Good Morning, Good Morning! I just wanted to take a quick moment this morning to alert anyone traveling out of the St. Thomas airport this weekend to abide by the three hour rule. Several Facebook posts from residents and visitors this past week have noted lengthy lines for TSA/Customs beginning as early as 11AM.
We often have guests on Asante that are deliberating about whether or not they ACTUALLY need to be at the airport three hours early. I never even pause to think before immediately responding YES. You might get lucky and breeze right through customs and TSA. But, then again, you might arrive two hours early and barely make it to your gate on time at our tiny airport that packs volume on departures and arrivals.
This week, reports of security lines that wrapped around out to baggage claim likely left some travelers with some unplanned renegotiations of their travel schedule.
TSA apps that I have used in the past mark the average wait time at Cyril E. King Airport as seven minutes. This is unbelievably inaccurate based on my ten years of flying in and out of the territory. Even if I am not checking a bag and am checked in online, I still arrive at the airport with several hours to spare.
So, as a gentle reminder, arrive early and skip the stress if you are flying out. Especially on peak travel days…Like the weekend. And most importantly, during some of the busiest times of the year! (Spring Break 🙂 )
This morning, I spoke with Port Authority Public Information Officer, Monifa Brathwaite. She informed me that the delays this week were due to back up at passenger processing in the customs lines. Sometime sit is customs and sometimes it is TSA. But, if one delay happens, it can easily result in these long lines. And she reinforced that, for years, Port Authority’s messaging has urged travelers to arrive two and a half to three hours early at our little airport that sees 900,000 visitors annually.
However, spending a little extra time at the airport isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The Hibiscus Cafe Bar and Restaurant is open (GET THE MAC AND CHEESE!) as are the kiosks and gift shops. I have seen that there is a new coffee shop and bakery in the terminal too. But, I have some little birds flying out next weekend that have promised me pictures and a full report on the updates at the airport (Thanks George & Venice 🙂 ). So, stay tuned!
Also, I want to remind you gently that due to Federal Law, masks are still required in all ports of entry and federally overseen public transportation (ferries, planes, air and sea port terminals). This mandate will be under review on April 18 and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out and update you if that changes!
Have a great weekend everyone. If you are flying, I wish you safe and stress free travels and fun wherever you may land.