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How scary is the plane ride from St. Maarten to St. Barths?

How scary is the plane ride from St. Maarten to St. Barths?

Jul 21st, 2006, 02:08 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 387
How scary is the plane ride from St. Maarten to St. Barths?

Is it really THAT scary? Sounds like an adventure to me, but my sister-in-law refuses to go on that little plane. Are there any other options other than the ferry?
jewelhawg is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 03:11 PM
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If you're used to flying, and on small planes, not scary at all. But your
s-i-l will be petrified from the anticipation. St. Bart is overrated IMO. It is French chic, which you can get by going to France. There are many more interesting and scenic Caribbean islands with better hotels.
xkenx is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 03:28 PM
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The ferry is soooooo much worse than the plane (& I am not a good flier & I grew up on boats!).
MaryD is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 03:41 PM
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good news bad news:
good news:it's only a 15 minute flight. Literly you take off and land.
bad news: the plane "dips" to land on the runway. People hang out where the plane dips, and feel like you can reach out and touch it. The other end of the runway is a beach. If you know the "dip" is coming, it's not as scary.
If I could figure out how to scan a picture, I'd do it for you.
Good news (again): I survived to tell about it.
blamona is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 04:04 PM
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I dont think its that bad, but I am used to really little planes (like 2 seaters) so flying does not bother me. That being said, they have 2 pilots on each flight on WINAIR in and out of St Barths, so thats good. Many other flights do not. It is so short and its just easier. The ferry is horrible. The rapid explorer (the new one) is not as bad, but others - well lets just say we all felt under the weather the last time. Yuck. At the end of a tiring travel day I want to get there ASAP and not mess around with taking a ferry.
MIM04 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 04:17 PM
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Sounds like my husband and I will fly and my sil and bol can decide what they want to do.

What about the return flight...St. Barth's to St. Maarten. Is it easier?
jewelhawg is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 05:40 PM
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I think the flight to Saba is a little more "interesting."
Carrybean is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 08:04 PM
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C'mon guys; it's not THAT bad. We went from Grand Case airport; it's up, level out, look down on Gustavia (the capital), up over the hill and set down on the runway. I think we were on Air St.Barths. I sat right behind the pilot so I sure got a good view; sort of like being in the front seat of the roller coaster. He shouted over his shoulder at me that there were whales offshore from St.Barths and that's why all the little boats were out as there hadn't been any whales there for about 10 years.

We've done the ferry too. Being somone who has gotten seasick I wasn't looking forward to the crossing but it was a free trip over and back for viewing a timeshare. It was rough for part of the way over but it didn't bother me. But we prefer the plane as it's faster and therefore leaves us with more time for the island.

You can arrange a rental to pick up at the airport and it's an easy island to drive around. Contrary to some earlier opinions we find St.Barths very pristine and very chic. And while things can be super expensive, last trip I picked up (literally) a French sign from a construction site and a pair of Prada sandals that were half the price I'd seen them for at home. We had breakfast there, a nice lunch in Gustavia and then we went for a drive and to the beach before our flight back to SXM.
baker is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 04:04 AM
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Baker is right - the flight is actually fun. It's a short flight, you don't go very high so you get a nice view of both SXM and SBH and the surrounding waters. The fun part comes just before landing in SBH when the plane makes it's approach over a hill and dips down (like on a roller coaster) toward the runway. The dip lasts only a few seconds before you touch down. My 85 year old mother was sitting in the front seat next to the pilot and loved it. She can't wait to go back and try it again.
A_Traveller is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 04:37 AM
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I don't think the flight is too bad -- my Winair Flight had only one pilot in contrast to what the poster above said. I don't think the landing is the scary part, I think it is the initial take off over the water, you do feel a bit "is this thing going to make it". But once you get in the air, the view is great and you are there in a flash -- no time to stress. Also, if any of you are a bit claustrophobic, when you are on the ground and they shut the doors, being in the hot enclosed plane will be a bit of a challenge -- I suggest getting into the seat (you choose your own seats as you board) that is right behind the pilot -- he has his small window open until just before take off and getting some air feels good. Regardless of the pros and cons, I would suck it up and take the plane, since it is the fastest/easiest way to get there.
travbabe is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 08:41 AM
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I agree that it's not that bad. The dip over the hill is quick and before you know it you are on the ground. The WinAir STOL (short take-off and landing) are fabulous aircraft and designed for such landings, not to mention the pilots being well trained to land there and the great track record WinAir has in safe flights.

I agree that St. Barth's is much less scary than landing on Saba, which I have to do more often.

Here is a photo of both.

St. Barth's


Of course, don't show your SIL the photo, and do tell her that the ferry is a much longer ride, not to mention can be much more frightening if the seas are rough.
Statia is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 10:06 AM
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Love the photos! Since my SIL got seasick on the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozymel, I bet I can show her all the replies and change her mind about the plane. Thanks guys!

jewelhawg is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 03:34 PM
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We took the Voyager over, and Winair back. The Voyager was rough, and some people did get sick. But, I would do it again. The flight was fun and the views were awesome. At first, we thought it would be scary, but it was like taking a sight-seeing flight. It was even better, as it was just my hubby and I on the flight. (one pilot only).
Maybe you can compromise with your SIL, and take one each way. Both are an adventure.
If she takes the boat, she may want to take some medicine. Also, a day trip is better than one in the dark, easier when you can see stationary land. Also, make sure she eats. Motion sickness on an empty stomach is worse.
tamjam is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:01 AM
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you will live through both, i have done both, and lets just say, on the ferry, the crew was well stocked with barf bags and paper towels, and couldn't hand them out fast enough...seriously...just get on deck and focus on the horizon 100% of the time and you will make it as i did. the plane is fine, esp. if you are prepared for the dip, and once you are there, drive up to the mountain where it dips, fun. you will survive, but it can be a rough ferry ride, and the planes only fly during daylight, so if your plane is late, like ours was, you have missed your flight and WILL go on the ferry, remember focus on the horizon!!!!
tennispro is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 03:49 PM
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Another option if you arrive after dark is to overnight in St. Maarten and take the first flight out the next day. I personally would do that before I'd go with the ferry, but that's just my opinion.
Statia is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:34 AM
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i took that flight to and from st barths years ago. i was young enough to not be scared, but man that plane is small! the flight lasts less than 12 minutes, app...and i would still take the flight over the ferry any day. i understand it's very rough water, and i don't think it's stations are very convenient, depending on where you are staying, etc...
otto is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Here is a video of the landing. This was on the St Bart forum.



Peace, Greenie
greenie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 06:13 AM
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Oh! That video is awesome! I actually feel like it will help eliviate some of my SIL's fears if she sees it! It doesn't look bad at all! Thanks for sharing, Greenie!
jewelhawg is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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Thanks for the link to that video. That was awesome. Have to admit I would be scared as heck on that plane if I didn't know about the "dip". The video really catches the "roller coaster" feel. I just couldn't visualize it until I saw the video. BTW, I have heard that ferry referred to as St Barfs. I may have missed it somewhere in the post, but how long is the ferry ride?
brenandg is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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the plane ride to St Barths can't be any more exciting than the landing at SXM


bluefan is offline  

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