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Apr 22, 2011 06:55 PM

Rio - Jobim (International) airport - has the food/beverage after going through security improved in the last few months?

Okay, we love Rio. We LOVE Rio!!! But the airport is pathetic. The one time we checked in, went to the adjacent hotel for food and drink before going through security, we were in line for an hour and came close to missing our flight. Since then we go through security, go upstairs, maybe get a snack from the snack bar and take it to the nearby bar. When we were there in October, that bar was closed and there was nothing to take its place. For us it's really important to get there early on the chance that we hit some major traffic problems. We don't have access to an airline club lounge. Has anything improved in the last six months? I sure hope so. thanks in advance.

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  1. c the government has some plans in the coming years to overhaul the airports in the country, but its more on the 10-15 year scale. Galeão never really handled much traffic for many years -- just international flights and then late night budget airline flights, that is changing, but still SDU is much larger. I don't know about Terminal 2, but for Terminal 1 I came to the same conclusion about getting food from the snack bar when needed, but I mostly grab food outside security. The snack bar was open in January, but not the bar (in March I went through GRU -- Cumbica). Infraero doesn't even discuss food inside security, just says there is a food court in either terminal (3o piso in Terminal 1, 2o piso in Terminal 2 for others who read this later).

    Security and in particular passport control have seemed quicker recently, the biggest issues I have had is actually with check-in which is real pain when you are connecting from a domestic flight as it comes in when busiest (and you cannot e-check-in if domestic and international are on the same itinerary, if you put it on different itineraries you can e-check-in but still need to stay in line to check bags again :-( ).

    1. c I caught a bit more on airport rennovations today. Apparently they are not being conducted directly by Infraero, but instead companies are being give the opportunity to bid on the work and receive airport concessions in return. And it sounded like the project is well behind schedule, with none of the companies selected yet (although BSB which was included did appear to be under construction already when I went through there last). GIG looked to be #4 on the list and there was a mention of upgrading the departure lounges. So you can probably expect more concessions in the future (using Cumbica as an example) probably in the departures area, but its likely going to be tied to the construction and I would give it some time. BTW in Sao Paulo its still better to eat outside of security because there are more options and even with a bit more selection, the prices in the departure area are ridiculously high (many of the concessions being run by larger companies).

      1 Reply
      1. re: itaunas

        Thanks. I won't be holding my breath :) If there were just someplace to sit and have a drink. Or, heck, just to sit other than at the gate. And thanks for all the other info. Bob loves beer; I'm the one always in search of Antarctica :)

      2. c definitely some food changes at Galeão terminal 1 in the past while. Someone was complaining about no bar in departures, but the upstairs snack bar I mentioned below has increased their selection of liquid refreshments -- beer, wine, cachaça (but still pretty basic food) and seems to have increased the traffic there. They are talking about moving the arrivals free shop upstairs before the World Cup to make it easier to get out of customs (and means they are still working on changes, although it doesn't show). On the 3rd floor there is a new bakery with a wider selection in front of the sit-down buffet restaurant, looked decent in the morning, but am hoping they will still have something fresh in the evenings to take on the plane. The café palheta lanchonete in the front of the food court is shuttered, as well as the counter I think (?) they ran in domestic departures. This leaves the domestic departures lounge with no refreshments (I didn't see any at Laselva livraria, although they do have drinks/snacks outside security) -- not a huge deal because getting through security for domestic flights is quick. The Air Cafe Palheta remains open in front of the viewing window on the 3rd floor and the Restaurante Tropical seems to have reopened with a different look or something else changed. Terminal 2 seems mostly unchanged outside security, although I haven't been through either of the departure lounges there in a while. The palheta closure happened after some some action were taken by local 'fiscais' on several of the restaurants regarding food storage there over the winter.

        Have you checked out, has a decent restaurant search page (bairro/tipo/etc) which isn't complete but seems to be growing quickly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: itaunas

          c oliver the bakery counter is Demoiselle and is part of the restaurant of the same name. Like the restaurant its a bit pricier than other lunch counters, but had a decent selection and was fairly fresh when I ate later in the evening (bolinho de aipim c/carne seca). Anywhere else I would have been critical of the fry job, but it was tasty and good for Galeão (last time through it was raining cats and dogs _inside_ the airport). They also have a massive chrome snake head draft system for Itaipava chopp. No idea the prices though and they have "torres de chopp" (beer towers) in the Demoiselle lounge on rotating stones.

          The person who was looking for a bar inside security in Terminal 1, at least near the American gates, should be better off now. There is a lunch counter open now with a full complement of liquors and aperitifs, it seems to stay open until the last flight leaves and does more bar business than food. My snack bar upstairs has since become the most popular place in the airport particularly with a lot of flights delayed, but nothing there has changed since October. The folks there mentioned another lunch counter you could reach down a long hallway (toward the Delta gates?), but I bailed before reaching my destination.

          I spent a few days in Catete recently too and meant to use the wikirio for some suggestions, but went mostly on "rumo." Mean to post some notes, but I think what I scribbled down got left behind when I tried to optimize my packing so I'll have to recreate something.

        2. Okey dokey :), we're heading back to Rio in September. We haven't been down since May 2012 and it was still quite awful. Luckily through our credit card we had access to the United lounge which was wonderful. Had it gotten better? I'm hoping with World Cup just months away that it has.

          itaunas, thanks as always. Don't suppose you're going to be around the 19th to the 29th? We're also spending not quite a week in Buzios.

          3 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            c oliver I am headed to Brazil this month, but back to the US before your visit. Flying in through Galeao, but out via Cumbica. I noticed the thread on Buzios which isn't my favorite, but I haven't been there in ~10 years. The last time it came up on the board someone had one or more interesting recommendation.

            It sounds like you do your flying out of Terminal 2 (United/US Air) and usually I only do TAM domestic connections there. I think the Galeao management rights are only now going out for auction, so I really doubt a whole lot has changed. In Terminal 1 they changed things around with arrivals, the free shop, and customs and I didn't encounter torrential rain inside, but no big changes. Outbound passport control has also been quicker most times. The lunch counter across from the duty free in T1 International Departures (American gates) has been busier each time I go and increased their selection. However, I mostly try to eat before I get there, and grab something from demoiselle mentioned above or dinner at the churrascaria at the hotel. A lot of the stands use a common commissary, so that leads to some overlap at least for the bakery goods.

            1. re: itaunas

              c oliver so American and Delta as well as KLM and I think Air France have now moved to Terminal 2. It sounded like BA was still operating out of T1 and of course Gol is still based out of there. The Infraero folks wouldn't give me any information about what to expect after construction, except that the airlines that had moved weren't going to move back ("they have other plans"). My rough guess is they will use the gates in T1 for new International landing slots during the Cup and leave the long term plans up to the person who wins the contract. (BTW, GIG wasn't a big part of the cup plan, places like Viracopos, as well as other airports like Receife and maybe even Manaus figured into it.)

              What gates do you usually fly out of T2? I spent more time than intended in the TAM lounge and we were blocked off from a restaurant at gates 30/31 which appeared to have full meals (self service). I would have pinned it on time of day, but we ended up back in the terminal closer to Noon and it still was blocked off. I wonder if they could move the International departures barrier like they do in Sao Paulo and open that at night, but there is no information from Infraero suggesting that. Infraero mentions Casa do Pao de Queijo and Viena (presumably the chain) near the airport clubs in International departures, but no full service food mentioned.

              There were a couple of facelifts in the 2nd floor food court. Is Paneria new or just updated? I liked some of the things they had, but decided to pick up salgadinhos next door which was decent.

              1. re: itaunas

                Great info, buddy! I don't remember any of our gates just always glad to get out :) Last May upstairs there was, IIRC, just that snack bar and a bunch of metal tables and chairs. The nearby bar has been closed a long time. Our first time flying out of GIG six years ago we made the mistake of going over to the adjacent hotel for drinks and something to eat. What a mistake. The security line was insanely long and slow and they were finally paging us :( So now we clear security immediately and then have two or three hours to hang out. (Reluctant to get headed to the airport to late in case of wrecks or even worse traffic.) So we DO have those club passes. It also sounds like T2 could be a mess with that many airlines flying out of it. Ah, yes, the joys of international travel. Thanks as always for your GREAT info. You're not in the travel business, are you??? :)

          2. Here we go again :)

            Heading to Rio in mid-Sept. and am wondering STILL if GIG has improved since World Cup. Here's a link that's supposedly current by there's no indication if these are past security. No passes this year plus the last I checked there were no Star Alliance airlines with clubs at GIG.


            So, itaunas, it's you and I again :) Any news to report? That airport MUST be better than a year ago. Please tell me that's true. Thanks as always. PS: We're arriving 9/18 and departing 10/7 if by chance you're there.

            4 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              c oliver the airport is improved from 3 years ago (no rain inside), but there are mostly minor improvements in the last year. The transfer of management occurred in August, so nobody has been making major investments but they are expected from the management company and concessions for the Rio Olympics.

              There is a snack bar on the lower level of Terminal 2 which currently has most of the US International departures and possibly a smaller one on the main departures floor.

              I think Terminal 1 still has the better sit down food options if you have a layover, although I simply took the bus to a shopping center on a recent long layover (not certain my food was any cheaper, but probably a bit better).

              If you have Red Carpet club access, I think you can go to the GOL part of the Smiles club (American has a separate physical space to the left of the GOL desk) on the lower level. Amex Platinum should also have access to the same GOL club, as well as a separate lounge on the lower level if you have Priority Pass.

              1. re: itaunas

                Hey you! We're in Rio til 10/7. If you're going to be here, email me and maybe we can get together. After all these years :)

                I'm pretty sure we fly out of terminal 2. With our Chase/United credit card we get two passes to their club but it does NOT include that Smiles club. Gratefully, as I was doing my poor-pitiful-me act another passenger offer us passes and the front desk person kinda went what the heck. It's a GREAT club and I may see if we could pay a fee for admittance. Other than that I guess we'll see what if anything has changed after going up the elevator :) Thanks as always, my CH friend.

                1. re: c oliver

                  c oliver, I returned to the US at the beginning of Sept. We do seem to miss each other by a couple of weeks.

                  I was told they maybe scanning your passports at the check-in counter and fast tracking some passengers directly from the X-ray machines to the gates without stopping with passport control. Certainly wasn't the case when I left, but regardless its a lot faster than a few years ago (and when they are on "greve").

                  1. re: itaunas

                    Hi, itaunas! One of these days we're certain to be in the same hemisphere at the same time :)

                    We shall see what we shall see. A friend turned us onto a true French bakery near our apt. in Copa. They have really great looking sandwiches on true baguettes!!! But our flight leaves right about 9 so food isn't really an issue. If they'd just have some damn place to sit comfortably...and have that one last caipirinha :)

                    I think we'll stroll down to that Smiles lounge and see if some friendly person offers us passes again. It's so nice. Even had little warm mini-quiches. I wrapped up a few, took them on the airplane so I had that for my dinner and didn't mess with waiting.

                    My original complaint remains the same. It's downright embarrassing that a major city like Rio has such a pathetic airport. Ah well, love it despite that.
                    Best and thanks, c