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STT airport expedited process (porter?) #35230
01/20/2015 07:22 PM
01/20/2015 07:22 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 207
East Tennessee
Annoddddd Offline OP
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Annoddddd  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 207
East Tennessee
I've searched for a while on TTOL and I give up.

Somewhere in the past few months I've read that we can pay to be expedited through STT airport and avoid some of the Saturday crowds.

Can someone provide the details again, pretty please?

We are departing on Saturday <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" /> afternoon after a ferry from Sopers to CA.

All recommendations are welcome.

Thanks!

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Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Annoddddd] #35231
01/20/2015 07:43 PM
01/20/2015 07:43 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
Your best bet is to hire a porter, they will be waiting at the curb.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail2wind] #35232
01/20/2015 08:26 PM
01/20/2015 08:26 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 871
Louisville, KY
NoelHall Offline
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NoelHall  Offline
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Posts: 871
Louisville, KY
Real simple, and a good value if you want to avoid the long lines at Customs & Immigration (while dragging your own luggage along the way). The porters are at the curb with their carts. Verify the charge, but I think it is only several dollars per bag (plus tip). Then simply follow their instructions, which is basically they leading you and your luggage which is never out of sight.


Noel Hall
"It is humbling indeed, to discover my own opinion is only correct less than 50% of the time."

www.noelhall.com
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: NoelHall] #35233
01/21/2015 01:01 AM
01/21/2015 01:01 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 292
Perdido Key, Florida
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cbinparadise Offline
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Perdido Key, Florida
I have never had to pay duty on my purchases when using a porter. I give the porter $20 and it is so worth it.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: cbinparadise] #35234
01/21/2015 03:23 PM
01/21/2015 03:23 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 6,100
Maryland
Twanger Offline
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Twanger  Offline
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Posts: 6,100
Maryland
Quote
cbinparadise said:
I have never had to pay duty on my purchases when using a porter. I give the porter $20 and it is so worth it.


IMHO - Best $20 you can spend on the vacation. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Twanger] #35235
01/21/2015 04:12 PM
01/21/2015 04:12 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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Quote
Twanger said:

IMHO - Best $20 you can spend on the vacation. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />


Amen. Our porter save our @sses in Aug.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: tradewinds] #35236
01/21/2015 04:55 PM
01/21/2015 04:55 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,166
Tampa, FL
Dmgators Offline
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Dmgators  Offline
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Posts: 2,166
Tampa, FL
Quote
tradewinds said:
Quote
Twanger said:

IMHO - Best $20 you can spend on the vacation. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />


Amen. Our porter save our @sses in Aug.


And you guys only had carry-on!


Debbie
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Dmgators] #35237
01/21/2015 05:17 PM
01/21/2015 05:17 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
I've only used porters with checked bags. What advantage to porters afford with carry on only? You still have to wait in the customs line.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail2wind] #35238
01/21/2015 05:46 PM
01/21/2015 05:46 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
Quote
sail2wind said:
I've only used porters with checked bags. What advantage to porters afford with carry on only? You still have to wait in the customs line.

The line for Customs was 3 miles long and she brought us right up to the front of the line. We would have missed our flight without her help.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: tradewinds] #35239
01/21/2015 08:13 PM
01/21/2015 08:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
Wow, didn't know you can do that. Even with a porter we always wait in the regular line, usually not too long.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail2wind] #35240
01/22/2015 09:20 AM
01/22/2015 09:20 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,197
Toledo, OH, USA
Orange_Burst Offline
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Posts: 4,197
Toledo, OH, USA
Yes, a Porter is the way to go. Checks you in with your airline, walks you to the front of the line for customs. If they security line is long, they have walked us through a back hallway to another security where there is no line.

Also has saved us lots of money by getting over weight bags checked into the airline for no extra cost.


Colleen

[Linked Image]

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Orange_Burst] #35241
01/22/2015 10:48 AM
01/22/2015 10:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,166
Tampa, FL
Dmgators Offline
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Dmgators  Offline
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Posts: 2,166
Tampa, FL
The last few times we used the porter we still had to check in with the airline (AA) ourselves. But they did take us to the front of the customs line and to the "back door" security line.


Debbie
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail2wind] #35242
01/22/2015 11:00 AM
01/22/2015 11:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
Quote
sail2wind said:
I've only used porters with checked bags. What advantage to porters afford with carry on only? You still have to wait in the customs line.


What's the point of getting a porter if you still have to wait in the Customs line? What am I missing? <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/duh.gif" alt="" />

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) #35243
01/22/2015 11:05 AM
01/22/2015 11:05 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,001
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sail445 Offline
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Posts: 3,001
Try giving a tip it might help. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail445] #35244
01/22/2015 11:32 AM
01/22/2015 11:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
Again we only did this when we had baggage, but he took our baggage, expedited check in, took our bags to the end of the customs line, when we finished customs he took our bags to the conveyor belt. Maybe because there were only 10-15 people in line we were not told to go to the front of the line. I just don't know. The only people I see going to the front of customs is employees and wheel chairs.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail2wind] #35245
01/22/2015 11:57 AM
01/22/2015 11:57 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,905
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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JasonHelmbrecht  Offline
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Posts: 2,905
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Last week when I went thru STT all the lines were long. We had already checked in and gotten the checked luggage tagged when we realized a porter was a better idea.

The porter took all the bags for our group of 4. He escorted us PAST the customs line and had us wait for an open customs agent. Then he took the bags past customs and waited for us to check-in with the agent. Then he took us directly to security and he took all the bags to the front of the line to drop off checked bags.

All we waited for was the security line. Had we started with him right away, we would have skipped the Delta check-in line (30 minutes), the customs line (20 minutes) and the line to drop checked bags after customs (10 minutes). We gave him $5/bag.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) #35246
01/22/2015 12:01 PM
01/22/2015 12:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,001
S
sail445 Offline
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sail445  Offline
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Posts: 3,001
In the islands things always change on whim anyway.
Like the restaurants one day the wait staff is friendly and accommodating and the next day rude.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail445] #35247
01/22/2015 12:04 PM
01/22/2015 12:04 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 207
East Tennessee
Annoddddd Offline OP
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Annoddddd  Offline OP
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Posts: 207
East Tennessee
Thanks everyone! We will get a porter for sure.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: sail445] #35248
01/22/2015 12:46 PM
01/22/2015 12:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,849
Bradenton, FL
Winterstale Offline
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Bradenton, FL
Quote
sail445 said:
In the islands things always change on whim anyway.
Like the restaurants one day the wait staff is friendly and accommodating and the next day rude.


I think this is a very valid statement - I don't think you can expect the same experience every time. As for us? We just plan our airport arrivals accordingly -- and our travel days if we can. I always allow for two hours at STT.


[Linked Image]

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Winterstale] #35249
01/22/2015 01:37 PM
01/22/2015 01:37 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 483
Austin, TX
TackingAg Offline
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TackingAg  Offline
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Posts: 483
Austin, TX
Just to confirm you just find one when you drop at the airport or do you need to arrange in advance? Sounds like last minute is fine but just making sure.


~~~~_/)~~~~
"The TTOL Member Map Guy"
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Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: TackingAg] #35250
01/22/2015 02:08 PM
01/22/2015 02:08 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 764
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Cleobeach Offline
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Quote
TackingAg said:
Just to confirm you just find one when you drop at the airport or do you need to arrange in advance? Sounds like last minute is fine but just making sure.


That might depend on when you are travelling. Twice, there were no porters available but it was peak season, on Saturdays when the airport is at its worst.

We have used the same porter for a couple of years now and call ahead. (she gave us her business card) She is so busy that last time, she had an assistant working her phone and manning a gathering spot of sorts to manage her customers.

I can remember a few times, we stood in the normal C&I line but there was only a few people in front of us. For the past 3 trips, there appeared to be a dedicated agent for the porters.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Cleobeach] #35251
01/22/2015 02:38 PM
01/22/2015 02:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 928
WMASS.
J
joeandholls Offline
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Posts: 928
WMASS.
Good info on this thread.....keep this stuff coming <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: TackingAg] #35252
01/23/2015 06:49 AM
01/23/2015 06:49 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 14
Michigan
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Bigcheeze Offline
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Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 14
Michigan
Quote
TackingAg said:
Just to confirm you just find one when you drop at the airport or do you need to arrange in advance? Sounds like last minute is fine but just making sure.
Yes...just drop at the Curb, no reservations taken or needed. Daphne is the head porter. The porters will get your boarding passes, luggage tags and 'Fast Pass' you through the lines. We only use carry ons for our Family of 4...but it's the best $20 we spend on vacation.



[Linked Image]
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: TackingAg] #35253
01/23/2015 02:44 PM
01/23/2015 02:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 68
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Gailgs Offline
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Gailgs  Offline
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if we come over from tortola on the ferry dont we go through customs there..do we have to go thru customs at the airport too?

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Gailgs] #35254
01/23/2015 02:49 PM
01/23/2015 02:49 PM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,197
Toledo, OH, USA
Orange_Burst Offline
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Toledo, OH, USA
Yes, you go through customs twice.


Colleen

[Linked Image]

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Orange_Burst] #35255
01/23/2015 03:06 PM
01/23/2015 03:06 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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Posts: 5,492
An island state of mind
St. Thomas is a duty-free port, so you have to go through Customs at the airport when leaving.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: tradewinds] #35256
01/23/2015 03:31 PM
01/23/2015 03:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 312
Canton, GA
Felix Offline
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Felix  Offline
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Posts: 312
Canton, GA
The porters are definitely worth $3-5 a bag, if the customs line is long. Usually they will open up a dedicated customs line for porters and airline staff/VIPs, and this will save you tons of time. I always just check the customs line and if there are more than 20-30 people, I ask if the porters have a dedicated line and then have them take care of my bags. Can literally save over an hour's wait when it's all said and done. Then you have spare time to visit the lovely Hibiscus Cafe! LOL

Felix (kris)


* What we do in life echoes in eternity *
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: Felix] #35257
01/24/2015 03:10 PM
01/24/2015 03:10 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,835
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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St. John, USVI
STT airport was at its regular high season pace today. We went through pretty briskly in about 20 minutes carryon only, prefilled C&I form, smartphone ticket, TSA pre-check. Those with checked bags had a looong line to check their bags. The porters were going to the front of the line for C&I and baggage check. That probably saved at least 30 minutes.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: RickG] #35258
01/25/2015 12:54 PM
01/25/2015 12:54 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 237
Amityville, NY
RonP Offline
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RonP  Offline
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Posts: 237
Amityville, NY
Quote
RickG said:
STT airport was at its regular high season pace today. We went through pretty briskly in about 20 minutes carryon only, prefilled C&I form, smartphone ticket, TSA pre-check. Those with checked bags had a looong line to check their bags. The porters were going to the front of the line for C&I and baggage check. That probably saved at least 30 minutes.

Cheers, RickG


Just curious, what time? We went through yesterday at about noon, and none of the airline counters were busy, C&I was quick, and there were maybe 10 people ahead of us to leave bags by the xray machines. I was planning to use a porter but the way it looked, I didn't bother. Only problem was the departure lounge was jammed, no seats, no tables in the cafeteria, even the bar was hard to get to. Had to get a beer in a cup from the stand out in the gate area. I've never seen it like that, but we don't usually travel there/home on Saturdays.

Also, off topic, but kudos to the STT airport for the clean shiny new bathrooms on the way to the baggage claim. It looks like they are not quite done with that area but it's already 100 times nicer than it used to be.

Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: RonP] #35259
01/25/2015 01:14 PM
01/25/2015 01:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,835
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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Posts: 1,835
St. John, USVI
We were ahead of you. We got in around 11AM at the same time as the cruise ship herd was going through. There were four planes leaving around 1PM, when we were scheduled. We got on our plane at 1PM and took off at 4:30PM after having to send out for a mechanic and then having to send out for oil. All is forgiven, United gave us 2,500 bonus miles. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cloud.gif" alt="" /> I felt bad for the Canadians who were looking at rebooking two additional legs and an extra overnight at IAD. We still got home faster on the direct flight than if we had a connection.

The bathrooms outside of security are great at STT. I'm looking forward to a renovation to the Soviet loo inside security and a return of the water fountain. STT is making decent progress.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: STT airport expedited process (porter?) [Re: RickG] #35260
01/25/2015 01:19 PM
01/25/2015 01:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 237
Amityville, NY
RonP Offline
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RonP  Offline
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Posts: 237
Amityville, NY
I see. I noticed that after bag drop, half the people, us included, were peeled off, sent back toward the street, then left to a second TSA checkpoint near gate 1 and 2. Maybe they opened that up in response to the earlier "clot"? I've never seen that before.


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