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Thread: What was with the Airport on Saturday (3/16/13)

  1. #1
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    What was with the Airport on Saturday (3/16/13)

    We've been coming to Aruba for 10 or 11 years now. Usually flying out on a Saturday or Sunday so I know the weekend crowds are much heavier than weekdays. However, yesterday (Saturday, 3/16) was by far the worst I've ever seen at Aruba or any other airport for backup and trying to get thru check-in and customs. You couldn't place the blame or backup on any one area. We flew Jet Blue, which the initial check-in was quite fast as we were very early for our flight and basically no one was in front of us. But then you go out the other building where you get in line to go thru the initial scanning and the waiting began. It took us over 3 hours to get thru the initial security screening, then the claiming of bags, the US customs and back thru security scanning again before we reached out final gate.

    I figured there must be one bottleneck. However as we made it thru each area, the lines just continued.

    Did they decide to double the amount of flights on a given Saturday without thought as to if their infrastructure can handle the additional crowd?

    I heard several people saying how ridiculous it was and they were never come back to Aruba. Perhaps that will resolve some of the problem for next time, but not the solution I'm sure the tourism department of Aruba would like.

    Does anyone have a reasonable explanation?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfranklin View Post
    But then you go out the other building where you get in line to go thru the initial scanning and the waiting began. It took us over 3 hours to get thru the initial security screening, then the claiming of bags, the US customs and back thru security scanning again before we reached out final gate.
    Sorry to hear this From your description though it was definitely NOT just a matter of decreased US Customs & Immigration.

    A backup at the initial screening, Aruba Immigration is just as bad


  3. #3
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    since you said it was already bottlenecked, i hesitate to blame it only on US Customs.
    I am wondering if it is because there are so many saturday afternoon flights scheduled so close together?
    Quote Originally Posted by dfranklin View Post
    We've been coming to Aruba for 10 or 11 years now. Usually flying out on a Saturday or Sunday so I know the weekend crowds are much heavier than weekdays. However, yesterday (Saturday, 3/16) was by far the worst I've ever seen at Aruba or any other airport for backup and trying to get thru check-in and customs. You couldn't place the blame or backup on any one area. We flew Jet Blue, which the initial check-in was quite fast as we were very early for our flight and basically no one was in front of us. But then you go out the other building where you get in line to go thru the initial scanning and the waiting began. It took us over 3 hours to get thru the initial security screening, then the claiming of bags, the US customs and back thru security scanning again before we reached out final gate.

    I figured there must be one bottleneck. However as we made it thru each area, the lines just continued.

    Did they decide to double the amount of flights on a given Saturday without thought as to if their infrastructure can handle the additional crowd?

    I heard several people saying how ridiculous it was and they were never come back to Aruba. Perhaps that will resolve some of the problem for next time, but not the solution I'm sure the tourism department of Aruba would like.

    Does anyone have a reasonable explanation?

  4. #4
    Senior Member AndyM's Avatar
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    Our timeshares are (completely by chance) Sunday to Sunday. We pick up and drop off friends/family at the airport on Saturdays. It's very clear Saturdays are MUCH busier than Sundays. I would expect weekdays to be less busy than either weekend day.

    There is a lot going on at the airport and if one or two key people are out sick or whatever, it could upset the flow of passengers. Perhaps a luggage conveyor belt was down. So many possibilities.

  5. #5
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    Saturday 3/16

    Saturday was by far the worst departure day I've ever experienced in 30 trips to Aruba. Every screening machine was working at the first checkpoint. There were plenty of customs agents. They even had young men loading the luggage for you back onto the conveyor belt after you went through US Customs. It was really a mess.

    I too heard people saying they would never come back. I tried to reassure them that the delay on Saturday was VERY unusual. I know it gets busy on Saturdays, but this was insane.

  6. #6
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    It was almost as bad on March 9th. I have never seen the US Customs room totally full as it was on that Saturday. The number of open lines varied from 4 to 7. This was our 6th visit and the first time we have seen anything like this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chadd's Avatar
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    A couple years ago we were in a customs line that extended well back into the baggage claim room, after snaking around the room with the customs booths. It seems to happen from time to time on heavy travel days.

    I ran into someone in the Philly airport on the 16th that said it was really bad, but I don't believe they were regular visitors.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hatteras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chadd View Post
    A couple years ago we were in a customs line that extended well back into the baggage claim room, after snaking around the room with the customs booths. It seems to happen from time to time on heavy travel days.

    I ran into someone in the Philly airport on the 16th that said it was really bad, but I don't believe they were regular visitors.
    This is exactly what we experienced on Friday, Feb 15th. We were surprised to see it backed up like that on a Friday.

  9. #9
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
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    we usually do sunday to sunday because of our TS but I decided to fly spirit because of the really cheap fare and have to go sat to sat in april....will see what happens when we are returning home compared to what we usually see....then I can compare it to november which will be our usual sunday to sunday
    either way I hate that we have to go to the airport early because of the lines....

    having said all that....we were in bonaire a few years ago for a dive trip and the lines were AWFUL.....hot sun with no shade, on the tarmac, seemed like hours...was at lease 2 to get through...and that was just coming into the island, not leaving....
    ARUBA....HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  10. #10
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    This was my 20th trip and we flew on Friday, March 15 and it was very crowded also. The lines to check in were very long. The ticket counters don't open until 3 hours before the first flight for that particular airline (that is the agents get to the counter and turn on their computers and hopefully there is no computer issues), therefore, the line was out the door to the street. Friends flew the previous Saturday and were told that on April 1st the US Customs budget was being cut and there would be only 3 agents. On Wednesday, March 13, US Customs was backed up as well - over an hour wait on a Wednesday. The bag drop line took forever (Delta) as people get in the wrong line and then 2 agents left their station. It was the worst I have ever experienced as well.

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