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Thread: Aruba Transit

  1. #1
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    Aruba Transit

    Hi,

    First time poster here and have a really odd question.

    So I am using 2 expiring United Airlines certificates to fly to Aruba and will be arriving on a Saturday at 12:55pm and departing same day at 3:25pm. Arriving from Washington DC and departing back to Washington DC. I know it sounds crazy to fly to Aruba only to turn around and go back but I wanted to earn as much miles as I could with the certificates. Tried doing a overnight but the price was nearly double.

    My question is how do I handle US Customs? I didn't realize until after booking the flights that you pre-clear US customs/immigration in Aruba. Do I have to go through the arrival through Aruban Customs and then back again through Aruban Customs for departure and then US Customs? If so, is 2 hrs enough? I have no check bags and have elite status with United so I can check in at the 1st class line at United in Aruba.

    Any advice appreciated.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    you WILL have to clear aruba immigration.
    you will have to go thru aruba customs, where typically it is a wave thru.
    then, you WILL have to go to USA departures, get your boarding pass, go thru the security checkpoints and then us customs.

    i am wondering if you will have enough time.

    the aruba airport is packed on a saturday and it is recommended to allow 3 hrs to get from check in to flight.

    i am not optimistic for your chances of doing this .
    what if your flight into aruba is late....even a little late?
    Quote Originally Posted by buaya00 View Post
    Hi,

    First time poster here and have a really odd question.

    So I am using 2 expiring United Airlines certificates to fly to Aruba and will be arriving on a Saturday at 12:55pm and departing same day at 3:25pm. Arriving from Washington DC and departing back to Washington DC. I know it sounds crazy to fly to Aruba only to turn around and go back but I wanted to earn as much miles as I could with the certificates. Tried doing a overnight but the price was nearly double.

    My question is how do I handle US Customs? I didn't realize until after booking the flights that you pre-clear US customs/immigration in Aruba. Do I have to go through the arrival through Aruban Customs and then back again through Aruban Customs for departure and then US Customs? If so, is 2 hrs enough? I have no check bags and have elite status with United so I can check in at the 1st class line at United in Aruba.

    Any advice appreciated.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    you WILL have to clear aruba immigration.
    you will have to go thru aruba customs, where typically it is a wave thru.
    then, you WILL have to go to USA departures, get your boarding pass, go thru the security checkpoints and then us customs.

    i am wondering if you will have enough time.

    the aruba airport is packed on a saturday and it is recommended to allow 3 hrs to get from check in to flight.

    i am not optimistic for your chances of doing this .
    what if your flight into aruba is late....even a little late?
    Yeah that was what I was thinking. I'm kinda out of luck since I already book the flights. If only I had realized the Pre-clearance requirement. I kept thinking I was ok since I will clear US Customs back in the US and then read later thats not the case. I may ask ask if I can check in for the flight while in DC to avoid the check in line.

    What are the wait times for Aruba immigration? I should be one of the first off the plane.

    Not sure if it will help if I was traveling in 1st class which I am?

    Thanks for your time Andrea.

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    Assuming that you arrive in aruba at 1pm.
    the plane parks and you are the first OFF of the plane...........well it is a saturday and there will be probably 8 or more aruba immigration stations open. but there will be other planeloads of passengers cued up.
    let's assume it takes you 15-35 minutes to deplane and get thru aruba immigration.

    let's assume you breeze right thru aruba customs.

    it is now 1:35 pm

    then, you leave the arrival section of the airport and walk to the USA departure section where there will be many people. you get the short line at united/continental because it is 1st class. it takes them 5 minutes to process you.......even without luggage.

    you then stop at aruba immigration (where they may look at you in "wonder"?)
    you then proceed to security.........shoes off, same process as usa.
    the thru duty free area (you WILL NOT have time to shop, but if you do, i would like a bottle of baileys) might be about 2 pm - 2:45 pm by now.

    then into US CUSTOMS...........where you can be sure they will look at you in wonder. it might be 3 pm by now, or later if there are lines.

    then, thru security again.....yup shoes off again and repeat the process.

    then up the escalator to your gate. you might get to your gate by 3:20 - 3:40.

    you will not have time for any lingering.
    if your flight to aruba is late, all bets are off. .............but that is the same plane that you will be flying back on i think.

    you "might" be able to check in for your return and get your boarding passes in DC for your inbound flight.

    in post sept 2011 security........i see red flags being triggered by your plan.
    i hope i am wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by buaya00 View Post
    Yeah that was what I was thinking. I'm kinda out of luck since I already book the flights. If only I had realized the Pre-clearance requirement. I kept thinking I was ok since I will clear US Customs back in the US and then read later thats not the case. I may ask ask if I can check in for the flight while in DC to avoid the check in line.

    What are the wait times for Aruba immigration? I should be one of the first off the plane.

    Not sure if it will help if I was traveling in 1st class which I am?

    Thanks for your time Andrea.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    Assuming that you arrive in aruba at 1pm.
    the plane parks and you are the first OFF of the plane...........well it is a saturday and there will be probably 8 or more aruba immigration stations open. but there will be other planeloads of passengers cued up.
    let's assume it takes you 15-35 minutes to deplane and get thru aruba immigration.

    let's assume you breeze right thru aruba customs.

    it is now 1:35 pm

    then, you leave the arrival section of the airport and walk to the USA departure section where there will be many people. you get the short line at united/continental because it is 1st class. it takes them 5 minutes to process you.......even without luggage.

    you then stop at aruba immigration (where they may look at you in "wonder"?)
    you then proceed to security.........shoes off, same process as usa.
    the thru duty free area (you WILL NOT have time to shop, but if you do, i would like a bottle of baileys) might be about 2 pm - 2:45 pm by now.

    then into US CUSTOMS...........where you can be sure they will look at you in wonder. it might be 3 pm by now, or later if there are lines.

    then, thru security again.....yup shoes off again and repeat the process.

    then up the escalator to your gate. you might get to your gate by 3:20 - 3:40.

    you will not have time for any lingering.
    if your flight to aruba is late, all bets are off. .............but that is the same plane that you will be flying back on i think.

    you "might" be able to check in for your return and get your boarding passes in DC for your inbound flight.

    in post sept 2011 security........i see red flags being triggered by your plan.
    i hope i am wrong.
    I'll need to find a way to try and change my ticket. Your rationale makes total sense. Thanks Andrea!

  6. #6
    Aruba since 1979
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    i am sorry i was not more optimistic.
    if it were a tues or wed or thurs i would have been more optimistic.
    Quote Originally Posted by buaya00 View Post
    I'll need to find a way to try and change my ticket. Your rationale makes total sense. Thanks Andrea!

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