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Thread: One Day of Travel

  1. #1
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    One Day of Travel

    My wife and I are traveling from Austin, Texas to St. Barth's in June. We fly American Airlines since we have all kinds of privileges and priorities with them, so a different airline is not an option. When I booked the trip last fall, I was thrilled to see that AA had a flight from Austin to SXM that arrived at 1:57 PM which gave us plenty of time to hop on a Winair flight that day to finish our journey and make the entire trip in one day. AA has changed our flight such that it now arrives at SXM at 3:25 PM which cuts it close to make the last Winair flight out at about 5:00 PM. I looked at all airline arrivals into SXM and see that almost all of them from the U.S. arrive mid to late afternoon. If that is the case, what are you folks doing to be sure you make it on to St. Barth's that same day from SXM? If you are doing a quick overnight on St. Martin to catch Winair the next morning, where are you staying? The last time we laid over in St. Martin was three years ago before the hurricane, and even then we did not care for it or feel all that safe. We could entertain the thought of spending 2-3 nights at La Samanna, but with their prices being what they are these days, we would rather spend that kind of money staying longer on St. Barth's. Any thoughts or experiences you can share would be helpful.

  2. #2
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 714

    Re: One Day of Travel

    We use Premium IV VIP service. If you land on time or even a little late, they will get you on the 5 pm flight to SBH. If you end up delayed arriving in SXM after dark, they will find you a nice place to stay and have you on the early flight the next morning. It’s worth the $ to not have to stress about it.

  3. #3
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,187

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Yes Premium IV is your answer.

  4. #4

    Re: One Day of Travel

    You can fly Austin to San Juan, same day and land at 1:05 pm. Catch Tradewinds to SBH.

  5. #5
    chiz is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Sep 2017 Richmond, Va Posts: 57

    Re: One Day of Travel

    we have a similar scenario...Our arrival time on our AA flight from Charlotte to SXM was moved back to the point that it meant making the connection to SBH somewhat dicey (especially if the AA flight arrival was delayed). We did not want to spend a night in SXM so we looked at the AA flights from various locations and we were able to re-route thru Philly giving us an arrival time of approximately 1:25 pm into SXM. FYI...If you choose to make a change you may have to do stay overnight in the someplace like Philly....please note that the airline will not charge you for this layover as long as the layover is less than 24 hours...
    Chiz
    Richmond, VA

  6. #6
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    All great feedback. Thank you very much!

  7. #7
    MantyPam is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Dec 2012 Wisconsin Posts: 210

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by rolltide View Post
    You can fly Austin to San Juan, same day and land at 1:05 pm. Catch Tradewinds to SBH.
    Highly recommend Tradewind through San Juan! The price is well worth the convenience and relaxed travel, after a long day traveling from O’Hare. It sets a relaxing tone for the rest of the week.
    "One cat just leads to another" - Ernest Hemingway

  8. #8
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Chiz, thank you so much for the thought. From what I can see, it appears what has happened is that in June 2020, AA flies direct to SXM only from Charlotte and Miami with those flights arriving at 3:25 PM or later. Please point me in the right direction if you think I am overlooking something.

  9. #9
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,762

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by JWA2002 View Post
    Chiz, thank you so much for the thought. From what I can see, it appears what has happened is that in June 2020, AA flies direct to SXM only from Charlotte and Miami with those flights arriving at 3:25 PM or later. Please point me in the right direction if you think I am overlooking something.
    The summer schedule for AA from PHL is different than high season.


    Andy

  10. #10
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,484

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Fellow Austinite here.

    This exact thing happened to us last November. Had the AA flights booked (points, status, etc.) then AA changed our flights so we would have to overnight in CLT or MIA.

    We chose to change to a AUS-MIA-SXM flight that got us to SXM around 4ish. At that time of year, the last scheduled flights were around 5. So no go.

    We stayed in Grand Case at the Grand Case Beach Club. Went out to a nice dinner and took a SBC flight from Grand Case "airport" the next AM.


    The only change I would make if faced in a similar situation would be to stay in the area of SXM. It took us 2 hours to get across the island to Grand Case 'cause traffic.

    We would stay near the airport and return to SXM in the AM and fly from there.

    AA has 737 MAX 8 issues that affected this route, or so I was told.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,194

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Fellow Austinite here, too.

    Mid-July I'm taking AA2549/867 via CLT and am arriving at 3:15pm. So far, nothing's changed. Fingers crossed.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  12. #12
    chiz is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Sep 2017 Richmond, Va Posts: 57

    Re: One Day of Travel

    JWA2002...I just did a search for June flights on AA thru Philly...as you stated all flights from Philly in June are being routed thru Miami or Charlotte so it does look like the summer schedule for AA is in effect in June (our "changed" flight is in March). I did see flights from Charlotte (AA flight #2478) and from Miami (AA flight #1136) still posting arrival times of 1:20 and 1:57 pm respectively (maybe they just haven't updated their computer system). It looks like San Juan may be your only choice to avoid the potential overnight in SXM if you don't make the 5 pm flight..or...perhaps you take the late ferry from SXM to SBH. Good luck!
    Chiz
    Richmond, VA

  13. #13
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Fellow Austinite here.

    This exact thing happened to us last November. Had the AA flights booked (points, status, etc.) then AA changed our flights so we would have to overnight in CLT or MIA.

    We chose to change to a AUS-MIA-SXM flight that got us to SXM around 4ish. At that time of year, the last scheduled flights were around 5. So no go.

    We stayed in Grand Case at the Grand Case Beach Club. Went out to a nice dinner and took a SBC flight from Grand Case "airport" the next AM.


    The only change I would make if faced in a similar situation would be to stay in the area of SXM. It took us 2 hours to get across the island to Grand Case 'cause traffic.

    We would stay near the airport and return to SXM in the AM and fly from there.

    AA has 737 MAX 8 issues that affected this route, or so I was told.

    Good luck!
    If we could overnight in CLT or MIA, that would be great. We would much prefer that to staying overnight at SXM. But with the summer schedule being what it is, that does not gain us anything since the only flights to SXM from CLT or MIA are the ones that we are on that arrive sometime after 3:00 PM.

  14. #14
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,762

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by JWA2002 View Post
    If we could overnight in CLT or MIA, that would be great. We would much prefer that to staying overnight at SXM. But with the summer schedule being what it is, that does not gain us anything since the only flights to SXM from CLT or MIA are the ones that we are on that arrive sometime after 3:00 PM.
    Have you checked SB Commuterí summer schedule? It gets darker later and they may be flying later. Also look at SBC flights out of Grand Case. Also check the Voyager schedule from Marigot. I hired Premium IV to get my kids thru SXM quickly so they could get the taxi to the ferry.
    BTW- I had the same time between planes 2 weeks ago. I did carryon for the first time and with Premium IV I made the SBC flight in plenty of time. I didnít think I could do carryon but with the right bag and my personal bag I had plenty of clothes.


    Andy

  15. #15
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,762

    Re: One Day of Travel

    I checked Voyager for June- 5:15 from Oyster Pond and 6:55 from Marigot.

    SB Commuter has a 5:45 from Grand Case


    Andy

  16. #16
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 428

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Fellow Austinite here.

    This exact thing happened to us last November. Had the AA flights booked (points, status, etc.) then AA changed our flights so we would have to overnight in CLT or MIA.

    We chose to change to a AUS-MIA-SXM flight that got us to SXM around 4ish. At that time of year, the last scheduled flights were around 5. So no go.

    We stayed in Grand Case at the Grand Case Beach Club. Went out to a nice dinner and took a SBC flight from Grand Case "airport" the next AM.


    The only change I would make if faced in a similar situation would be to stay in the area of SXM. It took us 2 hours to get across the island to Grand Case 'cause traffic.

    We would stay near the airport and return to SXM in the AM and fly from there.

    AA has 737 MAX 8 issues that affected this route, or so I was told.

    Good luck!
    Interesting on the traffic getting to Grand Case. We did the same thing last November (a different hotel but also on Grand Case) and I would say it took 30 minutes (maybe a little more?) to get from SXM to Grand Case - I think it was a Friday. What I liked the most about it was how convenient it was to fly out of Grand Case the next day instead of SXM. We didn't have to be there too much before our flight because it is such a small Airport and it was a quick drive to get there from the beach and departing from the smaller airport was so much better than SXM. No lines at all to speak of. I guess it all comes down to timing with the traffic (rush hour or construction?)

  17. #17
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    I checked Voyager for June- 5:15 from Oyster Pond and 6:55 from Marigot.

    SB Commuter has a 5:45 from Grand Case
    I am considering the ferry as a final option if we simply cannot make our flight and want to avoid an overnight in SXM. We have done that before and enjoyed the ride. However, I must say that a highlight of the trip for me is the landing at SBH. I would spend a night in SXM just to be able to do that, but my wife does not share that perspective.

    Have any of you stayed at the Sonesta Maho Beach since the hurricane? We have done a one-night layover there several times pre-hurricane with the experience being average at best. While there are some good reviews of it on Tripadvisor, there are also plenty of scathing reviews.

  18. #18
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,762

    Re: One Day of Travel

    There are better places
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    Andy

  19. #19
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 2,087

    Re: One Day of Travel

    This past November, we had a travel delay which caused us to overnight in SXM due to United airplane mechanical. We stayed at the Sonesta Maho Resort. I thought it was nice enough, recently renovated since Irma. The staff was kind. The bed was comfortable, room good size and tidy bathroom. It was very convenient to the airport, only couple minutes by taxi. If we were to be delayed again, I would stay at Sonesta in the future however, hope we are not delayed again. 1st time to overnight in SXM in 16-trips is not a bad average.

  20. #20

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Is Tradewinds not an option due to price? You could leave Austin at 5:45 am and be on the ground in Barths at 3:30 pm

  21. #21
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 714

    Re: One Day of Travel

    PIV put us up at the Atrium when we arrived one time after dark. They took us there and picked us up the next morning. Use their service and you’ll either end up in SBH as planned, or in a decent place to sleep with a spot on the first flight to SBH the next morning. You have enough time to make your flight unless you’re delayed by a lot.

  22. #22
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by rolltide View Post
    Is Tradewinds not an option due to price? You could leave Austin at 5:45 am and be on the ground in Barths at 3:30 pm
    It would be rather pricey to change to travel through SJU and then on to SBH via Tradewinds. There would be change fees with American that would probably be $300, maybe more, not to mention the higher level of miles I would have to use to rebook on other flights at this somewhat late date. Plus, we would have to "burn" our SXM to SBH Winair tickets that are already purchased and not refundable. One could argue that those expenses would not be that much more than a hotel room in SXM, but at least the having to buy a hotel room for one night is not a certain cost to be incurred whereas making a flight change now would be a certain cost. Our best bet may be hoping that if the AA flight is late into SXM, it is REALLY late (three hours or more) so we can attempt to make a claim under our travel insurance.

  23. #23
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by dadto6 View Post
    This past November, we had a travel delay which caused us to overnight in SXM due to United airplane mechanical. We stayed at the Sonesta Maho Resort. I thought it was nice enough, recently renovated since Irma. The staff was kind. The bed was comfortable, room good size and tidy bathroom. It was very convenient to the airport, only couple minutes by taxi. If we were to be delayed again, I would stay at Sonesta in the future however, hope we are not delayed again. 1st time to overnight in SXM in 16-trips is not a bad average.
    Thank you very much for this feedback. It will be helpful to share with my wife who is not thrilled about staying at the Sonesta Maho Resort after last doing so pre-hurricane when it was less than a pleasant experience for her (it was fine with me, but my tolerance level is a little higher).

  24. #24

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Another option is St. Barth's Services. Like Premium, they will either get you on a flight or ferry or find a hotel in St. Maarten for you. Excellent services and great people!

  25. #25
    JWA2002 is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Feb 2020 Posts: 8

    Re: One Day of Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by deblollar View Post
    Another option is St. Barth's Services. Like Premium, they will either get you on a flight or ferry or find a hotel in St. Maarten for you. Excellent services and great people!
    Thanks! I will add them to the list of services to consider.

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