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Thread: IMHO

  1. #1
    Eve is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2008 Boston Posts: 8,515

    IMHO

    I thought the transfer going down through SXM was way more tolerable that hanging out in PR on the way back.

    1. This time, for us, there was no benefit to going through customs on TW. Had to make the 2 mile jaunt to the huge immigration hall to at I haven’t seen since my AA days. (with torn foot ligaments, I found out yesterday) Although not too crowded, and still better than JFK or MIA, it wiped out the benefit of TW. Construction, or something in the TW entry.
    2. Aside from the TW lounge that we got to hang in for a few hours, still had to go through a torturous security and into hell of the terminal A departure area. Only Popeyes is open, and at 1:00, the guy opened the bar with one hot dish. You really feel like you are in a nightmare, and with a big storm in Boston, I almost jumped ship to Condado a few times.
    3. Although I admit we still would always go back on TW because there is a direct JB flight to Boston.
    4. Having gone down through sxm most times, it isn’t worth the extra money to us To go through PR going down. Sxm has fond memories for us, and we are in vacation mode once we get on the plane in Boston.

  2. #2
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    that sucks
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  3. #3
    davesmom is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Posts: 2,043

    Re: IMHO

    Eve, I hope your happy memories of SBH can wipe out that SJU experience. You just never know these days what you will encounter, no matter where you switch planes. I appreciate you sharing your experience of SJU with us. We have had similar experiences there years ago as well as returning through MIA, another nightmarish experience, with the customs busting people with fake passports right in front of us.. Hoping your foot is better with a bit of rest and maybe some leftover rhum vanille. For the first time, we are returning through Charlotte, NC (gulp...) on AA on a short layover...getting concerned we will get stuck there but we have been stuck in ATL before, too. Hope you made it home to BOS with no further aggravation!
    Strangers are friends you haven't met yet.

  4. #4
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 1,360

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by davesmom View Post
    Eve, I hope your happy memories of SBH can wipe out that SJU experience. You just never know these days what you will encounter, no matter where you switch planes. I appreciate you sharing your experience of SJU with us. We have had similar experiences there years ago as well as returning through MIA, another nightmarish experience, with the customs busting people with fake passports right in front of us.. Hoping your foot is better with a bit of rest and maybe some leftover rhum vanille. For the first time, we are returning through Charlotte, NC (gulp...) on AA on a short layover...getting concerned we will get stuck there but we have been stuck in ATL before, too. Hope you made it home to BOS with no further aggravation!
    Daves Mom, Good luck at CLT, tho a few years ago now, flying from SJU or SXM or ? we have missed our connecting flight to SAV because of the onslaught of several flights from the Caribbean arriving within minutes of each other, so that Customs was a nightmare. Allow plenty of time between connections at CLT, or anywhere.

  5. #5
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 10,077

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by davesmom View Post
    Eve, I hope your happy memories of SBH can wipe out that SJU experience. You just never know these days what you will encounter, no matter where you switch planes. I appreciate you sharing your experience of SJU with us. We have had similar experiences there years ago as well as returning through MIA, another nightmarish experience, with the customs busting people with fake passports right in front of us.. Hoping your foot is better with a bit of rest and maybe some leftover rhum vanille. For the first time, we are returning through Charlotte, NC (gulp...) on AA on a short layover...getting concerned we will get stuck there but we have been stuck in ATL before, too. Hope you made it home to BOS with no further aggravation!
    do you have Global Entry?

  6. #6
    Trinigerl is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2007 Trinidad/Houston Posts: 128

    Re: IMHO

    if you don't have global entry you can use the mobile passport app. Very easy to use and you go in the same line as global entry folks, We've been using it for a few years now from SXM-MIA-IAH.

  7. #7
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    Does one not have to go thru passport control with this app ?
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  8. #8
    davesmom is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Posts: 2,043

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by NancySC View Post
    Daves Mom, Good luck at CLT, tho a few years ago now, flying from SJU or SXM or ? we have missed our connecting flight to SAV because of the onslaught of several flights from the Caribbean arriving within minutes of each other, so that Customs was a nightmare. Allow plenty of time between connections at CLT, or anywhere.
    That is what I am afraid of, but it was the only connection we could get. We normally fly through ATL on Delta but there are no flights less than 24 hour layovers (!) returning on Delta. I almost expect to miss my flight back to SAN from CLT but is it AA's fault if they don't give us enough time to clear customs? I do not get the impression that they take responsibility for anything anymore, if you read their fine print. Yes, for sure, we have Global Entry, so I am hoping that will expedite things but it is always a crapshoot coming into customs no matter where you arrive. We are returning mid-week, so I am hoping that will be a bit of an advantage..
    Strangers are friends you haven't met yet.

  9. #9
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,901

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinigerl View Post
    if you don't have global entry you can use the mobile passport app. Very easy to use and you go in the same line as global entry folks, We've been using it for a few years now from SXM-MIA-IAH.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  10. #10
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by Eve View Post

    1. This time, for us, there was no benefit to going through customs on TW. Had to make the 2 mile jaunt to the huge immigration hall to at I haven’t seen since my AA days. Although not too crowded, and still better than JFK or MIA, it wiped out the benefit of TW. Construction, or something in the TW entry.

    2. Aside from the TW lounge that we got to hang in for a few hours, still had to go through a torturous security and into hell of the terminal A departure area.
    is this a temporary imposition due to construction re immigration hall, security, and "the hell of terminal A departure area"?

    would TA VIP service have smoothed all that out ? is there value, in general, for $200 VIP service?
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  11. #11
    shihadehs is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2012 Posts: 1,070

    Re: IMHO

    VIP with Tradewind is only for your way in to SBH...However upon arrival in SJU on way home a Tradewind staff member should escort you to your departure gate
    Steve and Aimee

  12. #12
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    oh.

    isn't there immigration/customs/security between TA arrival and one's departure gate?
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  13. #13
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,321

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    oh.

    isn't there immigration/customs/security between TA arrival and one's departure gate?
    Great question, Cass . . . and opportunity to clarify.

    Yes, there is "immigration/customs" between Tradewind arrival at SJU and one's departure gate. However, at the risk of evoking elitism in describing it, this process has been -- in my experience -- limited to the 8 or so (at most) passengers on my Tradewind flight, without any other competing in-transit passengers. Explaining, in part, the premium cost of Tradewind service. I don't know the in's-&-out's of the system, but that's the way it is.

    Then, as one leaves "immigration," a Tradewind representative is present to escort each passenger to his / her airline check-in counter (or, if not needed, to the appropriate TSA check-in line). The Tradewind rep, thus, has never taken me to my ultimate departure gate, but has facilitated my transit to the farthest point that Tradewind can do so (barring, perhaps, the situation where a passenger needs wheelchair or other extra assistance).

  14. #14
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 55,897

    Re: IMHO

    And they lead you to, and often help you through the USDA scan which must be completed before checking in with your airline.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party Memorial -- June 5, 2023

  15. #15
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    Thank you, gentlemen !
    So, Eve’s unfortunate experience an outlier, in your opinions ?
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  16. #16
    shihadehs is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2012 Posts: 1,070

    Re: IMHO

    I meant they lead you through everything up to the check in desk, not departure gate...my bad.
    Steve and Aimee

  17. #17
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,321

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    Thank you, gentlemen !
    So, Eve’s unfortunate experience an outlier, in your opinions ?
    I think, Cass, that the most relevant portion of Eve's post was as follows:

    1. . . . there was no benefit to going through customs on TW. Had to make the 2 mile jaunt to the huge immigration hall to at I haven’t seen since my AA days.. . . Although not too crowded, and still better than JFK or MIA, it wiped out the benefit of TW. Construction, or something in the TW entry.
    2. Aside from the TW lounge that we got to hang in for a few hours, still had to go through a torturous security and into hell of the terminal A departure area.

    With regard to #1, going through customs -- as offered with Tradewind -- is, IMO, painless and a pleasure compared to the alternative of entering the US at any mainland point of entry. Moreover, the "2 mile jaunt to the huge immigration hall" is not so different, I believe, than the hike that typically is found in domestic transfer airports (for me, usually Miami or Charlotte).

    #2: ". . . torturous security and into hell of the terminal A departure area." Is Tradewind responsible for these matters . . . or SJU materially different? Whether it be SXM, MIA, CLT, ATL, or any other transfer point, my experience is that "security" never is pleasant (and can be torturous) . . . and the JetBlue departure area is no more disturbing to me than a long corridor of gates (1 through 24 or more), with hordes of people pushing & shoving along the way. (SXM, as I recall, also doesn't offer today food options better than Popeye's.)

    In reading Eve's post, I was empathetic to her complaint. I'm sorry that she and Jim and her sister had to endure all of it. Personally, however, the ease of customs transfer at SJU is an enormous benefit . . . worth the premium of Tradewind travel. And the distance traveled and unpleasant waiting environment for JetBlue (& other airlines) are not as grievous for me as the SXM experience.

    No doubt . . . a matter of personal stamina and preference.

  18. #18
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,856

    Re: IMHO

    Airport renovations made for longer treks, a pity. However, taking advantage of the help and the guidance and the know how of the TW hostess was so appreciated by this aging traveler.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  19. #19
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    So, coming down, we think carry-on only is prudent, as we arrive SJU late, after TA agents gone for the evening, then spend the nite at the airport hotel, then catch a 09h55 TA flight to SBH.
    Coming back, will checked bags be a nuisance thru the customs/immigration/check-in process, or will TA agents smooth the way ?
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  20. #20
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,321

    Re: IMHO

    Checked bags on departure are not a problem. On way down, checked bags would not be a problem . . . especially if you get the VIP service.

  21. #21
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 964

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by cec1 View Post
    Great question, Cass . . . and opportunity to clarify.

    Yes, there is "immigration/customs" between Tradewind arrival at SJU and one's departure gate. However, at the risk of evoking elitism in describing it, this process has been -- in my experience -- limited to the 8 or so (at most) passengers on my Tradewind flight, without any other competing in-transit passengers. Explaining, in part, the premium cost of Tradewind service. I don't know the in's-&-out's of the system, but that's the way it is.

    Then, as one leaves "immigration," a Tradewind representative is present to escort each passenger to his / her airline check-in counter (or, if not needed, to the appropriate TSA check-in line). The Tradewind rep, thus, has never taken me to my ultimate departure gate, but has facilitated my transit to the farthest point that Tradewind can do so (barring, perhaps, the situation where a passenger needs wheelchair or other extra assistance).
    just arrived at SJU from SBH and it is exactly as it has been in the past and exactly as you described. We have a few hours until our Jet Blue flight and went thru the entire customs/immigration area and were in the Tradewind lounge within 10 minutes of getting off the plane.

    was funny to see two of the passengers stressing out over where their global entry line was (go right with global entry and left without) when it couldn’t have saved them more time than they lost looking for it. Plus if you go to global entry and have bags I think you have to go left and grab the bags first and then go back the other way?

  22. #22
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 964

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    So, coming down, we think carry-on only is prudent, as we arrive SJU late, after TA agents gone for the evening, then spend the nite at the airport hotel, then catch a 09h55 TA flight to SBH.
    Coming back, will checked bags be a nuisance thru the customs/immigration/check-in process, or will TA agents smooth the way ?
    So keep in mind our experience was much different than Eve’s as we went right into the little Tradewind only customs/security area. For us as we walked to the customs/immigration agent our bags (along with those of only the 7 people on our flight) were already waiting for us on the 2 minute walk from the entrance to customs/immigration. It only took an extra 5 seconds to lift the bag off the belt. So no issue at all. Hopefully it was just a short term issue at the airport due to staffing or construction or something else that Eve had to unfortunately deal with as it appears to be back to normal.

  23. #23
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,856

    Re: IMHO

    Safe travels Jim. Appreciate learning your travel story.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  24. #24
    PeterLynn is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2014 Houston Posts: 517

    Re: IMHO

    This past May, I entered everything at the Global Entry kiosk, but went in the wrong line (both were devoid of passengers) and got asked about everything I was declaring, etc.... When I handed them my Global Entry slip, they got rather annoyed. A bit stressful as I was over the allowed wine/rhum allowance. All of it was declared, but didn't need them poking around, just because. Not making that mistake again.

  25. #25
    pceverha is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Mar 2015 Dallas Posts: 24

    Re: IMHO

    Jim A - based on your experience returning through SJU, what is the minimum amount of time you would be comfortable with between scheduled arrival on Tradewind to departure on American? We'll probably have carry-on only, we are both Global Entry, and I'm top tier status on AA and flying Business class. I'm trying to choose between two TW flights that are 3 hours apart, and I sure do like to max out the time on the island vs sitting in SJU.

  26. #26
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 964

    Re: IMHO

    Sorry, but I’m usually pretty conservative with flight times and don’t know the entire airport that well so not the best source. I can tell you that we could have been off the plane, through immigration, checked our bags and got boarding passes for our jet blue flight (did all this right away) and probably made it through JetBlue security and to the gate (we didn’t do this yet because we are waiting in the TW lounge) all within 30 minutes or so. But as an example of what could go wrong there is Eve’s post above and also the JetBlue security line for some reason closed for about 30 minutes or a while after we got here (just reopened). Also, I don’t know how far to the AA terminal or what the lines are like there. I know when we arrived on Delta one time it seemed a much longer walk than JB. For me I had a similar decision and went with the later flight (a little over 3 hour layover) just in case there was a delay somewhere. But again I’m pretty risk averse when it comes to flight schedules.

    perhaps there is a premium IV type service that could get you through quickly

  27. #27
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Posts: 21,777

    Re: IMHO

    My recollection is that the small Immigration and Customs area used by Tradewind is also used by JetBlue.

  28. #28
    shihadehs is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2012 Posts: 1,070

    Re: IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    So, coming down, we think carry-on only is prudent, as we arrive SJU late, after TA agents gone for the evening, then spend the nite at the airport hotel, then catch a 09h55 TA flight to SBH.
    Coming back, will checked bags be a nuisance thru the customs/immigration/check-in process, or will TA agents smooth the way ?
    Reminder...if you are staying at airport hotel you get a discount if you are flying Tradewind...just give them your flight information.
    We are staying there tomorrow night.
    Steve and Aimee

  29. #29
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO


    Thanks !
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  30. #30
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 8,024

    Re: IMHO

    This will be the first two-day trip down for us in 34 years. First time an unavoidable overnight in Saint-Martin.

    One-day itineraries these days subject us to ungodly early wake-ups, narrow connections, and stressful late afternoon arrivals at SBH.

    We have found that 3 am wake-up calls, to quote Mr. Bridger, upset our natural rythm (for a few days). So, we’re trying a noon departure, late night SJU arrival, sleepover at airport hotel, 10h00 departure, and 11h00 arrival on SBH, in time to dump baggage at villa while le ménage is being done, enjoy a nice déjeuner, nous approvisionner au marché, then nous installer à la villa.
    Fils du Sud - Roi des Fils Verrouillés

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

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