In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks

In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks 1
Trunk Bay, St. John

Hi all! In our constant quest to share useful information with all of you, we decided to post another “rerun.” We recently posted two articles that may be helpful while planning a trip to St. John, a beautiful little island here in the US Virgin islands. The first provided information on how to get to St. John, and the second offers advice as to how to find the best airfare prices, as well as travel tips.

To save you some time, we added a permanent link in our menu bar. So if you’d like to access this information quickly or share it with friends, you can find it here: www.newsofstjohn.com/visit. Check it out in the screenshot below:

In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks 2
There is a new “Visit Us” link in the menu that provide useful information for trip planning.

And, once again, here is that useful information…

St. John: How to Get Here
It’s not easy getting to a little island in the Caribbean. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get here, the latest ferry and barge schedules and more.

For starters, let’s talk about location. St. John is located in the United States Virgin Islands which is southeast of Florida. We do not have an airport here on St. John, so you have to fly into St. Thomas. The airport code is STT. From there, you have to take a ferry over to St. John. Well that’s unless money isn’t an issue. Then you can helicopter over via Caribbean Buzz for $495.

There currently are three ways to get to St. John – the Red Hook ferry, the Crown Bay ferry or the car barges.

The Red Hook ferry leaves Red Hook daily at 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and then every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to midnight. For the reverse route, the ferry leaves Cruz Bay every hour on the hour from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The cost of the ferry is $8.15 one way for non-residents. There is a small fee for baggage. It takes roughly 45 minutes to get to the Red Hook ferry from the airport. The crossing over to Cruz Bay takes roughly 15-20 minutes. This ferry is first come, first served. There is no reservation system.

The Crown Bay ferry leaves from the Crown Bay Marina and is operated by Inter Island Boat Services. It leaves Crown Bay daily at 9:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For the reverse route, it leaves Cruz Bay daily at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4:15 p.m. The cost is $20 one way plus $5 per bag. The Crown Bay ferry takes roughly 40-45 minutes. The taxi between the airport and Crown Bay is roughly five minutes. You can reserve your tickets in advance online. You can do so at www.interislandboatservices.com.

If you are choosing to rent a vehicle on St. Thomas, you will have to take the car barge to St. John. The car barge dock is located beside the passenger ferry dock, so the travel time between the airport and the barge is roughy 45 minutes. There are currently four car barges operating – Big Red Barge Co., Global Marine and Love City Car Ferries, which currently has two barges running. The schedule for all of the vessels is below:

In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks 3

The cost for all of the barges is $35 one way or $50 round trip. The companies do not share tickets, which means if you buy a round trip ticket, you must take that same barge (or barge company) on your return trip.

The Big Red Barge Co. and Love City Car Ferries have online booking capabilities. Global Marine does not. You can buy a ticket for any of the ferries once you get onto the barges.

Now that we have four barges running, traveling between the islands via vehicle is much smoother. So a big thank you to the the barge companies for that!

St. John: Airfare Tips & Tricks
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:

In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks 4

In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks 5

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:

In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks 6

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.

News you can use!

4 thoughts on “In Case You Missed It: How to Get Here and Airfare Tips & Tricks”

  1. Unfortunately we left St John yesterday but, a couple of comments regarding getting to the island. United has a nonstop from Dulles (IAD) that gets you to St Thomas with time to catch the 2:00 pm ferry if the driver doesn’t have any other stops. It also leaves at 2:15 pm which works with a 11:00 am ferry and gets you to the airport in time. Regarding the ferry, we have taken the Crown Bay Ferry and it is a much more pleasant way to get to the airport than a taxi ride across a very busy island (I sit in traffic enough at home). Regarding the current construction going on at the airport; the Customs desks are currently a temporary set-up at the far right of the ticket counters and took us about 50 minutes to get through. TSA was understaffed yesterday at Security and for a bit there was no one working the Pre-Check stand.

    We can’t wait to get back to St John again next year!!

  2. Jet Blue codeshares with Cape Air so they allow you purchase a through ticket if you travel via SJU and they check your bags through to STT.

    • JetBlue is no longer doing that if you have two separately purchased tickets. I used to do that from BDL in CT, and they stopped checking my bags through at least six months ago unfortunately.

Leave a Comment