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Thread: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

  1. #1
    joshb8403 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jul 2021 Posts: 2

    SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Just arrived for our first trip to St Barths! All of the planning and research paid off and we are enjoying a full week on the island

    We flew JetBlue to Sint Maarten direct and connected with WinAir for our final 15min flight to St. Barths. Jetblue flight departed Boston, MA on time and landed at SXM a few minutes late. Once touching down at SXM we were shuttled to the terminal where we saw a line for "transfers". We also flew with only carry-on luggage so we could use the transfer line. We got in this line and the woman at the end told us that since we didn't have our boarding pass that we couldn't use that line and made us go in the normal line for immigration and customs. We kept asking people where we transfer for a flight with WinAir but they kept leading us out of the air-side part of the terminal and into the main departures hall at noon on a Saturday. You can imagine what that looked like, hundreds of people checking in for their flights. Finally scramble to the front of the line to the WinAir desk and she printed our boarding pass. We needed to then go through security AND immigration with hundreds of people. By some miracle we made a later flight but it was an unnecessary stress to start off the trip. I know there are VIP services to assist people during they transfer but it was expensive and our connection was too tight.

    For us we will skip SXM next time and go with Tradewinds through San Juan

  2. #2
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,519

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    We have made that very same decision. Nicer way to start vacations and without angst.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  3. #3
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 1,322

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Tradewind our choice as well, less stress to fly with TW after connecting thru SJU. Enjoy your time on SBH ! Adventures to be had !
    Sorry you had difficult time at SXM, many recent posts on the Forum explaining the most recent hints at navigating SXM with or without checked luggage, boarding passes etc. Please check Forum for return hints, they're somewhere on here !

  4. #4

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    We used St Barth Commuter on our recent trip, they met us at the arrival door as soon as we arrived and directed us where we needed to go. We were through all necessary steps and in the terminal waiting for our flight to SBH in a matter of minutes.

  5. #5
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 11,317

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Flying out of SXM, SBC is the best choice. Win-Air is owned by the Dutch gov’t and was ‘bailed’ out several years back. SBC is owned by a SBH based family.
    For us it is Tradewind only after numerous disappointments at SXM.
    Premium IV in SXM is well worth their ‘tariiff.’ for SXM yransit. They consistently deliver!

  6. #6
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 873

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    We went thru SXM both ways. On our flight down, Friday 7/16, we had a 90 minute window that was shortened to 60 due to a delayed flight. We used Premium IV for the first time because of the short layover and also the additional stress of COVID restrictions. It was well worth what we paid and one of the best decisions we made this trip. Arriving at mid-day I can only estimate based on the lines that it would have taken us 2 hours and probably more to get thru everything. We were through in less than 10 minutes. It just so happened that when we booked not a lot of flights were available for 4 passengers so we didn't have many options and didn't want to throw the struggle of getting to Grand Case into the mix. I would suggest taking a later flight for now if you don't want to pay for a service if possible to give more time.

    On the way back we arrived at SXM at 10:15am or so, so there was no issue with lines. We were thru customs/immigration in a matter of minutes. We had a little hangup on the Jetblue line because my son's COVID test wasn't downloading (he thought he had downloaded it and saved it on his phone days before but apparently it was caught in a loop). Other than that which cost us about 10 or 15 minutes (rebooted the free airport wifi a couple of times and eventually it worked) we had zero issue with delays. I suspect if we took a later flight it may have been the same issue with long lines as the way down. We also had almost 3 hours in between flights so we were prepared even if there were long lines.

    You should do the Math on this: "I know there are VIP services to assist people during they transfer but it was expensive and our connection was too tight.

    For us we will skip SXM next time and go with Tradewinds through San Juan "


    I would say if your top concern is the money, then paying for a service like Premium IV and paying SXM prices (depending on where you are coming from and when you book) will usually be a decent amount cheaper than going thru SJU. For us there were 4 of us so it wasn't really even close. In Oct/Nov we will go through SJU for a variety of reasons so I'm not knocking your decision, just commenting on the idea that the VIP service is too expensive but that SJU is the way to go.

  7. #7
    lisa b is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jan 2013 Posts: 4

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by trnorman View Post
    We used St Barth Commuter on our recent trip, they met us at the arrival door as soon as we arrived and directed us where we needed to go. We were through all necessary steps and in the terminal waiting for our flight to SBH in a matter of minutes.
    Hi, question for you - did you charter a private flight through SBC (explaining why they shuttled you through the airport)? I assume you didn’t just book a commercial SBC flight.

    I have our tickets for March arrival as far as SXM, and I’m struggling to decide between SBC to get us to St. Barts (tight connection at Juliana - 1’17”, almost certainly not long enough with COVID restrictions, etc), and WinAir whom we’ve had SO many problems with in the past… Unfortunately the concierge services are priced a little too steeply for us!

    UPDATE: After a quick look at Premium IV’s website it was clear that I’d overestimated the cost of their service. It sounds like using them (or comparable service) would definitely be worth it.

  8. #8
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,201

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by lisa b View Post

    UPDATE: After a quick look at Premium IV’s website it was clear that I’d overestimated the cost of their service. It sounds like using them (or comparable service) would definitely be worth it.
    Use them. They will get you thru SXM in a flash.


    Andy

  9. #9
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,833

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by lisa b View Post
    Hi, question for you - did you charter a private flight through SBC (explaining why they shuttled you through the airport)? I assume you didn’t just book a commercial SBC flight.
    Hi, Lisa b.

    My two cents: I’ve used SBC to get from SXM to SBH in the past many years and have only once booked a charter. Every other “commercial” flight I’ve taken was met by an SBC agent who led us past the lines. This is a service you get from SBC that you don’t get from WinAir.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  10. #10
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 11,317

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Although we have used TW for a number of years, thru SXM we agree with GramChop/ SBC is the way to go. SBC has fewer flights daily than WinAir and amount of connection time can therefore be more difficult.
    Minor point- I believe it is Tradewind not the plural.

  11. #11

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Thanks for the comments on the connections, traveling without luggage should not be any issues, Winair offers on-line check-in for all its flights, so you can have your boarding pass and proceed to the transit line to the gate

    Hope this helps for future trips
    Claudio Buncamper
    VP / Director Marketing & Sales / Customer Services
    E-mail: cbuncamper@fly-winair.com

  12. #12
    FamilyTraveler is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2017 Westchester, NY Posts: 134

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Jim - same for us. With 6 people the math works to fly to SXM and use the premium service. Plus I do prefer being on the small plane for 10 minutes rather than an hour. If available, SBC is the way to go.

  13. #13

    Re: SXM --> SBH - Bumpy Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by lisa b View Post
    Hi, question for you - did you charter a private flight through SBC (explaining why they shuttled you through the airport)? I assume you didn’t just book a commercial SBC flight.

    I have our tickets for March arrival as far as SXM, and I’m struggling to decide between SBC to get us to St. Barts (tight connection at Juliana - 1’17”, almost certainly not long enough with COVID restrictions, etc), and WinAir whom we’ve had SO many problems with in the past… Unfortunately the concierge services are priced a little too steeply for us!

    UPDATE: After a quick look at Premium IV’s website it was clear that I’d overestimated the cost of their service. It sounds like using them (or comparable service) would definitely be worth it.
    Sorry for the late reply, I didn't see this until just now. It was not a private flight, just a standard commercial booking on SBC. This seems to be part of their standard service, and was really nice to have since this was our first visit.

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