When they're good, they're really good. But otherwise it's going to hurt the ol' pocketbook.
In a country full of extremes and often lacking a happy medium, I guess it should be no surprise that airline tickets are just more of the same. You are either going to pay R$758 (US$465) for your round trip tickets between Belo Horizonte and São Paulo, or you will find them on a great sale for R$160 (US$98).
Our vacation flight to Argentina that I found such a great deal on leaves from São Paulo on Saturday. We saved somewhere in the neighborhood of US$1200 by not flying from Belo Horizonte. I figured we would either find a flight on sale between then and now or just take a bus there and back. It was looking a lot like we were going to be spending our first 8 hours of vacation on a bus when the flights just weren't going on sale. Yesterday was the day of truth. I was going to buy bus tickets but decided to check flights one last time. And good thing I did, since the flights were on sale for R$80 each way which was identical to the bus fare!
After spending the first 10 months of our relationship 859 miles apart, Eric and I really learned to love Airtran Airways. Several times per month they put all of their flights on sale, and we were always able to book tickets between Moline and Atlanta for $69-$99 each way. Inevitably, several of the major airlines would end up matching those prices as well. Brasil's three domestic airlines (Tam, Varig, and Gol) haven't quite got that kind of frequency or inclusiveness with their sales. But several times in the past 6 months, I have seen promotions for R$99 on one-way flights, R$48, and even very limited R$7 flights during one special sale. So if you have some time to watch the prices, are even the slightest bit flexible with your travel plans, and especially if you are flying between major cities in Brasil, it is possible to beat those horrendous prices you normally see on domestics!
And another interesting point is that sometimes tacking on domestic flights to an international flight doesn't change the price too much. My family booked an itinerary that has them flying around Brasil quite a bit and it wasn't that much more than just a straight flight in. You just never know . . .
But the happy news is there will be no sleeping on buses for the two of us on this trip! The bad news is that we are going to have to deal with the Brasilian airports which, in our experience, is rarely a painless process!