"You could spend 10 days seeing all of Brazil for less than $800." Um, yes please. Azul, the Brazilian airline started by David Neeleman (of JetBlue fame) five years ago, is now making it easier for U.S. travelers not just to get to Brazil, but to see more of the sprawling country.
The carrier just rolled out an Azul Brazil Air Pass, good for 10 days of unlimited flights throughout Brazil for $299; there�s also a 21-day version for $399. To be eligible, customers must fly round-trip from the U.S. to Brazil on Azul�which offers daily flights from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, as well as connections from other points in the U.S. via its code-share partner United. With U.S. originating fares starting at $499 roundtrip, �you could spend 10 days seeing all of Brazil for less than $800,� Neeleman says.
In fact, Neeleman said in an interview, there hasn�t been a better time to visit the country in years. �Brazil is really cheap right now,� he says, noting that the exchange rate of the real to the dollar has gone from 2.2 to $1 last January to 3.6 to $1 now.
�The hotels are cheap, meals are cheap, and the [Brazilian] people are great,� he says. While the idea of airline passes is not new�not even for Azul, which launched a version of this pass in 2009�Neeleman says that Azul�s is currently the only one in the South American market.
Already travel from the U.S. is on the rise; visas issued to Americans traveling to Brazil are up, and Brazil may waive the visa requirement for U.S. citizens in advance of the Rio Olympics next year.
Azul serves more than 100 destinations, with 900 daily flights, making it Brazil�s biggest carrier in terms of cities served. Neeleman says that popular tourist destinations on the route map include Iguazu Falls, Rio, Manaus, Salvador, and Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago and marine preserve that is so spectacular, "it makes the Galapagos look like garbage," he quips. It can be reached by direct flights from Recife and Natal. Azul is also offering discounted hotel packages from its travel agency affiliate, Azul Viagens.
The pass is on sale through November 30, with travel to be completed by December 15. More information is available at flyazul.com/airpass. The pass can also be purchased through U.S. travel agencies or from Azul directly by calling its U.S. customer service line at (844) 499-2985.
Conde Nast Traveler