the same but, I know #NeverGonnaHappen
Pretty decent-looking cold meal, except for the Covid-era plastic-wrapped bread which just looks cheap in J.
Thanks for sharing!
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