Three Days in Rio de Janeiro – Introduction


I arrived at Sao Paulo’s Terminal 3 about four hours before my scheduled departure to Washington Dulles in United Global First. I arrived a bit too early and therefore had to wait about fifteen minutes before they opened the check-in area for United Airlines.

After checking-in, I was asked some standard, U.S.-based security questions after which I headed to security – which took about ten seconds. Immigration was next and that took about fifteen seconds while my Polish passport was stamped (I used it to enter Brazil because U.S. citizens need a visa).

There are a few Star Alliance Lounges worldwide, including Los Angeles, Paris, etc., but there are also a few in South America – including Sao Paulo, which I was super excited to visit since I hadn’t yet been to a Star Alliance Lounge.

The access policy for Star Alliance Lounges is simple: First or Business Class on any Star Alliance carrier or any Star Alliance Gold card while travelling on a Star Alliance carrier. The Sao Paulo Lounge also welcomes Priority Pass members… which is a bit odd, in my opinion and diminishes the experience.

The lounge is located on the upper level of Terminal 3, past immigration and security. It is open from 12:00 – 03:00, to accommodate passengers on all of the evening flights departing to Europe and elsewhere.

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

The Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo features the following amenities:

  • Hot and Cold Food items
  • Drinks, including premium alcohol
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Relaxing room
  • PCs with internet access
  • Wireless network
  • TVs
  • Local magazines and newspapers
  • International magazines and newspapers

While I hadn’t been to any Star Alliance Lounges prior to visiting this one, I could tell the lounge represents the typical “worldly” design of Star Alliance. Because the lounge is located on the upper level of the terminal, it is “open” and doesn’t have a low ceiling – and what’s nice is that there isn’t much distraction from the terminal below.

The lounge features plenty of seating areas ranging from sleeping areas to comfortable lounge chairs to “restaurant-style” seating near the food area. The lounge is overall big and can accommodate lots of people and the lounge does tend to get full during the evenings during the late-night departures.

As you enter the lounge, you will find a big open area with plenty of seating. To the left are the restrooms and shower rooms as well as the relaxing, “sleeping” room. There is more seating in the back of the lounge, along with the main food and drink area. What’s nice about the lounge is the wide variety of areas where one can relax – it’s awesome.

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo

Star Alliance Model Airplane

Star Alliance Model Airplane

Most of the Star Alliance staff were not present inside of the lounge, but rather outside where your boarding pass is checked for access. There is also staff located near the shower rooms and the food area. In addition to the main drink area near the food area, there are also additional areas with water, coffee, tea, soda, etc. throughout the lounge for the passenger’s convenience.

The Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo is one of the nicer and more modern lounges I’ve been to, and is definitely nicer than what any airline offers in the U.S. in terms of lounges.

I like the overall concept of the lounge and how it is designed in that the seating areas are located around the food area and therefore you don’t have to walk too far with your food and drinks. An ideal, “bar-style”, area for working on laptops is located near the centre of the lounge.

Star Alliance Lounge GRU

Star Alliance Lounge GRU

Star Alliance Lounge GRU

Star Alliance Lounge GRU

Additional seating areas are located in the very back of the lounge with TVs; WiFi is available and is actually very fast, so I was able to work a bit on my laptop. Flight information display monitors are conveniently located in various areas.

Star Alliance Lounge GRU

Star Alliance Lounge GRU

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Seating

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Seating

The food is quite extensive and all of it is very delicious and fresh. I was actually super hungry since I hadn’t eaten that day anything but breakfast and therefore I consumed a good amount of the available food in the lounge and all of it was very tasty. The spread consists of soup, salads, vegetables, sandwiches, appetisers, bread, and other warm food items.

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Food Area

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Food Area

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Food Area

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Food Area

The desserts included pudding, apple crumble, cookies, and other delicious, bite-sized snacks. Other snacks and drinks are available throughout the lounge.

The drinks include soda, water, coffee, tea, juice, etc. The alcohol is composed of wine, champagne, and additional premium spirits.

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Alcohol

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Alcohol

After a delicious supper that included champagne, it was time for a shower. There are a few shower rooms available for use and there didn’t seem to be a high demand for them as there was no waiting time. Amenities provided in the shower room include towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a shower cap, and additional items.

The water pressure and temperature of the shower was excellent.

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Shower Room

Star Alliance Lounge GRU Shower Room

After a nice shower, I worked a bit more on my laptop and eventually left the lounge about ten minutes prior to boarding. The views from the lounge aren’t the best in that you can see all of the people walking and shopping, but at least you can’t hear them that much and it isn’t distracting.

Sao Paulo Airport

Sao Paulo Airport

The Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paulo is a very nice and modern lounge that is available to a wide variety of passengers, including those travelling on Star Alliance airlines and also Priority Pass members. Do note that access to Priority Pass members may be limited based on the amount of people present in the lounge. I’m happy that I was able to eat a nice supper and take a relaxing shower before my international First Class flight.

All in all, I’m excited that I was finally able to visit a Star Alliance Lounge, I can’t wait to visit the Los Angeles lounge soon since I hear it’s the best due to the amenities it provides.

Star Alliance – The Way The Earth Connects.