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Thread: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

  1. #1

    Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    Trip Report - July 4-14 - Part 1

    Where to begin? After 18 months of planning and anticipation, postponing from 2020 to 2021, the time finally arrived for us to make our first trip to St. Barth. Travel restrictions had eased, yet still a myriad of requirements remained.

    Departure day approached, and the process began. 72 hours from arrival in St Maarten, rt_PCR COVID tests were taken. 48 hours from arrival, EHAS forms were submitted. 24 hours from arrival, EHAS approval was received. All that is left to do is go over the details to ensure nothing is missed. Passports, check. Vaccination cards, check. Euros, check. More clothes than we would actually need, check. All is ready, with plenty of time remaining until we must leave for LAX. But alas, the airline had other plans. Four hours before our scheduled departure, the notification came through that no traveler wants to receive, our flight from LAX to MIA had been cancelled.

    After a few minutes of disbelief, the reality of the situation set it. We now had to reschedule our flights, with the only options presented delaying our arrival in St Barth by 24 hours. This means our COVID tests and EHAS approval were no longer valid, our St. Barth Commuter flights needed to be rescheduled, and they were long closed for the day. The rental car company needed to be informed so they didnít think we were a no-show. The villa owner needed to be made aware that we were now arriving a day later than planned. I needed to notify the restaurant we wouldnít be making our dinner reservation on Sunday evening.

    After reviewing the options presented on the airline website, I booked the best available option presented, LAX-MCO-MIA-SXM.. In doing some additional research, I discovered an itinerary to get us to MIA that was better, LAX-LAS-MIA-SXM. Not great, but the seating options were slightly better and the layover times gave a bigger buffer should there be a delay along the way, which there was. Although we did have Premium Economy in a 777 on the cancelled flight out of LAX on July 3rd, we ended up in Main Cabin Extra on the rebooked overnight flight from LAS-MIA, better than standard economy, but definitely not Premium Economy. However, at this point, we just wanted to get to St. Barth.

    Now that our main flights had been rebooked, I needed to focus on St Barth Commuter. I had emailed them about the cancellation, and the new arrival on Monday July 5th, but I knew they were closed and would not see the email until the morning of July 4th. Looking at their flights on July 5th, there were two with open seats, at 1:30 and 4:30. Each had only 2 seats remaining. With the reality that we could end up on SXM with no way to get to SBH should those seats sell before St Barth Commuter receives my email, I went ahead and purchased the last two seats on the 4:30 flight. This would also mean a nearly 3 hour wait in SXM after arrival, but again, we just want to get to St Barth.

    Now the BIG issue looming, COVID test and EHAS approval. We had to get new tests and submit EHAS forms before we could event check in in LAX, and our flight left at 8:30PM on July 4th. I knew rapid antigen tests were available at LAX, with results within the hour. Surprisingly, they were open on July 4th, and had appointments at 9:00AM. Appointments were made and tests prepaid. Now it was time to try to sleep knowing the next day was going to be a long one.

    Early on Sunday July 4th, we arrive at LAX and make our way to the testing site, check in, sign forms and get our nasal swabs. Now to head back home and submit the EHAS form, and wait again for approval. Within 2 hours, my wife's approval came in. My approval eventually shows up 2.5 hours after hers, and we can breathe a sigh of relief. Now itís all on the airline to get us to SXM
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    We arrive at LAX again on Sunday, which is the quietest I have ever seen it, check-in with no issues and make our way to the gate. Fast forward to Las Vegas a few hours later, and we are boarding the second flight of the trip, an overnight to MIA. After completely boarding the 787, the pilot announces there is a maintenance need to be addressed that requires the plane to be shut down. McCarran Airport does not have the ability to power the air and filtrations systems needed for us to stay on the plane, so they must de-board everyone, along with our luggage. At this point, Iím thinking they are going to cancel the flight as soon as we get off, and strand us in Vegas. But alas, we re-board 20 minutes later and depart from LAS about an hour behind schedule. Now Iím really glad I changed the itinerary, as we had a three hour layover in MIA with plenty of time to make our connection to SXM. The rest of the journey to St. Barth goes as planned, and we arrive in SBH at about 4:30PM on Monday July 5th, 25 hours later than originally planned, but we finally made it.
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    Rental car picked up from Alamo, who were very friendly and a pleasure to deal with, we made a quick stop at Marche U to pick up a few items to have in the Villa, then make our way to the East end of the island. I had made reservations for dinner at Eddyís for 7:30pm, and knew we would not make it, so called them and pushed the reservation to 9:00pm.

    Upon arrival at the Villa, we finally felt like we could relax. We stood on the deck enjoying the view of Grand Cul-de-Sac and the gentle Caribbean breeze.
    IMG_20210705_181748860_HDR.jpg

    A short time later, we make our way to Gustavia, find parking and leisurely walk to Eddy's, enjoying the quiet streets and cool evening breeze. After a wonderful dinner (Codfish Fritters, Local Tuna Platter, Seared Wahoo), bottle of wine, and fabulous service, we end the dinner with a Chocolate Lava Cake and two Lemoncello's.
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    After just a few hours in St Barth, we already knew we wanted to come back, despite what it took to actually get here.

    To be continued........

  2. #2
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,521

    Re: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    I look forward to chapter 2.

    Life is good.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  3. #3
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,207

    Re: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    You deserve a medal. Well done.


    Andy

  4. #4
    Jim Kelly-Evans is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2010 Philadelphia and Fire Island, NY Posts: 1,126

    Re: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    You certainly earned that Lava cake reward. Enjoy your time on the island!
    "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy." - Dorothy Parker

  5. #5
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,045

    Re: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    . . . a happy start, even if delayed.

  6. #6
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 55,354

    Re: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    And you persisted! We have family in SFO and we have found the TW connection to be the best option. Of course that was a few years ago and all schedules have changed.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party Memorial -- June 5, 2023

  7. #7
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 11,317

    Re: Trip report - July 4-14, 2021 - Part 1

    Well done.
    Persistence pays off!
    You are in your HAPPY PLACE!

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