I recently returned from a visit to South America, which I set out upon for an opportunity to brush up on my newly gazetted Portuguese language skills.
This necessitated going through the hub airport of the entire continent, São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), which services the greater São Paulo metropolitan area – a megalopolis so enormous it matches Mega City One of Judge Dredd fame, and has the gridlock traffic to match.
Prior to my return to Canada, I had the opportunity to visit the Espaço Banco Safra Lounge, and let me tell you, it was an entirely adequate experience in every sense.
Espaço Banco Safra Lounge São Paulo – Entry & Access
The Espaço Banco Safra Lounge is located in the VIP lounge space at the top of the escalators at the very front of Terminal 3. The access is located right behind the set of duty-free shops which immediately follow the security check, but before the other shopping areas which lead into the rest of the terminal.
If you’ve never been to South America before, and Brazil in particular, it might be disconcerting to have to go through multiple shopping areas in every airport. After many visits, I’ve learned that the country is notorious for putting duty-free shops in every airport, with hawker salespeople looking to wave down the unwary traveller at every opportunity.
As a result, it’s pretty much always in your best interest to relax far away from the high pressure sales pitches in one of the lounges.
In this case, I was fortunate to have access because I had used eUpgrades to bump my Air Canada Premium Economy (Flexible) fare to full business class.
Passengers travelling in business class or higher on a Star Alliance airline can enjoy complimentary access to the lounge, which used to be branded as a Star Alliance Lounge. It’s also listed as available with Priority Pass; however, only between the hours of 11pm and 2pm.
Unfortunately, the front desk staff weren’t too helpful at first. When I approached with my Priority Pass card in hand, the staff’s first reaction was asking if I spoke Portuguese.
While I’m fortunate enough to speak the local language, this would be troublesome for a foreign traveller who didn’t speak the language, and is particularly odd in an airport where even the perfume sales people speak English superior to my Brazilian…
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