Brazil’s Gol Is Changing The Schedule Of Every Flight In April, And Customers Must Rebook

Gol, the American Airlines partner in Brazil, says it is changing the schedule of every one of its flights in April and customers have to rebook. If any readers have direct experience with Gol itineraries for April I’d love to hear how it compares.

The company’s Sales Director, Renzo Mello, removed the doubts that the market started sending to PANROTAS as soon as the company announced that all passengers with tickets for April will have to access a link and reschedule their flight.

This is because the entire network was affected, all destinations operated by the company. “Sometimes the time difference can be small, five minutes, but that sets up a new flight,” he explains. Taking all customers to the site is also a way for Gol to be sure that this customer wants to continue flying and help with future adjustments.

So far Gol is taking this approach for April only but “is analyzing the behavior of the market day by day and new adjustments can be made.” With a population two-thirds the size of the U.S. and less testing, Brazil is reporting a 7-day moving average of around 70,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per day. The ‘Brazil variant,’ similar to the South African strain, brings with it worries of re-infection. Some believed that Manaus, Brazil, for instance had reached herd immunity earlier in the pandemic but suffered significantly again from the P.1 virus mutation.

Gol is contacting customers for whom they have e-mail addresses or phone numbers for text with a rebooking link. They’ve reduced the number of flights they’re operating from 600 a day at the end of the year down to 200. That means a lot of flights have been cancelled. And with Covid-19 restrictions many passengers are cancelling travel.

Customers who booked through a travel agent or third party will need to work through their agent to rebook if their itinerary cannot be accessed on the airline’s website. They are only offering rebookings online, and is not offering telephone support.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — Our first post-vaccine international trip is planned for Brazil in May ($500 roundtrip AA Business class, upgradeable to First). Now I am beginning to wonder if that is a good idea?

  2. Actually they report they are down to 355 daily flights with 80% load factors. They are fighting off bankruptcy and have been reducing current fleet and future orders. I hold some stock in GOL and it’s been an interesting ride in the past 12 months.

  3. @Gene. As someone who has not seen his second home in Brazil and is aching to go back after last being there in January, 2020, I think you are really risking a lot to think you can get there in May and feel comfortable. The issues are multi-fold. Cases there are skyrocketing. S.P. state as an example is going into complete lockdown on Monday despite Bolsonaro not caring what anyone does and thinking the virus is a hoax. There is no concise national plan. They have no vaccine plan and barely secured anything going forward for its citizens – with Bolosnaro scaring people from vaccines by saying “It’s not my fault if you turn into an alligator.” They will be lucky to get the Chinese vaccine at this point, maybe in our summer, but will take many months if not a year to get it widely distributed. Also, the new variant, as seen in Manaus, a place that should have had herd immunity, is running all over the country now and reinfecting people yet again. Finally, if you require hospitalization, good luck. If cases continue to rise like this the hospitals will be overrun in a few days. Even in good times many of the cities you need to be very careful to which facility you go to if god forbid you get sick. An example is Albert Einstein hospital in S.P., great hospital, but good luck getting in now as the entire country is in a free fall. Many of the other hospitals? You would not even want to go near them.

    Brazil may well find itself isolated from the rest of the world come the northern summer. It is well on the way to becoming the last ground zero of surges, infections, deaths, and new variants. It’s a fantastic country, beautiful places, and I hope people discover and give it the chance it deserves. But this is not the time unless you have vital business, family or other needs. A holiday there right now…wow…good luck.

  4. Stuart,
    Brazil bought 100 million doses of the JnJ vaccine but their deliveries are targeted for the 2nd half of 2021 which was specifically tested in Brazil and S. Africa.
    Brazil has indeed badly mismanaged covid but continental Europe and Canada have similar vaccination rates.
    The problem for Brazil is that summer is over and cases will likely go up just because people are going back indoors in SP and south while the northern hemisphere saw cases go down as people went outdoors and that will likely be true as well.
    If Italy is still struggling w/ managing covid a year after it all started, Brazil will be even worse and there are cultural parallels between the two.

  5. @ There is more to the vaccine order you cite as local states are trying to order on their own and bypassing the Federal Govt, drawing the ire of Bolsonaro. Many state leaders are currently talking to the Chinese or looking for other sources. Doctors have also been contacting my friends and neighbors and informing them that they may soon get private shipments and people can pay to get them early. One was told to expect to pay a 1k reals for a couple. I know a family in Rio that paid and got the Oxford vaccine for everyone a month ago, too bad it’s weak against the Brazil variant. It’s the Wild West there in terms of vaccines now. Bottom line is that it will be 2022 before much of the population gets vaccinated. But the wealthy are already starting to get them. The ways of Brazil, unfortunately. I fear that the country will be all but isolated from the world until next year some time and collapse the economy even more. You can’t believe the number of friends there who lost their jobs months ago at prominent companies and with no near future prospects. Another friend shut down their architecture firm, impacting 15 people. Far more than the U.S. and Europe, Brazil’s economy will take years to recover from this in that professionals are being impacted as much as travel, restaurant, entertainment sectors. The point to this article being that GOL is clearly reacting to even more than just a surge. All the carriers there will become much smaller for years or just not survive. There is no telling the humanitarian disaster that could ensue there, and for this I am sad and concerned..

  6. They’re all it. Scam airlines

    Swiss airlines did that to me… cancelled all flights for April offered a refund or down grade on a codeshare with no refund, I took the refund and rebooked the codeshare myself only to have the codeshare cancel, Swiss to re-instate their flight 3 days later and request $44,000 to rebook the pair of $7k first class tickets.

    I’ll let you know the legality of it as I’m going to sue them.

  7. @Stuart
    Please define what “vital business, family or other needs..” would justify traveling in a pandemic.

  8. @Dave I’m not your mother or your secretary. I’m sure with some thought you can figure it out.

  9. @Andrew—same thing w TAP. Canceled my $1200 biz class flight SFO-LIS for this summer. No refund, only credit for future. Checking online I saw they were still selling the flights for same dates for $800 more. After more than a week considering my trip credit request, I disputed w cc company. I’ll sue if I have to. F^*k TAP!

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