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Newbie to international travel: a couple of questions

Newbie to international travel: a couple of questions

Aug 25th, 2004, 04:49 PM
  #1  
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Newbie to international travel: a couple of questions

Planning a trip to the BVI's May/June '05, and have never travelled internationally before. For various reasons, will definitely be travelling down on a Sunday. It could be the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, or the Sunday a week later.

(1) are there any disadvantages (other than maybe a slightly higher cost) to flying on the Sunday of a holiday weekend? I figure it would be a slow day, but not sure.

(2) Does one need to allow extra time between flights at one's "gateway" airport to allow for immigration, customs, whatever? In my case, we're travelling MCI through either CLT or ATL to STT; and one possible itinerary only gives us 1 hour to change planes at CLT. Is this enough for international travel?

Thanks for any help.....
hens4th is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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1. Too many factors that determine the actual cost of a plane ticket. Hard to tell if that particular Sunday will be cheaper. In very general terms, international fares are often about $50 cheaper with Mon-Wed departure, than Fri-Sat. Sunday and Thursday often depend on the airline and the fare type.

2. Flying out of the US, you don't need to go through any customs/immigration, so there's often no difference from a domestic connection. An hour at CLT will be enough. Coming back, you'll need more time to go through US immigration/customs. [There are exceptions. For example, if Atlanta is your point of origin, and you're flying DL directly from ATL-Europe, then you'll need more time to go through check-in and security, especially Friday afternoons. It's similar in other major airports. But MCI won't be a problem.]
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:47 AM
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Thanks so much for the info.....

(1) not so much concerned about the cost (I've budgeted for the "median" ticket price, and either I'll find a good sale price or not, and also who can predict what the rates will do by next summer?.....); mainly wondering if there's anything I've haven't considered as to why flying on a holiday weekend wouldn't be a good idea.

(2) So outbound I don't have to worry about needing extra time between connections, but inbound should maybe allow for customs/immigration? And that would be only at my final inbound destination (MCI), not between flights (CLT or ATL)? Have I got this right?

Thanks again.....
hens4th is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 02:44 AM
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If you will be connecting in STT from BVI for your flight home, then that's where you will go through immigration and customs. Once you clear both, the rest of the flights are just like any domestic flights.

Have a great trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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Holiday weekends usually mean more leisure people traveling, especially Thanksgiving. But Memorial Day is more a "road-trip" kind of holiday, and most people leave Fri/Sat and return Monday. So, a Sunday departure won't be a problem, in my opinion.

I think AAFF has some keyboard problem with his last post, but what he's saying is that you'll go through US Immigration and Customs at the first port of entry (i.e. CLT, ATL, etc), and won't be at MCI. When you book the ticket, the airline will know to give you 1+ hour at that point. That's usually enough for US citizens/residents, but for visitors I think 90-120 minutes is more realistic, as their immigration line is significantly longer.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Ok, correct me if Im wrong.

Theway I understand is that the OP is going to BVI(British Virgin Islands). The OP is connecting through STT(St.Thomas) both ways. If that's the case the OP will go through immigration and customs in STT.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 05:26 AM
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I meant to say:

The OP will go through US immigration and customs at STT on the return.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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Oh, I see. Sorry about the confusion. STT is US territory, BVI is not. So, that's right, if the OP is flying BVI-STT-xxx-MCI, then all US immigration/customs should be done at STT. [Unless they also have US immigration/customs at BVI, like in Canada. I am not sure about that one.]
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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It sounds like the OP may be flying into STT and taking a ferry over to the BVI since there's no mention of another airport but I may be wrong. In 3 trips to the BVI, I've yet to actually fly into either Beef Island or Virgin Gorda. I've only taken the ferry from St. Thomas. There's no US immigration pre-clearance in the BVI that I'm aware of. Is there any other country that does that besides Canada?
Patty is online now  
Aug 26th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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Actually I was wondering about that too,Patty.It appears that American Eagle dominates service and that flights would actually be between BVI and San Juan,not STT.But the OP says STT.Oh well....I think Aruba has a pre-clearance facility if I am not mistaken.
BeachBoi is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 11:36 AM
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I know that Bahamas has it, Bermuda may have it. I think that some but not all Mexican airports may also have US Immigration and customs..
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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US Immigration has an outpost at Shannon Airport in Ireland (or did last time I was there, several years ago), that lets you skip passport control and go straight to customs when you land in the States.
kayd is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Bermuda has it.
cmcfong is online now  
Aug 26th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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BeachBoi,
I believe only a few small carriers like Air St. Thomas fly from STT into BVI airports and their schedules are very limited so it's often difficult (if not impossible) to connect. I did try to take a seaplane once, but my flight was cancelled due to weather and I ended up on the ferry anyway. I don't even think that seaplane service exists anymore between Charlotte Amalie and Roadtown.
Patty is online now  
Aug 26th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Didn't realize so many places had pre-clearance facilities. Thanks for the info!
Patty is online now  
Aug 27th, 2004, 01:57 AM
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Thanks y'all for taking the time to reply.

I'll clarify: Planning on flying MCI through either CLT or ATL to STT, then ferry to Tortola. So I DO need to allow extra time between flights leaving my "gateway" 'port (either CLT or ATL) for immigrations/customs? Is that right? Is an hour enough to go through the process and still make the connection? (I understand that inbound I'll go through the process at STT and just need to get to the 'port early - it's outbound I'm trying to get a handle on.....)

I've just been punching in sample dates in Travelocity, Expedia etc. to get a sense of flight times/prices; and several of my "first choice" itineraries only give me a 45 min-1 hour timeframe to make the connection at either CLT or ATL. And of course the website doesn't know I'm travelling on to Tortola, and need to go through customs/immigration.

It sounds like I'm okay planning our vacation to start Memorial Day weekend. But you would recommend that outbound I allow what? - 1 to 1 1/2 hours between flights at CLT/ATL to clear customs/immigration? (If it makes a difference, am planning at this point to be travelling w/carry-on only, but you know how we women are: that could change.....)

It's so exciting, planning my first "international" vacation. But since we've never done it before, have no idea what to expect as to the "processes" involved.

Thanks again for all your help and info.....



hens4th is offline  
Aug 27th, 2004, 02:13 AM
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Sorry, I just thought through this further (just had a lightbulb go off!): since we're not FLYING "internationally", since my final outbound (flight) point is US territory, am I fretting about this needlessly? Will we go through customs/immigration only on St. Thomas, only at the ferry embarkation? So I don't have to allow extra time at all for connections on the way to STT, only need to allow extra time between our flight and our ferry to do it?

Just had a DUH! moment. I've got it right now, don't I?.....
hens4th is offline  
Aug 27th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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I think you've almost got it. Generally you don't go through immigration/customs formalities when exiting a country, only when entering(there are some exceptions like China), so you don't have to worry about having extra time in CLT or ATL. It will be just like any other domestic flight connection. When you take the ferry from St. Thomas to Tortola, you'll go through BVI immigration/customs at your first point of arrival into the BVI. I'm guessing this will be the Soper's Hole/West End dock on Tortola. Similarly, when you take the ferry back to the USVI from the BVI, you will clear US immigration at your first point of entry into the USVI.
Patty is online now  
Aug 27th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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I just thought of one other thing to add... on your return, you also have to go through a US immigration check at STT airport (unless this has changed recently). So you're actually going through two US immigration checks on your return, once when your ferry enters the USVI and once at the airport. I've always found this somewhat odd, as I'm already in US territory and I've already cleared US immigration once coming back from the BVI, but that just seems to be the way it works... again this procedure may have changed, I don't know.
Patty is online now  
Aug 27th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Actually, most countries in the world do have passport controls for people leaving the country when flying. Exception is the US, Canada and the UK (I believe). Many are more lax when you're leaving by road.
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