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Brazilian airport police seem to be on strike all the time, which slows down entry. When can we expect normal airport conditions?

In Brazil, federal police handle immigration issues at the airport. Those airport police have staged numerous work stoppages throughout 2004 over salary disputes, causing major disruptions to airports--especially in Sao Paulo. In addition, a Brasilla decision to begin fingerprinting U.S. visitors, in reciprocity to U.S. policy, added considerably to the delays; federal police must do the work of taking fingerprints and pictures of passengers.

Federal police in Brazil oversee immigration services at airports and seaports. The strike also disrupted export and import activities. They were seeking an 85% pay raise. Passengers reported two-hour delays in passing through security.

Much to the relief of travelers arriving in the country, the latest strike ended in May and passengers have been passing through with fewer problems, says a spokesperson for the Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo.

According to Francisco Garisto, president of the National Federation of Federal Police, the Brazilian police union decided to suspend the strike after the government opened negotiations. Whether talks break down in the future remains uncertain. The union says the government's willingness to open a dialogue reduces the chances for more work stoppages. "I see no problems," the union leader says.

Isn't there an easier way to check luggage for frequent travelers?

There really is no easy way to check luggage in advance, but many frequent travelers are members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program, which reserves check-in lines for its members, says Martha Pantin of American Airlines. For American's U.S. flights, passengers can check in through the regular check-in line or at the curb where they also get their boarding passes by submitting information in an automatic machine, says Pantin. Continental passengers can check in their luggage four hours prior to takeoff, says Gladys Bayo-Rivara, regional planning manager at Continental. Varig's frequent-flier program allows passengers who qualify to use miles for certain extras, including having luggage checked at a ticket office 24 hours before departure.

At Mexican airline Aeromexico, passengers balonging to the carrier's Club Premier frequent-flier program must check in their luggage as do other passengers, although they do so quicker thanks to a special line reserved for them, says spokeswoman Anita Carillo.

"There is no easier way for frequent travelers to check their luggage unless they become a Club Premier Member," Carillo says.
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Title Annotation:Ask The Concierge
Author:Belone, Aisha
Publication:Latin Trade
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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