Very reminiscent of a post I made almost a year ago
12-30-2009, 11:34 AM
Returned late yesterday afternoon from Aruba.
Delta has always permitted just one carry on as well as a bag such as a purse or computer bag.
Security at Reina Beatrix was like I have never seen in 19 visits to the island.
1. When they say get to the airport 3 hours prior to your flight, do it. Why take the chance?
We stood in line for 20+ minutes just waiting to get to the FIRST document verification BEFORE going through Aruba Immigration.
US immigration had only 2 windows open (one additional for VIP's & crew members). Other US officials were at the gate areas.
2. US Customs were roaming the gate area with detector dogs.
The dog spent a good amount of time on my camera bag until he was redirected. The scent of all of our cats must have been to the dog's liking.
3. Boarding- expect long lines.
Upon being called for boarding you will be asked to place your carry on and any addtional items on a table for hand inspection. In Aruba the inspection was done by a private security firm as well as gate personnel with a Customs official overseeing the operation.
Each and every carry on, purse, etc. were emptied, searched and then re-packed. Most if not all items spread out in the search were opened and inspected further.
I carry a sun glass case holding not only the glasses but cleaning cloth and prescription for the lens. The eye glass case was opened, sunglasses removed and case searched.
Also in my purse is a small pouch with spare sets of house and car keys as well as a container of Tylenol and OTC sinus tablets. Everything was removed from the pouch and then replaced. As you can imagine, this is all very very time consuming.
Dh's carry on had all of the Christmas presents (think valuables not fit for packing in suitcases). He was the last person to board the plane. It took him an hour at the hotel to fit everything in "just right" so that it fit. It took him and the inspector both to get everything back in randomly just so that it fit.
4. Physical "pat down" search.
No wands, just hands of the inspector. This is the last step before heading down the jet way.
Planning on traveling to Aruba with "just" a carry on? Be prepared for lots of wrinkles. Inspectors really tried to do their best but watching the line of people for the Delta flight prior to ours, inspectors trying to do a good job and satisfying the numerous passenger complaints (yes there were plenty) just cannot do it all perfectly.
Welcome to a new world.
Delta boards by zones. There were two Delta flight departing yesterday. The full flight departed an hour late. Yes it takes THAT long for boarding inspections. Our flight was virtually empty so departed only 15 minutes late. Our flight arrived in Atlanta early but had to sit on the tarmac waiting for our assigned gate to clear. The jet there was late in departing.
After witnessing what we saw yesterday, to do it all over again, travel with as few carry ons as possible and minimize anything you are bringing aboard.
having just been through all of that....did not have a single problem going to aruba or coming back...I will say however I was already there when they instituted the pat downs and such, but Dh came a week later and did not have a problem. Sis-in-law came after Dh and she did not have a problem either...
When I got to aruba customs at the exit gate I was worried I would have my bags searched so I did not do to the duty free shop to get more captain morgan (already had a large bottle in suitcase) for fear of getting caught and having to pay duty since everyone was saying they were searching mostly all incoming passengers.....nobody got pulled over in the line I was in, or the line beside me.....oh well, go figure...
On return trip it was just as it always was....although I agree you really need to get to the airport about 3 hours in advance because to all the things you have to go through to get to the gate. US Customs were so pleasant I was surprised.....
Maybe Dh and I went home on a good day, but I have to admit....it was a breeze !!!!
I just came home last night. Flew home on American Airlines and was at the airport 2 hours prior to the flight with plenty of time to spare. I was not patted down or searched but there were 2 customs officials at the gate with the german shepherd "sniffing" everyone out. Looks like there will be all different kinds of experiences with security issues. Also, I had NO trouble with lines at the airport but in previous years I have. Perhaps it was the 5pm flight out that made the difference???
Very interesting read..thanks Andrea. I have always had an easy experience leaving Aruba but have always adhered to the "3 hour rule". Now that there are more restaurants/bars in gate area you can just extend your vacation there!
I will always welcome measures that make us all safer when flying....
Arashi Beach, Hyatt, Radisson, Shopping, Flea Market, Downtown, Palm Beach, Everything
we came back last nite on continental. we got to the airport 3 hours ahead of time and from start to finish, it took us 45 minutes to get through the whole process so we spent the rest of the time at the bar, lol.... of course we didn't have to check luggage and we had already printed our boarding passes. but someone told us that its hit or miss with the time so better to be safe than sorry. i'll post about my first visit once i have time. needless to say, it is not my last, lol...