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St. Maarten Airport experience. #186916
03/11/2019 01:04 PM
03/11/2019 01:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
sandytntn Offline OP
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sandytntn  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
St. Maarten should be PAYING passengers to use their airport not other way around. It’s a complete disaster this past week.
On Saturday March 2nd we arrived early and had to circle for an hour waiting to land. When we did land they bussed us to the terminal and there were hundreds of people lined up out the door of customs. Needless to say, it took for ever. Luckily we didn't check any bags or we may still be there.
On Friday, March 8th we flew out. Was told Saturdays a disaster (no kidding) so should be better. We arrived 2.5 hours early for 4 pm AA flight. Checked in, customs no problem. Loaded plane early and told by pilot that we would be arriving in Charlotte early. Then the fun began, taxied away from gate and sat for more than an hour so even with pilot trying to make up time were significantly late to Charlotte. Luckily, no bags checked and was in 8th row so got off fast and was like 2nd in line at customs. Sprinted to the gate at next terminal and made flight by 4 minutes. Delay flying out and in apparently is due to one runway and no place to park planes. Also, during our delay leaving we were only 4th in line and took more than hour. Talking all small planes but ours so i think poor flight management also an issue.
Advise- if really want to go to St. Martin then don’t fly Saturday and leave at leave 2 hour layover at US airport if have connections.
And before anyone asks, weather was perfect both days and no mechanical issues. Just terrible delays.

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Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186920
03/11/2019 01:27 PM
03/11/2019 01:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 750
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SammyM Offline
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SammyM  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 750
Hi Sandytntn ... just got back home today and yes, it was kind of rough at the airport when compared what we were used to in the past. I think my wife and I had to show our passports something like five times before we got on our Delta jet so that had to be some kind of record for us! But, overall Delta did the best they could and both our landing earlier in the month and takeoff were both on time.

You did make some good points in your post. Folks should try to fly on days other than Saturday and Sunday if possible. And, absolutely a minimum of a two hour or longer layover if you have a connecting flight in the states or Canada.

But, overall thank goodness they're open because we weren't going to get there by boat! I'm sure the next time you fly to to SXM it will be better than this time.

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186921
03/11/2019 01:32 PM
03/11/2019 01:32 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Sorry you had that experience, but glad at least that you made your connection. One should always plan on around a minimum two hour connection going home.

I know someone who flew in yesterday, with checked bags, and they were out of the airport in 20 minutes. Go figure.

How was the rest of your trip???


Carol Hill
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186923
03/11/2019 01:46 PM
03/11/2019 01:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,446
MIA
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irina Offline
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irina  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,446
MIA
Poor flight management? Are you an ATC? I know the ATCs there.
That airport is the second busiest in the Caribbean after SJU. It's really a rough job and those people
are great at it.
My friend was approached by Raytheon to train the ATC here.
Cheers!
irina

Last edited by irina; 03/11/2019 01:47 PM.
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186936
03/11/2019 02:47 PM
03/11/2019 02:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 197
PnPinNC Offline
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PnPinNC  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 197
We arrived on Friday, and I have to say, the previous tent situation was better than the current setup in the terminal - at least for arrivals. It was LONG and slow - both immigration and baggage claim. ...and yes the slow line started outside the building. Took us well over an hour to get through, and we had a wheel chair in our party so we bypassed most of the immigration line. Not at all sure what to expect when we leave in two weeks... The terminal situation is a LONG way from what it once was, and in my opinion worse than the tents.

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186954
03/11/2019 03:50 PM
03/11/2019 03:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 131
Maryland
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ScottW Offline
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ScottW  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 131
Maryland
Last month we arrived on a Wednesday. flight landed 40 minutes early. No other flights arriving at that time and we were out of the airport quicker than ever. We departed on a Friday and it was a mess. Took forever to check-in and also to get through security. Downstairs at the gate was a circus. Arrived in Philly an hour late.

I can only imagine what Saturday is like.

Scott

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: Carol_Hill] #186958
03/11/2019 04:25 PM
03/11/2019 04:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,516
Ohio
Honestly, with a very small staff, I was in and out within 20-30 minutes and most of that was waiting for checked luggage. I came in on Sunday and probably would avoid Sat. if possible but I am coming back on Sat. in Nov. I expected more people working and lines open but with pretty much the only plane in, it was EASY.


J.D.
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186966
03/11/2019 05:15 PM
03/11/2019 05:15 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 227
Allentown, N. J.
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deirdre1 Offline
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deirdre1  Offline
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Allentown, N. J.
We also flew out of St. Maarten on March 8, 2019 on United and I was amazed that the correct passengers boarded their correct flights. Many people had priority boarding but were all commingled with passengers with lower priority. Those people arriving were all over the place. Strategic planning is a foreign language. On the upside we had some fantastic meals and visited with some wonderful friends .

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186967
03/11/2019 05:20 PM
03/11/2019 05:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 353
South Coast of MA
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SXMBND Offline
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SXMBND  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 353
South Coast of MA
Do you think that maybe your flight showing up early might have had an affect on the entire schedule? What about the other flights that were slotted in that time frame?

Last edited by SXMBND; 03/11/2019 05:22 PM.
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186968
03/11/2019 05:27 PM
03/11/2019 05:27 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 156
the Long Island
the captain Offline
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the captain  Offline
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Posts: 156
the Long Island
Arrived Presidents week, on that Sunday.... quick through immigration. We arrived on JetBlue at ....1 pm.

Left on the Sunday 3 pm flight. We were advised to get to the airport 3 hours early. Honestly, I wish we cut that down to 2:15 as it wasn't as bad as we expected in the terminal at all.....

That said, its tough to assign blame here. Too many variables could have played a role which may not be the fault of ATC or PJIA. . Just because the wx looks good here doesn't mean other variables weren't at play.

Originally Posted by sandytntn
Delay flying out and in apparently is due to one runway and no place to park planes.


Source? On our arrival, there were a dozen jets on the airfield near Marys Boon. They all cleared out by Tuesday. There is plenty of space. Sorry to hear your experience wasn't that positive.

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #186983
03/11/2019 06:35 PM
03/11/2019 06:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 8
Michigan
Clifford Offline
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Clifford  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 8
Michigan
Airport has a problem. People fly at 6 am to hit one of the 7 hubs serving St Martin. Those flights all show up at 2pm. Same for flights from Europe. On the way home people want to hit their connection destination by midnight. This means all the flights have to leave around 3pm. That's not the most efficient way to run an airport. The airport experience wasn't that great before Irma. Best flight I had then was the 9am flight from St Martin to Miami. There's no crowd at 8 in the morning.
Those gray walls in the terminal are temporary. When the airport is finished it will be better. Jetways from the 2nd floor make a big difference.
We flew in and out in the middle of February. It was better than experiences before Irma, but we flew in and out on Wednesdays. The air conditioning was better especially the fish-tank departure area.

Last edited by Clifford; 03/11/2019 06:46 PM.
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #187006
03/11/2019 09:57 PM
03/11/2019 09:57 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 133
AUCspouse Offline
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AUCspouse  Offline
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Posts: 133
I took the flight from SXM to Charlotte today (Monday). Everything in St. Maarten was smooth -- the airport departure lounge wasn't crowded, and lines weren't long. Of course, it's not a Saturday.

Charlotte is a different story. After U.S. immigration, there was a very long line for everyone to be re-screened by security before we were allowed to make our connecting flight. So U.S. airports have problems, too.

Last edited by AUCspouse; 03/11/2019 09:57 PM.
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #187050
03/12/2019 09:15 AM
03/12/2019 09:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 159
New Hampshire
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Hdrdr911 Offline
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Hdrdr911  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 159
New Hampshire
Have to say our recent experience at the airport was one the best we've had in over 30 years of vacationing in SXM. These folks at the airport are doing a great job under trying conditions and dont get nearly enough credit
Frankly most any issue we've had has been with an airline screwing up.


If the phone doesn't ring .... it's me
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #187136
03/12/2019 04:11 PM
03/12/2019 04:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 355
Sarasota, Florida
deputydog1157 Offline
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deputydog1157  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 355
Sarasota, Florida
I am not a world traveler and really just a vacation traveler.

Many years ago I had a part time job as a limo chauffeur in New York and a lot of the jobs were at JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and sometimes a private jet at Teterboro. Those airports were always busy, especially the international arrivals terminal at JFK, which could take up to 3 hours to get through.

I then moved to New Hampshire for a job transfer and would use the Eastern Airlines Shuttle (Wow that's showing my age) from Boston to NY on weekends because my family was still there. Once the family came up we would go to Logan for travel.

All of these major airports are always a P.I.T.A. because, let's face it, you can only fit so much water through a funnel.

We once used the Manchester airport but it was a really small airport and no modern conveniences. The buildings were more like quanset huts and you had to walk out to the plane. Fast forward many years and we flew from Tampa to Manchester via Southwest to attend the wedding of old friends' daughter. That Airport was upgraded and modernized and it was a breeze.

Last year was our first trip to SXM on a plane so we didn't get to experience the pre-Irma terminal. The temporary terminal, while not panacea was satisfactory for what they were trying to do. Again you can only put so much water through a funnel before it overflows. I only hope the airport authority continues to improve its ability to serve the traveling public with better facilities. I believe that our trip in June will be a better experience than last September but really not too concerned after seeing what the island was dealt in September 2017.



[Linked Image]
Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: Carol_Hill] #187216
03/13/2019 12:17 PM
03/13/2019 12:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
sandytntn Offline OP
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sandytntn  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
Yes, great trip. Sorry to have to leave. We did a day trip over to Saba on Monday, flew out 710 AM and back at 5 pm. Airport fine then of course, its afternoon when the bigger planes come and go that’s the problem.

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: irina] #187217
03/13/2019 12:20 PM
03/13/2019 12:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
sandytntn Offline OP
Traveler
sandytntn  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
Hey, no need to get defensive but used the airport 3 times in 6 days and 2 of 3 were horrible experience. If its too busy then to accommodate the # of flights then that is dangerous and perhaps poor management. In my opinion.

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: the captain] #187218
03/13/2019 12:23 PM
03/13/2019 12:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
sandytntn Offline OP
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sandytntn  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 36
Part of the problem is if any of the early afternoon flights are late gets totally backed up. If you can fly in early, be on earliest big flight on a busy day may have a fighting chance.

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #187334
03/14/2019 01:38 PM
03/14/2019 01:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 30
Port Huron, Michigan
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KitKat Offline
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KitKat  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 30
Port Huron, Michigan
We didn't think our Sat. March 9 flight out of PJIA was much worse than it used to be before Irma, but our experience in Charlotte was definitely worse. We had a 3 hour layover there before our final flight to Detroit, because AA changed our flight time a few weeks back. Our luggage took over 1/2 hour to come, then turn it back in, go through security, check our gate to Detroit, only to discover it is delayed an hour, from 12:15 am to 1:10 am. After waiting more time for our luggage in Detroit, plus a half hour for our shuttle, and 1-1/2 hour drive home, plus the time change that am, we arrived home at 5 am!!

Re: St. Maarten Airport experience. [Re: sandytntn] #187339
03/14/2019 02:42 PM
03/14/2019 02:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 73
Calgary, Canada
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oceanbreeze Offline
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oceanbreeze  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 73
Calgary, Canada
Flew in last Wednesday on AC. Arrival was 10 minutes late due to headwinds. It was entertaining to see the people going to St Barts demanding to be let off the plane first, only to be the first people on the bus and have to wait for half the plane to embark before getting to arrivals. For us the whole arrival experience was seamless and with no checked bags we were in our cab 20 minutes after the door on the plane was opened.
Departure yesterday was also a breeze. Arrived 2 hrs before our scheduled departure and we were checked in and through to the departure gate in 15 minutes. They boarded early and we left exactly on time.
Air Canada is a fantastic airline.


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