St. Thomas Airport- New Updates and Early Arrivals

St. Thomas Airport- New Updates and Early Arrivals

Good Morning, Good Morning!  On Sunday afternoon the VI Port Authority released a reminder to travelers that they should arrive 2.5 to 3 hours prior to their scheduled departure time.  The notice was instigated by a technical difficulty occurring on Sunday with one of the TSA screening machines.  Over the course of the past few years, as the number of travelers at the Cyril E. King Airport continues to climb and random occurrences, such as the recent staffing issues at customs and regularly occurring technical difficulties, hold up the flow of traffic.  It is HIGHLY advisable to always show up 2.5-3 hours BEFORE your departure when leaving St. Thomas.

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Sunday’s Notice from Port Authority

I know, I know…We have talked about this before!  I know you all have received this little memo and are not a huge fan of this suggested wait period at the airport.  And, you can take my recommendations or not.  But, with the Fourth of July and St. John Carnival right around the corner, delays will be inevitable.   And, I will say, my early arrival at the airport for my flight last week kept me stress free and easy breezy as I leisurely made my way through customs and TSA and nestled in at the Hibiscus Café in the company of an old friend that I happened upon in security.

Almost immediately as I got comfy in the corner of the bar, I felt the airport filling up.  And, I was grateful to not be the stressed out mother who was trying to jump the line for her flight that she and her kids were running late for as I was in the security line.  I was grateful to be ahead of the rush at TSA and chilling with my dear friend as we waited together for our flights for two hours.  Oh, and as we finished up at the cafe, we had some time to check out some of the new updates to the airport that make the extra wait time not nearly as bad.

In addition to the Hibiscus Cafe (cafeteria style food court and bar) and the scattering of snack and beverage kiosks that have been around for ages, there is now a lovely little coffee shop and bakery, an extensive gift shop, a duty free shop with an expansive bar and free rum tasting and a ton of new seating!

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A selection of distilled on St. Thomas rums are available to sample AND take home with you.

The new seats all have USB charging ports which makes juicing up MUCH easier than it was before.  I did read that some folks were having issues with these working the last time I wrote about the necessary travel time at the STT airport.  But I tried several of them in different locations last Wednesday and they all worked just fine.

I also want to not glaze over this incredible duty free shop!  this was my first time seeing it and, although I love the regular airport bar, I won’t make the mistake of opting for that one over this new one for my pre-flight libations again!  They had a great selection of drinks including St. John Brewers beers and Love City Seltzers.  And, yes, you ready that right…Free Rum!  So, now if we could just get those arrival Cruzan samplers back, we will be in good shape both coming and going. 🙂

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The bar in the Duty-Free shop is a great way to burn some hours

So, the bottom line here is, the wait inside the airport isn’t that horrible.  But missing your flight could be.  And, to me, the stress of ALMOST missing your flight is never worth the worry.  We ARE on island time here folks.  And in order to get through island time successfully is to plan ahead for it and give yourself that window to work with.

Pro-Tip:  If you are flying ANY TIME after 3PM, take the 11AM Crown Bay Ferry.  If you have time, take time out for some lunch at Tickles Dockside Pub or icy cold beers and delicious local food at Ashley’s across the street from the terminal.  Make your travel day to the airport an event instead of a dreaded occurrence.  Perspective, people.  Perspective. 🙂

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Image courtesy of Born to Rhumb charters

8 thoughts on “St. Thomas Airport- New Updates and Early Arrivals”

  1. thanks for the update, maybe you can answer something. We are arriving sunday and plan to take the crown bay ferry, do you have to buy tickets in advance?

  2. When we left a couple of weeks ago, they had the line into customs divided by airline, though there were no signs or indication that they were doing this until you got close to the doors. Delta and American could go to the right side of the double doors, while every other airline had to wait in the left line that snaked out behind the bag check-in kiosks and out to the curb. If you are flying American and checking bags, you probably don’t need to wait in line for an agent. Check yourself in at the kiosk, print your bag tag(s), put them on your bags themselves, and then see if you get in on the right side of the double doors into the lines for customs. Don’t wait in lines that you don’t have to wait in!

  3. Word. We have been coming for 29 years, The last ten we have rented from Amalie on STT. Always get the first ferry we can off STJ, and if it’s early, hit Magens for a swim, then a little lunch before we head to the airport with three hours to spare. Makes the day a joy, not a grind. Drinks may be involved.

  4. Fantastic advice! Thank you. Also I would like to mention that I love your newsletters in my inbox. It’s nice to be updated on all the happenings on St. John.

  5. It does have that line, but you still have to wait in line to go through customs first with all your luggage (including checked bags), then wait in line to drop your luggage off at the TSA screening conveyor belt, then you get in line for Pre TSA. Yes, it’s a tedious process.

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