How to Get Here: Airfare Tips & Tricks

How to Get Here: Airfare Tips & Tricks 1

A few days ago, a reader emailed us and asked about airfare prices out of Philadelphia. We looked into our archives and realized it’s been a bit since we’ve written about airfare tips and tricks when traveling here to St. John. So we’re at it again, folks. Enjoy!

Ok, let’s start with the basics. You actually cannot fly into St. John. Years ago, seaplanes would land in Cruz Bay, but that ended on 1995 after Hurricane Marilyn. Today, we have to fly into St. Thomas. The airport code is STT.

Once you arrive on St. Thomas, you have one of two ways to get to St. John – ferry or helicopter. The majority of people traveling to St. John travel here by ferry. Click here to get information about the current ferry schedules. 

Ok, now on to the airlines. Currently, Delta, American, United, JetBlue and Spirit are the major carriers that fly into St. Thomas. Two smaller airlines – Cape Air and Silver Airways (formerly Seaborne) – fly into St. Thomas via San Juan. Some of the major cities that fly directly to St. Thomas are: New York, Boston, Newark, Washington, DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Dallas. Some of these cities operate seasonally. Not all operate daily.

Over the years, I have found two websites to be better than others when looking for airfare – Google Flights and ITA Matrix. I like Google Flights because you can essentially search the world for good airfare prices. You can search by specific dates or flexible dates. As an example, I typed in NYC for the departing airport and typed in Caribbean for the destination. I chose one week in the month of February for my travel dates. This is what popped up:

How to Get Here: Airfare Tips & Tricks 2

How to Get Here: Airfare Tips & Tricks 3

Then you click on “View Flights” and choose your flight. This is great when you have flexibility in your travel dates, although you can choose specific dates.

ITA Matrix works pretty much the same way. You can choose specific dates or choose to search by 30-day increments. For this search, I chose Philadelphia as the departure airport and picked the month of February for my dates. Here is what came up:

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You have more parameters when using ITA Matrix. You can choose which airline you prefer, you can exclude overnight flights, limit it to nonstop or multiple stops, etc. The downside is that you cannot book through this website. It’s used more as a research tool.

Another trick is to buy one-way tickets. You can fly Delta to St. Thomas and then American back home, for example. I have found that you can save some money this way.

Some airlines – like Southwest and Frontier – fly into San Juan, but they do not fly into St. Thomas. You can buy a ticket on one of those airlines into San Juan and then buy a second ticket on either Cape Air or Silver Airways into St. Thomas. This is best when having carry on luggage, although I have done this when I have checked luggage. The downside is that you have to leave security to pick up your bag and then recheck to and go throughsecuriry a second time. So this is only recommended when you have a decent layover time. You also have to pay to check your luggage twice, which is never fun. So again, this is best when having carry on luggage. One thing to note is that the Cape Air terminal is pretty far from the other airlines. It is easily a 10 minute walk, so please keep that in mind too.

It’s currently 83 degrees, sunny and our seas are the flattest I have seen in months. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and start looking for tickets!

Tag: Fly to St. Thomas

2 thoughts on “How to Get Here: Airfare Tips & Tricks”

  1. We flew down in mid-December for a quick 5 day anniversary getaway. As you mentioned above, we flew Philly to San Juan on Frontier, and then hopped on a Silver flight to STT. We didn’t check bags and had no issues with connections/

    Best part: for two of us, the total coast was $450!!! We booked those flights in early November.

  2. Ferry tip – Skip the expensive nausea inducing cab ride from STT to Red Hook and leave from Crown Bay. It’s a little more $ but you will save money over the cab overall. I would rather spend a little extra time cruising on the Caribbean than in the back of a van.

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