Villa rental rates drop after April 15 and bring a swarm of bargain hunters to the island, according to one management company owner. The crush of people is similar to that at Christmas time. While the impact on St. John’s beaches and restaurants is one thing, the effects at the St. Thomas airport are quite another.
Returning Saturday on a 12:25 p.m. US Airways flight, it took 90 minutes to get out of the cab, checked in at the airline counter, to begin winding through an un-guided, hydra-headed, conga line of people – with baggage – into the Customs area, through another line to get to an inspector, drop bags at one of several x-ray machines, then to another ID and boarding pass check, before getting into line to take off our shoes, put carry on bags on the belt, and walk through the metal detectors.
The process took so long that our plane was 30-40 minutes late departing because ticketed passengers were still not through security at take off time.
Coincidentally, a reader, Carol, posted a relevant comment over the weekend. She had a similar experience: "We’ve just returned from our 15th visit to STJ and never before have we experience the check in chaos that we encountered at the airport-lines snaking the entire length of the terminal and doubled back causing flight delays, children exhausted, people cranky."
Moral of the story … when the attendant welcomes you to St. Thomas and tells you to be at the airport two hours before your return flight, it may pay to follow that advice.