Airport Alert: Go At Least 3-4 Hours Early

Airport Alert: Go At Least 3-4 Hours Early 1
STT airport on Feb. 25, 2020. Image credit: Teri Wine

UPDATE: The Virgin Islands Port Authority announced Wednesday afternoon that operations should resume as normal Friday. February 28, 2020. Great news! 

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! Today’s post is short and sweet, but extremely important if you are currently visiting St. John or plan to in the near future.

The Virgin Islands Port Authority is asking travelers to arrive at three to four hours early when traveling out of Cyril E. King airport on St. Thomas. This is due to an issue that was found during construction, which prompted airport executives to move customs to a temporary spot in the building. This is subsequently causing long wait times especially during the afternoon when the majority of flights leave the airport.

Property managers on island have posted on social media numerous times that guests who have arrives two to two-and-a-half hours early have missed their flights. So please, get there very early.

I have also been told that the airline counters have not been opening early to accommodate those who need to check luggage or print boarding passes. So if you can travel with carry on luggage and print your boarding pass in advance, that could save you time.

The last update posted by the Virgin Islands Port Authority was on February 19th. At that point, they stated they would “resume normal operations as soon as possible.” We will let you know when that occurs.

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17 thoughts on “Airport Alert: Go At Least 3-4 Hours Early”

  1. We flew out Sunday and we’re through the temp security in about 10 minutes. With customs and airline bag drop off we did the whole thing in 30-40 mins. I’ve certainly been there when it’s been bad so it can be hit or miss. But better safe than sorry I guess.

  2. “airline counters have not been opening early to accommodate those who need to check luggage or print boarding passes”

    Can you go through customs if you haven’t checked your bags or don’t have a boarding pass yet?

      • Thank you. Some follow up questions:

        Is there a place on island to print boarding passes? Hmm, perhaps my rental co will do that for me, but it would still be good know if there’s someplace in town that would help out with that the day before leaving.

        I recall dropping my bags after customs, but don’t they need to have the destination tags on them from the counter before going into customs? I ask because if the counter isn’t open early enough, this could guarantee a missed flight.

        • Kurt, you are correct – the only place to “check in luggage” (i.e. get a luggage tag) is at the airline counter. Jenn is correct that you hand over your “already checked in luggage” after customs and before security.
          I’m pretty sure that you would be able to print your boarding pass at Connections in Cruz Bay (and presumably in Coral Bay next to Skinny Legs, but I’m not 100% certain).

        • KurtM: you can print boarding passes at Connections, or the mail/shipping place above Starfish (which I prefer as there is parking and less busy)

    • Not bad publicity , in my opIon, just a fact to help fellow traveler to aid in their return. Something I would want to know so I didn’t miss my flight.

  3. went through that 2 weeks ago, close to 1 hour on line with only carry-on. Repairs, workers and the Gov are all “on island time”.

  4. Perhaps the Governor of the Virgin Islands should contact the airlines with a request to assist by opening the check-in counters earlier while the airport works on the fixing the issue.

    • Everything will be back to normal tomorrow as indicated in the update at the top of the post.

      But no, no one received priority over another.

  5. We left Tuesday on the Noon Ferry to Red Hook…arrived at the airport at 1:15 and the line was from one side of the airport to the other. Then once through Customs the line for TSA was a serpentine line back and forth. The entire process took 3 hours to get to our gate. Good thing we left early! The bad thing was we had to leave the wonderful Island of St. john.

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