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Just back from a BVI sailing week #167326
08/07/2018 03:35 PM
08/07/2018 03:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 278
Miami, FL
Michel_Benarrosh Offline OP
Traveler
Michel_Benarrosh  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 278
Miami, FL
Hi all...

Just came back from sailing, and had my ticket through STT, back to Miami. First time I am using STT in 20 years. Read on.
This is possibly one of the worst travel memory I have, and I wanted to communicate about this.

I had to go through 1h 45 min in the line going to the US Immigration, the line starting way out of the terminal. I was like.... WHAT IN HELL IS GOING ON?? Fortunately, I did not miss my flight because I was at the airport almost 3 hours before boarding.

What was even more infuriating is that travelers using luggage porters were driven to a special line with maybe a 15-min wait, at most. I inquired to a police officer from the airport, and she said that (did you know this?) the porters have a special "deal" and their paying customers can benefit from the short line. I could not even use a porter because I only had a carry on.
To make matters worse (if even possible) the short line had SIX immigration officers working on it, while the long line had only TWO, which added to the length of the line of course.

My patience - and that of many people in my line - was running very short. We asked for a superviser and every time, the officials we asked did not answer to us, looked the other way and kept walking.
Some people started screaming and a woman who eventually missed her flight because of the line, had a nervous breakdown and started screaming insanely.
It was pandemonium at some point and no one, and any point in any time made the effort to explain to the crowd what was going on, let alone apologize.

Additionally, most A/C units still do not work (almost 1 year after Irma), and some parts are still not even rebuilt.

As you can imagine, I will never EVER go through STT again. SJU is definitely the way to go and it is much shorter than having to deal with the ferries, on top of that.

BVI Sponsors
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167327
08/07/2018 03:40 PM
08/07/2018 03:40 PM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,197
Toledo, OH, USA
Orange_Burst Offline
Traveler
Orange_Burst  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,197
Toledo, OH, USA
When we flew through STT in April, there was literally zero lines. Took 5 minutes, max, to get through security. We flew out at 4:00 on a Saturday.


Colleen

[Linked Image]

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167328
08/07/2018 03:58 PM
08/07/2018 03:58 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,413
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
Traveler
JasonHelmbrecht  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,413
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
FYI - there is no shame in giving the Red Cap (Porter) your carry-on bag and $5 to use their service. I have done it many times.

Did they have anything for TSA Pre-check or was the delay only due to immigration?


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: JasonHelmbrecht] #167334
08/07/2018 04:30 PM
08/07/2018 04:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 278
Miami, FL
Michel_Benarrosh Offline OP
Traveler
Michel_Benarrosh  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 278
Miami, FL
Delay only at immigration.
There was a TSA pre-check fortunately for me. Otherwise I would definitely have missed my flite since here was - as a consequence - a huge security line, though not as long as the immigration one.

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167346
08/07/2018 08:00 PM
08/07/2018 08:00 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,036
Charlotte, NC
N
NCSailor Offline
Traveler
NCSailor  Offline
Traveler
N
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,036
Charlotte, NC
I flew through STT a dozen times from October to May. Never waited more than 10 minutes for C&I. Most times it was less than 5 minutes. Something unusual must have happened to cause the delay.

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167350
08/07/2018 08:51 PM
08/07/2018 08:51 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 502
ski2play Offline
Traveler
ski2play  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 502
This is your report of sailing in the BVI for a week? Color me confused?

When do we get to the part about the BVI?

We have traveled 4 times post Irma through STT and never once experienced what you did. I am sorry the services at STT did not meet your expectations post Irma.

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167352
08/07/2018 09:19 PM
08/07/2018 09:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 247
Okla
ScurvyD Offline
Traveler
ScurvyD  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 247
Okla
How was the sailing? How's Peter Island?


I'd like to be a jelly fish, cause jelly fish don't pay rent.
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167374
08/08/2018 09:04 AM
08/08/2018 09:04 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 489
Kannapolis, NC
ndfaninnc Offline
Traveler
ndfaninnc  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 489
Kannapolis, NC
Wow. Sorry to hear that. We went through STT in May in less than 10 minutes. There had to have been some extenuating circumstance. Pre Irma and Post Irma has never been bad for us at STT. Certainly not my favorite airport. But not one I would have a good reason to bash. How was the trip in general?

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167396
08/08/2018 11:27 AM
08/08/2018 11:27 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 348
Pittsburgh, PA
S
Schwendy Offline
Traveler
Schwendy  Offline
Traveler
S
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 348
Pittsburgh, PA
I feel your pain. Don't let the naysayers get you down. I like hearing about bad experiences because it gives me information to help avoid those experiences on my next trip. Some people just like to hear about the turtle you saw swimming under a rainbow. Yes, you could mention some of that since your post title is a little misleading.

I lucked out on my trip in late July. No line at the Delta desk to check my bag but security was snail crawling slow! I also arrived 21/2 hours before flight. STT has always been a disaster. Before and after Irma. I have never, ever had Pre Check. Even booking with airline credit cards. It's a gigantic scam. The TSA is a disgrace. Think the loneliest loser you ever knew in high school. Every time I fly there is the body scanner and the walk through scanner. Guess which one I always go through and which one is never used? I know how to travel and empty my pockets and take items out of my bag. Still, hand frisked every time.

I had to fly from STT to JFK to get to Pittsburgh. Never again. JFK ground and air traffic closed twice for emergencies arriving and departing. The ferry Native Son was so rough I still have the bruise on my leg where my wife gripped it in sheer panic. Before we left BVI a deckhand told everyone it would be rough and if we saw him run and jump over the side to follow him. I still don't know if he was joking or serious. You don't tell passengers with scared kids something like that! Like yelling fire in a movie theater.

The customs in Road Town took well over an hour. I'm going SJU next time too. I don't know what will bring about change. Complaining on site at STT will do nothing. They have you by the b@$%s. I would write a letter to some authority back here in the states. The people of the BVI need tourists. All that I encountered were so thankful to have us. I think they need to put pressure on the first/last contacts we have when coming and going on our vacations to implement change because it does impact tourist's decision to visit or not. If you are a family with kids, tired and hungry, are you going to put up with an already long day of travel and hassle or book a Disney cruise? No I wouldn't go that far but you get my point.



[Linked Image]
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167400
08/08/2018 12:12 PM
08/08/2018 12:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 94
New Jersey
C
Catmandu Offline
Traveler
Catmandu  Offline
Traveler
C
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 94
New Jersey
I think there has been some uneasiness at STT since the Allah flags were seen flying at the airport.

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167419
08/08/2018 02:05 PM
08/08/2018 02:05 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 743
C
Cleobeach Offline
Traveler
Cleobeach  Offline
Traveler
C
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 743
STT airport defies logic.

Since 1995, we have flown thru STT more times than I can remember and what the OP described is not that unusual. I sort of cringe when people downplay certain airlines 3 hour check-in rule because they breezed thru once with no problem because yes, it can be as bad as described. Not every time but hit it just right/wrong when two or three larger jets are taking off within a short window and the crowds are epic.

We use a porter 99% of the time. In fact, we have favorite porter programmed into our phone.

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Catmandu] #167421
08/08/2018 02:55 PM
08/08/2018 02:55 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,237
Saint Thomas, USVI
CaptainJay Offline
Traveler
CaptainJay  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,237
Saint Thomas, USVI
Originally Posted by Catmandu
I think there has been some uneasiness at STT since the Allah flags were seen flying at the airport.



Nonsense, they arrested that guy he is a local mental patient. One has nothing to do with the other. Our airport suffers from a chronic staffing issues by the feds at customs and the shampoo police. Add in ongoing issues with hurricane damage and you can just count on doing the three hour thing. Breathe in and Breathe out. Some days it goes fast and then you can have a few warm expensive greenies. It is still the best air service option in the Virgins.

But wait there is more. We are getting a plane full of federal money for an upgrade. Should only take ten years to finish and a couple of indictments.

Click here to read all about it.Upgrade Plans for STT

Last edited by CaptainJay; 08/08/2018 03:01 PM.
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167422
08/08/2018 02:58 PM
08/08/2018 02:58 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 840
Louisville, KY
NoelHall Offline
Traveler
NoelHall  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 840
Louisville, KY
I always use the porters. Might seem like extortion, but it's just a couple of bucks (per bag plus optional tip). Even if I only had a carry-on, I'd still do it. On the ferry coming over, attempt to sit as close to the exit door as possible in order to be at the head of the line at C&I. They won't let anyone off the boat until all the bags have been taken off, but just stand as close to the door as possible as soon as the ferry ties to the Customs dock. I've also found arriving at the STT Airport early, like about noon, is best as the bulk of the crowd has not yet arrived. Once past TSA and Immigration, the waiting area is actually quite decent. I get some lunch in the café, a little last minute shopping ….. and the seats DO NOT HAVE ARM RESTS …. meaning I can take a nap if so inclined.


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

www.noelhall.com
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167426
08/08/2018 03:55 PM
08/08/2018 03:55 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,614
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
Traveler
maytrix  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,614
Massachusetts
I think we'll be sticking with SJU into EIS like we've done.. maybe someday when they really improve the process to make it enjoyable. All our travels through SJU have been comfortable and easy. No long lines, no waiting..etc. With a small child, that is key. If we had to stand in a long line, it would be miserable. I'd much rather pay the premium to do that and enjoy the great views along the way.

Thanks for the update Michael.


Matt
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: NoelHall] #167430
08/08/2018 04:51 PM
08/08/2018 04:51 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,413
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
Traveler
JasonHelmbrecht  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,413
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Originally Posted by NoelHall
... the waiting area is actually quite decent. I get some lunch in the café, a little last minute shopping ….


Is this true again? I flew thru STT last in January and none of that was open yet. There were a few makeshift bars setup but nothing like before.

I have flown thru SJU every month since January and it is much more recovered. Last week, they actually had a club room open again.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167438
08/08/2018 09:29 PM
08/08/2018 09:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 348
Pittsburgh, PA
S
Schwendy Offline
Traveler
Schwendy  Offline
Traveler
S
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 348
Pittsburgh, PA
The cafeteria at STT and the gift shop are both boarded up. The company that ran the cafe has two small cart type vendors set up in the waiting area but limited options. The food looked pretty "local" to me and the ready made sandwiches, a water and a small bowl of mac n cheese was $20. My recent experience at Tortola C&I wasn't due to being way back in the line. We were close to the front but they had one person who dealt with one guy's issues for 45 minutes! Then they got a second window open and took the entire line of residents before anyone else. I have no problem with residents having their own line but making the entire room wait before tanking ANY visitors is BS! Even some locals in line were saying it was never like that. I don't know what the issue was.



[Linked Image]
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Schwendy] #167750
08/15/2018 01:26 AM
08/15/2018 01:26 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 19
Y
yourcraig Offline
Traveler
yourcraig  Offline
Traveler
Y
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 19
Our burger had some soy in it, but we had a great laugh when they asked what toppings we wanted and my son said everything but avocado. You can tell he is from California. I thought the cart bar served one of the best Painkillers of the week and I hit many iconic spots. Not the best food, but they were super friendly so that went a long way.

Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167771
08/15/2018 10:38 AM
08/15/2018 10:38 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 542
Apex, NC
agrimsrud Offline
Traveler
agrimsrud  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 542
Apex, NC
My wife flew out on Saturday at 4:00. She was at STT 2 hours before the flight. Went from curb side to waiting area in 20 minutes, i.e., "normal". She texted me the usual comments that "I could have been on the boat an extra hour and been just fine". I flew out on Sunday at 4:00 and had a bag to check. I too went from curb to waiting area in 20 minutes.

This is my third trip down for the season and each trip has gone through STT. All of our experiences have been more efficient than pre-Irma. The OP obviously had a bad experience but I"m inclined to believe something must have been going on that day.


Life's short - sail more!
Re: Just back from a BVI sailing week [Re: Michel_Benarrosh] #167780
08/15/2018 01:27 PM
08/15/2018 01:27 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16,282
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Manpot Online crying
Traveler
Manpot  Online Crying
Traveler
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16,282
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
We always fly through STT and we do stick to the three hour rule..just in case. I must say, usually, we get through within half an hour but, as the day goes on, things get worse..especially as planes start leaving in the early afternoon. With the bar and food court closed we have found the temporary setup in the waiting are to be pretty good. If you dont want the local fare or burgers from the hot buffet their sandwiches are not bad at all. The same bar lady has a full bar there ..be nice to her and she is very nice back!


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