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I have the flight: CMB to DXB to GRU to PTY all sold by single ticket through Emirates. GRU to PTY is a codeshare by Emirates operated by COPA airlines (CM702). I will be arriving around 5PM at GRU and departing at 1AM (about 8 hours layover). The arrival and departure is both from Terminal 3.

I've read that at GRU, the COPA airlines desk is behind immigration and I'm trying to transit without VISA.

How can I get the boarding pass at GRU without going through immigration at Terminal 3? Is there a transfer desk? Is this 100% guaranteed way of getting a boarding pass?

I think because of the codeshare, I won't be able to do web or mobile check in.

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  1. When you check in with Emirates in Columbo ask all these questions. Make sure they understand that you can't enter Brazil. If you are lucky, you get all the boarding passes there. If not you can execute the steps below until you have them.
  2. Do the same thing in Dubai. There WILL be an Emirates service desk. Go and ask for a boarding pass or the procedure how to get one in GRU. Generally the staff in Dubai will be better informed and have more resources than in Colombo. Again, if you are lucky they can issue the boarding pass there.
  3. Try online check in with Copa 24 hours before the departure in GRU (wherever you are at that time). Make sure you have the mobile app downloaded, you have created and registered an account and you have associated the Copa booking reference with your account before the trip. If you are lucky, you can check in and get a boarding pass that way.
  4. Once in GRU look for an Emirates agent when you exit the plane. If you are lucky there will be some standing at the gate. Grab them and ask about the boarding pass for your next leg. They should be able to tell you what to do. Make sure they understand that you cannot enter Brazil and go to the Copa check in counter. If you manage to get instructions, follow them. You may have to be insistent: don't let the agent brush you off.
  5. Find a Copa agent airside. There may be a service desk, but it's not very likely that they a) have one and b) will staff it since they are only operating two flights a day. If you can't find a desk or location, ask at the information (if there is one).
  6. If you can't find anyone call Copa and ask them what to do. Make sure you have a phone that's charged and works in Brazil and that you have the number already in your contacts. If you can't use a cell phone connection, you can try WIFI calling.
  7. If you still don't have a boarding pass, go to your departure gate and hang out there. At some point someone from Copa will eventually show up. Approach them as soon as the gate is staffed and they are logged into the local computer system. These are gate agents and gate agents can and do issue boarding passes.

Is this 100% guaranteed way of getting a boarding pass?

Nothing is guaranteed. Stating the obvious here: you are travelling a very complicated itinerary at one of the worst possible times for travel. Rules & processes are changing quickly and staff and information systems have a hard time keeping up. The information from today may not be valid in two weeks any more. Like it or not: This trip involves a non-trivial amount of risk and you need to decide for yourself whether its worth it.

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  • I have now called Emirates 5 times and also COPA 2 times and also provided the information that I can't enter Brazil. All of the agents, the last Emirates agent put me in a long hold because I think he was contacting COPA, told me that all of the boarding passes will be provided in Colombo (the origin point of the journey) and he said not to worry because he just double checked it for me (I asked him how sure or if there was a guarantee, he said dont worry). How trustable is his information? – zwdev2 Mar 12 at 19:26
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    @zwdev2: no one knows. When I flew to Germany I asked Lufthansa 3 times about Covid testing procedures at Frankfurt airport: we got three different answer and all three were wrong. Given what Emirates said, chances are that you will be fine. The steps above are in case all previous attempts have failed. While the chances of a total disaster are small, they are not zero, so you should prepare as much as possible for as many potential scenarios you can think of. – Hilmar Mar 12 at 19:56
  • @zwdev2 I don’t think getting the boarding passes will be an issue. As shown in this answer, there are lots of options to get the boarding passes along the way, and if you don’t get all of them in CMB you will probably be able to get them in DXB. If that still fails there are quite a few ways to get it in GRU. What I would worry a lot more about is not being allowed to board at all because they consider you don’t meet entry requirements for PTY due to your PTY-NAS flight being on a separate ticket. YMMV but be prepared for trouble in that regard. – jcaron Mar 13 at 12:43

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