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Joined: 11/02/04
Posts: 237
Loc: Amityville, NY
Re: Good vs Bad SJU experience [Re: JasonHelmbrecht]
      #1593953 - 06/10/14 04:55 PM (

Thanks Jason.

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Joined: 08/01/00
Posts: 63355
Loc: Central Florida!
Re: Good vs Bad SJU experience [Re: Twanger]
      #1593956 - 06/10/14 05:01 PM (

No problem there because all is still US territory.

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Joined: 09/18/10
Posts: 5412
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Good vs Bad SJU experience [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1594086 - 06/11/14 10:41 AM (

Our experience has always been good as well. Only thing I've disliked in the past year or so is terminal A since there's so much less to choose from there, but if you can now connect between them once through security, that's now not an issue I guess.

We've gone through San Juan all but two trips (out of a dozen+). We always have left at least 2 hours between flights and this has worked well. Once AA was no longer an option, we switched to JetBlue which works great for us with a red eye, allowing us to work Friday and be on the boat by Noon Saturday.

I also love to fly and love the small Cape Air plane and views. I always have my camera out and always get some great new pictures.

Additional cost is really the only downside and in the end it doesn't end up being that much more. Maybe $300-600 worst case scenario (not factoring savings of ferry costs.etc.), but the arrival time and being in an anchorage that first night vs arriving late is well worth it!

On our return, we have a more leisurely day and can take a 4pm flight out of tortola with a 6:35pm flight out of San Juan. Typically I'd leave more time, but we always get from the plane to the gate within about 30 minutes of landing so our upcoming trip, we leaving later. And I wouldn't be heart broken if we had to spend the night in San Juan either

So in summary, for us its simple:

- $200-600 added cost ($600 worst case) for two of us
- Arrival on Island by Noon (vs 6pm or later)
- Scenic Flight (almost worth the extra cost alone)
- Longer last day
- No buffer days needed

Edited to reflect more accurate price difference. I did some looking and if we went with the lowest possible fares we could sometimes save $600 total for the airfare end to end - but I still don't find it worth it when you look at the flight times, stops..etc. Especially when that $600 is closer to $400 once you factor in all the other costs when going via ferry. So I guess the big thing is we're willing to pay $400 for convenience and extra time.


Edited by maytrix (06/11/14 10:57 AM)

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Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 122
Loc: Vail, Colorado
Re: Good vs Bad SJU experience [Re: maytrix]
      #1594143 - 06/11/14 03:13 PM (

With 10+ trips a year between hubby and I thru SJU, we also prefer SJU over the STT alternative; however, I see SJU as the lesser of two evils. Without the fabulous Cape Air, I'm not certain I would see it that way.

The fact that even McDonalds has closed its only restaurant in the SJU airport suggests to me that the SJU airport is in for some long-term problems. This seems to be supported by a 2012 US Dept of Transportation study of the US's top 50 airports indicating that SJU is one of only eight airports to have a negative growth in passenger traffic from 2002-2012. Bureau of Transportation Statistics Study (Although SJU did have one of the higher growths from 2011-2012. It will be interesting to see what the trend does in the coming years.)

I've had stuff stolen out of my luggage at SJU. I've become infuriated at the 50+ minute waits at TSA screening - when all lanes appear fully staffed, but yet they only open one lane. The airport is not clean. The airport design appears to have very little concern for passengers who have trouble walking long distances; moving walkways exist but have never been running in the 12+ years I have been watching. The USDA scan is just the essence of stupidity. I have never experienced a more over-staffed airport with as few people actually appearing to work. Half or more of the airport facilities appear to be unused, yet the two areas that are used are at opposite ends, resulting in terrible inefficiencies for the travelers. They have not done a good job of managing the construction in a way that preserves the ability of travelers to connect between the terminals. Except for the American Admiral's Club, there is no comfortable place for passengers with long layovers to wait, and as others note, the restaurant choices are pretty awful.

Yet even with all that, for me, SJU beats the alternative of STT and the ferry system. I can completely understand how a newbie would be totally aghast at the SJU facilities and airport personnel.

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