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Thread: Airport Notes

  1. #1
    Senior Member SanNic44's Avatar
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    Airport Notes

    I've been doing some work at the airport for numerous weekends now and would like to offer a few humble suggestions.

    IF you are departing Aruba on Saturday... please allow yourself the three hours to check in, go through security, go through USA Customs and Immigration, security again, and get to your plane. The first flight out (usually American to Miami) is not so difficult. However, after that, there are several points where long lines form. Yesterday, numerous people told me it took them more than 2.5 hours to go through the process. Too many were running down the corridors to get to the plane. Often times, planes were held for passengers. Sometimes they were not. A few people got stuck, which led to much screaming but no solution other than to book another flight.

    Sunday is less intense but can have long lines, too.

    Surely everyone wants to maximize their stay on the island. But don't cause yourself a problem or other people the hassle of a delayed flight and missed connections by not allowing plenty of time to get through the security/custom/immigration system.

    As long as we're talking about the airport, please also consider your carry-on luggage while waiting for your flight. I was stunned to see how many people have open zippers, things spilling out, or leave the bag unattended and susceptible to theft. Then there is the frantic search for what was lost, which is not always found.

    The same could be said of children. If you love your children, and I hope you do, please keep them close at hand. Children wandering the corridors of an airport are no more safe than wandering the streets. It's unconscionable to think of what terrible thing could happen to these kids, including injuries, simply because parents either don't care or are distracted by something less important. Perhaps you might think to mention this to people in your group who have children. Destruction of property caused by unattended children is likely to be to your account, as this is not the USA and vendors and shops are less forgiving than you may be used to.

    Just a humble reminder for all of us to ponder to keep the travel wheels turning smoothly and safely.

    Enjoy your visit and travels. Thank you for your indulgence.

    44
    Aruba's Novelist in Residence (sometimes)
    http://www.bentpage.wordpress.com/

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    So if your flight was leaving aruba on a sunday at 3:00pm and you only had carry on, what time would you suggest arriving at the airport????

  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
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    gaby 3 pm on a sunday is PEAK time regardless if it is hi, med or lo season.

    i would treat either weekend day with departures from noon til 4:30 as PEAK, meaning allow the 3 hrs.

    without having to check bags might save you anywhere from 5 - 30 minutes at the ticketing area.

    not having to retrieve one's luggage from the luggage room pre US CUSTOMS might save you 5 minutes.
    regardless if it is hi, med or lo season.

    You have been to aruba 2x right? how long did it take you to go thru from point A to point B each time?

    there are times when that first check point, (showing your documents to the DIMAS officer still outside) can take 15 minutes and that line is backed up halfway or more down that walkway.

    allow the 3 hrs.

    now, if you had asked about a morning departure on a week day, i would have something else to say


    Quote Originally Posted by gaby View Post
    So if your flight was leaving aruba on a sunday at 3:00pm and you only had carry on, what time would you suggest arriving at the airport????

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    I totally agree with all suggested. We always get to the airport way early, in fact one time the ticket counter wasn't opened Dh wasn't too happy or well. A few weeks ago we had Bully pick us up at 10:00 on a Saturday for a 2:30 flight, I would rather get settled in at the airport and RELAX instead of stressing or watching other people stress. Makes total sense doesn't it?

    I have one thing to add I wish the airlines would start cracking down on OVERSIZED carry-ons....seems like people are really taking advantage and since the charging of checked bags it is totally out of control. Sorry, had to vent about that one as it drives me crazy when they start announcing there will not be enough overhead space for everyone! If you paid for a seat that price should include an overhead space for each person to have one piece of luggage (the correct size of course)

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    so far we've gone home on a saturday on a 3 o'clock flight, a sunday on a 3 o'clock flight and a sunday on a 6 o'clock flight. total took about one hour. the 6 o'clock flight, we got to the airport at 4 and there was not one person in line at the ticket counters. we don't need to check in at the ticket counter but it was like a ghost town.

    our carry on luggage is airline approved, it measures what the allowable linear inches is for the airline. on top of which, we fly first class so its really not an issue there. but I have seen some people that I know is not the correct total linear inches. actually my carry on is less than the allowable linear inches and so is my husband's. we actually have about 4 inches allowable left, lol.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanNic44 View Post
    I've been doing some work at the airport for numerous weekends now and would like to offer a few humble suggestions.

    IF you are departing Aruba on Saturday... please allow yourself the three hours to check in, go through security, go through USA Customs and Immigration, security again, and get to your plane. The first flight out (usually American to Miami) is not so difficult. However, after that, there are several points where long lines form. Yesterday, numerous people told me it took them more than 2.5 hours to go through the process. Too many were running down the corridors to get to the plane. Often times, planes were held for passengers. Sometimes they were not. A few people got stuck, which led to much screaming but no solution other than to book another flight.

    Sunday is less intense but can have long lines, too.

    Surely everyone wants to maximize their stay on the island. But don't cause yourself a problem or other people the hassle of a delayed flight and missed connections by not allowing plenty of time to get through the security/custom/immigration system.

    As long as we're talking about the airport, please also consider your carry-on luggage while waiting for your flight. I was stunned to see how many people have open zippers, things spilling out, or leave the bag unattended and susceptible to theft. Then there is the frantic search for what was lost, which is not always found.

    The same could be said of children. If you love your children, and I hope you do, please keep them close at hand. Children wandering the corridors of an airport are no more safe than wandering the streets. It's unconscionable to think of what terrible thing could happen to these kids, including injuries, simply because parents either don't care or are distracted by something less important. Perhaps you might think to mention this to people in your group who have children. Destruction of property caused by unattended children is likely to be to your account, as this is not the USA and vendors and shops are less forgiving than you may be used to.

    Just a humble reminder for all of us to ponder to keep the travel wheels turning smoothly and safely.

    Enjoy your visit and travels. Thank you for your indulgence.

    44
    Travel to Aruba twice a year and yesterday (Saturday) was by far the worst situation ever at the airport. It took many four hours to go from ticket counter to the gate, delaying flights by more than an hour. I heard dozens of travelers wondering whether it would be worth returning.

    Unless the Tourism Authority -- in combination with US Customs -- does something about this new situation, I am afraid it will hurt tourism.

    And to compound this, what happens when the Ritz Carlton gets built and even more airlift is required? The airport infrastructure won't be able to handle it unless better planning is done now.

  7. #7
    Aruba since 1979
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    i am guessing what you experienced on saturday (were you one of the 4 hr folks?) was a very much isolated incident.
    the airport authority, department of immigration and airlines should be added in to your list of those that need to address this situation if it is indeed not an isolated event.

    i have been told by an employee at the airport (not employed by the airport) that there are lots of issues with the ticketing area being understaffed during peak times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnyu View Post
    Travel to Aruba twice a year and yesterday (Saturday) was by far the worst situation ever at the airport. It took many four hours to go from ticket counter to the gate, delaying flights by more than an hour. I heard dozens of travelers wondering whether it would be worth returning.

    Unless the Tourism Authority -- in combination with US Customs -- does something about this new situation, I am afraid it will hurt tourism.

    And to compound this, what happens when the Ritz Carlton gets built and even more airlift is required? The airport infrastructure won't be able to handle it unless better planning is done now.

  8. #8
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    Andrea, you are right about the understaffed. Though when we left last sunday and i said there was no one in line, there still was only ONE counter that was staffed. so if there was a line, they would have waited. the week before when my stepdaughter left to go home on a saturday, she said it took a long time because there was only one person checking luggage and giving boarding passes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaby View Post
    Andrea, you are right about the understaffed. Though when we left last sunday and i said there was no one in line, there still was only ONE counter that was staffed. so if there was a line, they would have waited. the week before when my stepdaughter left to go home on a saturday, she said it took a long time because there was only one person checking luggage and giving boarding passes.
    ...and sometimes the personnel working the counter must leave to escort wheelchair bound passengers. So what I am trying to say is that if you see only one person working check-in it does not necessarily mean that the airline only has one person working.

    As frustrating as the long lines are, how many people are actually missing their flights because they arrived at the airport 3 hours prior to departure and are somewhere between check-in and US Customs and Immigration? I am thinking not many.

    We have been in the Customs area on more than one occassion when they have been calling out specific flights to pull the late arrivals out of line and bump them up to the front. We have also been in line before even reaching that area and people are trying to cut ahead to the front of the line because they are LATE. These are the same people who were still lounging poolside, 2 hours before their flight.

    Lastly, if it was bad last weekend , next weekend arriving and those departing on the 29th, 30th and especially the 5th and 6th need to bring along a huge dose of patience.

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    I agree, Lisa. That's why I tell my husband that even though we don't check luggage and have already printed our boarding pass, I would rather be safe than sorry. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be in Aruba but if you're already packed and checked out, I might as well catch my flight. I figure so if the line's not long and you have a two hour wait after going through everything==well, that's why they have bars in airports, lol. so you sit at the bar, chill out, end up talking to people sitting at the bar and you have no stress or frustration.

    if my husband had his way, we'd get there 30 minutes prior to the flight leaving. we fight every single time we have to leave because I would rather be safe than sorry. then he would say see, it didn't take that long. but the problem is that you never know. you can zip through the line one time and the next time you're waiting for an hour. who wants to miss their flight, find a hotel for one nite and then go through it all over again. by the time i'm packed and ready to leave for the airport, my mind has now switched gears to being home.

    so people should not be complacent just because one time they zipped through the line.

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