La Paz to Cape Town: Avianca Business Class and Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport

This a four part series covering our Business class trip from La Paz, Bolivia to Cape Town, South Africa.

  1. La Paz- The Lounge VIP
  2. Avianca Business Class to Lima and Sumaq VIP Lounge
  3. Avianca Business Class to Sao Paolo and Star Alliance Lounge
  4. South African Business Class to Johannesburg and SA Premium Lounge

We were excited to be boarding our first business class overnight flight particularly so because Avianca’s plane was an A340 with lie flat seats in a 2x2x2 formation. We were again in the front of the cabin in seats 1A and 2A.

We both enjoyed a glass of champagne before take off.

Avianca Business Class Lima to Sao Paolo Champagne

Dinner service commenced shortly after. I opted for a braised chicken with dumpling, carrots and mashed potatos.

Avianca Business Class Lima to Sao Paolo Chicken
Avianca Business Class Lima to Sao Paolo Chicken 2

Jess had the spinach tortellini with ricotta in a cream sauce. Both came with a Greek(ish) salad with feta, red pepper and hearts of palm which was surprisingly good. 

Avianca Business Class Lima to Sao Paolo Pasta

For dessert there was Tres Leches cake with a caramel sauce. I also had a mug of chamomile tea to make sure I felt violently overfull.

Avianca Business Class Lima to Sao Paolo Dessert

I haven’t experienced lie flat seats before and though it’s obviously not a real bed – you can feel and tell that you are lying on a seat - both Jess and I enjoyed a peaceful and short night of sleep before an early awakening for landing in Sao Paolo. 

Arrival to the Sao Paolo airport was disorienting. It was 5a Brazilian time but 3a according to our internal clocks.

The airport itself is concrete and grim looking. We were the only members of our flight moving onto the international terminal and the long corridor was fetid and abandoned.

As we rose up the escalator to Sao Paolo’s new international terminal we felt the welcome blow of cool, dry air conditioned air and the echo of the empty space. It would be seven hours until the Star Alliance lounge opened at noon.

We found a slightly less crowded corner of the terminal and Jess wrapped herself around a pair of armrests to sleep on a set of row seats. I put on my down jacket, earplugs and eye mask and lay down on the tile floor with a bag as my pillow. Astonishingly, I slept. When I awoke almost three hours later, Jess was still asleep and the terminal had filled up around us.

The air was filled with flight announcements and crying babies. I could smell coffee being brewed. I left a note for Jess and walked thru the terminal to a Starbucks where I ate breakfast. Jess joined me a half hour later and we sat at our laptops working until the lounge opened at 12p.

The new international terminal was built partially to hold an entire new set of premium lounges which take up the entire second level over the terminal’s shopping area.

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo Entrance

The Star Alliance lounge itself is a massive and airy space with a long glass wall overlooking the shopping area.

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo Wall 3
Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo Wall
Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo Wall 2

It has a variety of seating options from bar seating, café setups, couches and easy chairs.

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo cafe
Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo cafe 2

There is also a separated working area with chairs designed for laptops.

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo Working Area

There was a separate area for periodicals with a coffee machine and other beverages.

Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo Coffee
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo

The food selection was extensive including both South American and Brazilian food as well as general snacks and hor doerves and desserts.

Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo food
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo Food 2
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo food 3
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo food 5

The beverage selection was excellent with standard coffee, tea and soft drinks as well as sparkling water, several wine selections and a full self-service bar.

Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo Drinks
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo drinks 2
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo drinks 3

The lounge also offered showers which both Jess and I took advantage of. A bell called a lounge staff member who held our passports while we showered. 

Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo Bathrooms

The massive rain water shower was one of the best we’d used in South America. Jess used a hair dryer for the first time in months.

We both settled in on our laptops with movies and work for the next eight hours until our flight to Johannesberg. 

Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo plate
Star Alliance Lounge at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paolo work

At this point Jess has been pretty much completely ruined for every traveling economy ever again.