Good Afternoon! As you know we have now entered the low season in the Virgin Islands. That means less people looking to travel down the islands and deals on flights and accommodations are easier to come by. However, with airfare prices maybe the highest we’ve ever seen them in recent months, we wanted to analyze the upcoming high season to gain an understanding of what to expect. The good news is, it looks like airfare prices have come down significantly, hopefully a trend we’ll continue to see!
There are exciting new options for visiting the islands of St Croix, Anegada and Virgin Gorda starting this month.
Hello all you beautiful people out there! I wanted to take just a quick moment this morning to alert you all to something I have stumbled upon now twice in the past 48 hours. United Airlines is now, seemingly, requiring passengers traveling from the US Virgin Islands to upload a copy of their passports in order to check in online.
The US Virgin Islands is quickly approaching what is traditionally considered the beginning of our busy season. This year, however, has been a strange one due to periodic island closures. From the traffic on island recently, it seems that many guests rescheduled their spring and summer plans to instead arrive on island in October and November.
Planes full of excited passengers have been arriving at our airports since the territory re-opened in mid-September. And while our government has now made COVID testing mandatory for all guests and residents ages five and over before entering the USVI (or quarantine), the question on everyone’s mind is whether flying these days is really all that safe. So what are the experts saying?
Have you been scrolling through your vacation photos in desperate need of a St. John fix and unable to find a flight? Before you fill your living room with sand and install a fake palm tree in the center of the room, we might have some news that will brighten your day!
Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte announced that the US Virgin Islands is expecting a major increase in American Airlines flights beginning in November!
Hello everyone and happy Monday! One of the biggest gripes we hear at News of St. John is about the airlines, and specifically, the lack of flights to St. Thomas. Well we’re just as frustrated as all of you when it comes to this topic. We did a little digging over the weekend, and we did learn that some airlines plan to expand their routes later this year. Here is what we know now:
Spirit: Beginning February 16th, Spirit will add flights to and from St. Thomas on Mondays and Fridays. This will be in additional to their current Wednesday and Saturday schedule. Flight number 212 goes to St. Thomas while flight number 201 leaves from St. Thomas. All flights connect through Ft. Lauderdale.
Delta: Delta continues to only operate one flight daily. Flight number 307 travels to St. Thomas while flight number 571 leaves St. Thomas. Both flights connect through Atlanta. Delta appears to be placing a larger 757 aircraft in service beginning February 24 on Saturdays only. It is currently flying a smaller 737 to and from St. Thomas. It also appears that Delta will add a nonstop flight between New York (JFK) and St. Thomas on Saturdays only beginning April 7. According to Delta’s website, those flights will begin operating on a daily basis on May 24.
American: American continues to schedule two flights a day both to and from St. Thomas – flights numbers 943 and 1391. The flight numbers are the same both coming to and leaving from St. Thomas. These flights connect through Miami. It is uncertain when American plans to add additional flights to St. Thomas. American also only allows you to check two bags when traveling to St. Thomas. There are no restrictions on the number of bags when leaving St. Thomas.
JetBlue: JetBlue is operating daily, although you must connect through San Juan. Some of these connections occur on JetBlue aircraft. Others operate in partnership with Seaborne and Cape Air.
United: United is operating though San Juan in partnership with Cape Air and Seaborne airlines.
Cape Air: Cape Air offers several flights daily between St. Thomas and San Juan. You may want to buy a ticket on one airline to San Juan and then a separate ticket to St. Thomas on Cape Air. Please note: If you airline hop, you do not want to check a bag. If you check a bag, you will have to leave the secure area to retrieve it before boarding your second flight. You will then have to go through security again.
Seaborne: Seaborne offers several flights daily between St. Thomas and San Juan. You may want to buy a ticket on one airline to San Juan and then a separate ticket to St. Thomas on Seaborne. Please note: If you airline hop, you do not want to check a bag. If you check a bag, you will have to leave the secure area to retrieve it before boarding your second flight. You will then have to go through security again.
Southwest: Southwest offers flights to and from San Juan. It is an option to buy a ticket on Southwest to San Juan and then buy a separate ticket to St. Thomas on either JetBlue, Cape Air or Seaborne. Please note: If you airline hop, you do not want to check a bag. If you check a bag, you will have to leave the secure area to retrieve it before boarding your second flight. You will then have to go through security again.
If you have information on any other flight options, we’d love to know. Please leave it in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
Anyone see an abnormally high number of seaplanes flying near Lovango and Congo cays yesterday? Perhaps you saw a helicopter flying back and forth in the area? Want to know why???
We got the call yesterday morning from Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters. He mentioned how someone inquired a while back about booking a charter for yesterday. Seeing how Captain John typically takes weekends off, Island Sue [Captain John’s better half :)] turned down the request. Captain John did do a bit of snooping, however, and soon learned what was up.
It turns out that another boat captain friend of ours was tapped to help out. (Now we’re not sure if any confidentiality releases were signed, so we’re keeping his name out of today’s post.) What we do know is that this second captain was out near Carval Rock for a good part of the day. It seems that they did some filming in a variety of places around St. Thomas and St. John.
Check out this mobile movie of the seaplane coming in courtesy of Captain John Brandi:
And here is a helicopter moving in, again courtesy of Captain John Brandi:
Once we heard that CBS was using helicopters, we knew Caribbean Buzz had to be involved. Here’s their super official statement (my guess is they signed something):
“We provided aerial support for filming of a CBS reality TV show. It included (Carval) rock, Hans Lollick, Magen’s Bay and downtown at Fort Christian.”
Laurie and Craig Crandall just happened to be passing through St. Thomas yesterday afternoon when they caught a glimpse of filming.
“We just came home from a week in Alaska and were coming to the waterfront. And there were all of these filming crews and teams,” Laurie said. “We asked what was happening and we were told it was The Amazing Race. The seaplane was at the waterfront, so I think it was whoever arrived first got on the plane … There were probably about six teams. I wish I was able to get out and talk to them because it looked really cool.”
The St. John School of the Arts is preparing to kick off its first Sis Frank Concert Series to honor and remember the co-founder of the school. In past years, Ms. Frank would invite musicians to perform in concert. The school, and its director, Kim Wild, have committed to continue the tradition.
The first concert will be January 4, featuring Garry Dial, a jazz pianist from New York City, performing with Luba Dolgopolsky, a School of the Arts voice instructor. Later in the month, the Ahn Trio will be featured. The sisters are well known for their classical and chamber music concerts. The Ahns were a favorite of Sis Frank.
A concert in late March will feature faculty members of the School of the Arts in concert, and in April the New York Empire Trio will offer a program of classical and contemporary music.
Tickets to each concert cost $30. The entire series is $100.
The airline said it will begin flying this fall from Washington National Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico with connecting service to St. Thomas.
A start date is uncertain. An effort to book such a flight, on the JetBlue Web site, was unsuccessful.
"Award-winning Jet Blue intends to offer one daily nonstop round trip flight to San Juan's Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport, with connecting service to St. Thomas," the airline said in a news release. "JetBlue has long had a simple formula for deciding which markets to serve: we look for routes that are underserved, overpriced, or both."
JetBlue says it is Puerto Rico's largest airline, offering service nonstop to 11 destinations on the US mainland and in the Caribbean.
The airline's subsidiary, American Eagle, plans to suspend operations at the San Juan airport potentially halting round trips daily to St. Thomas and St. Croix, according to the Associated Press.
Confirmation of the cutback came via the St. John Source. Allegra-Kean Moorehead, spokeswoman for the Tourism Department, said, "It's definitely concerning," she said.
An American Airlines spokeswoman told the Source, the airline is weighing "several replacement solutions to continue to provide service to the region." That could mean AA would partner with another airline.
The reduction would likely occur as American returns leased aircraft used on the route, part of the strategy to reduce financial obligations and reorganize in bankruptcy.
Three other airlines provide service between Puerto Rico and the VI's: Jet Blue, Cape Air and Seaborne Airlines. The Source quoted Richard Doumeng, a resort executive active in the hotel association, worrying airfares could go up if American Eagle departs.
At the moment, Expedia shows American is selling round trips on the route, for November, for $91.