SJU airport and other info?

Old Nov 26th, 2002, 01:30 PM
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SJU airport and other info?

I've heard horror stories about going through customs at SJU, so I am wondering how much time I should schedule between connections there.
I have a US Airways flight into San Juan at 1:02 p.m. Will an American Eagle flight out to Tortola at 2:01 p.m. be okay? On the return flight, I have to catch a US Airways flight at 4:15 p.m. Should I get into SJU from Tortola on American at 1:38 or 2:29 p.m.? Also, this may be a silly question, but does the BVI's use the same electric current and plugs as the U.S.? Lastly, where would be a good place to rent a motor boat while on Virgin Gorda? We will be staying near Spanish Town. Thanks!
Old Nov 26th, 2002, 02:07 PM
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You should have plenty of time, no kidding, SJU is amazing! I was there 3 x in one year and just returned from vacation 2 weeks ago and had to pass thru SJU. In my experience SJU is a very busy hub and they do a great job of getting everyone thru, IMHO. I have never had any problems with luggage or any bad experience and I think it all depends on the time of day and how much traffic there is. The airport has been recently redone and is much more "user friendly". In the past it has had a bad rap, but now I found it to be a very pleasant airport experience and you should not have any trouble!
PS we made our last flight with 25 min connecting time. We made it thru baggage claim, customs and security with plenty of time to spare. I know the bag had just made it because when we arrived at JFK baggage claim, our was the first bag out! I have always found SJU to be fast and efficient

Happy Travels
Old Nov 26th, 2002, 05:51 PM
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As our rule of thumb, we allow an hour and a half.
If all goes well then we have time for 3 drinks at the bar down near gate 1.
Francesco is the bartender.
If your baggage is delayed or you are selected to be searched, then you just make it.
Worst of all is spending 4 or so hours there in a layover.
Old Nov 26th, 2002, 07:47 PM
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Thanks for the tips! We will be flying at the end of January, right smack dab in the middle of the busy season, so I just wanted to make sure.
Old Nov 27th, 2002, 05:34 AM
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To Targ-
We had the same questions you did for the return flight.
We flew from Nevis to SJU on American Eagle on a Tuesday afternoon left Nevis around 230p and got into SJU 315-330p.
By the time we got through customs etc and rechecked through security, it was a little bit before 5pm. We had a 7pm flight to JFK so we were not rushed but people who had 5pm flights were freaking out on the security line and we ended up letting alot of them go in front of us to make there flights. I would suggest that you take the 1:38 flight not the 2:29 flight. If the later flight is delayed, you may be in trouble. You also may have to transfer terminals. I don't know if American Eagle/American are in the same terminal at US Air but that make take some time if they are not.
Old Nov 27th, 2002, 07:09 AM
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Hmm, okay, 1:38 it is. Better be safe than sorry, I suppose! Don't need to be stressed out AFTER our vacation.
Old Nov 27th, 2002, 07:24 AM
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Yes Targ, I concur with Lorraine. Definetly get that earlier flight for the trip back home because there is a tendency for the lines to be fairly long and slow moving in the SJU immigration during the mid morning and afternoon hours. My last experience was just that. We were in the immigration for at least 45 minutes and some people ahead of us were in danger of missing their connections. On the journey into SJU and for your connection to American Eagle, you may have to hoof it a bit to make that 2:01 connection, especially if your US Airways flight is not on time because you will have quite a walk from the gate where US Airways drops you to the AA gate for your connection. In fact, I beleive US Airways uses an entirely different terminal. Also you have to think about your luggage. Presumably, it will be tagged straight through to Tortola from your original destination so that you won't have to claim it in SJU and recheck it. Make sure that that is done. Also, if you can change your connection to the flight after the 2:10 flight, you should consider doing that just to give yourself sufficient time between flights. Because it is the high season, there are AA Eagle flights leaving SJU practically every hour during the peak hours for Tortola so you should not have a problem getting another flight within a reasonable time.

I also confirm that the electricity and plug outlets in the BVI are the same as in the US so all of your electric appliances will work without a problem. Have a fun trip!
Old Nov 27th, 2002, 07:49 AM
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I just returned from Tortola last week. San Juan was a breeze, my fiancee and I were through integration and customs in about five minutes. I think the Customs Service is aware of some of the tight connections there, so they're ready for it! As for flying TO San Juan, you don't pass through Customs there since it is a US Territory. You don't pass through customs until you reach your final destination. Have a great trip!
Old Nov 27th, 2002, 05:58 PM
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There is a 2:30 pm flight out of SJU to EIS for the arrival date. I think I'll do that. Thanks for the info! I have another question, now. If you don't go through customs until you get to your destination, is there some way to register items such as photographic equipment with US Customs prior to getting to the BVIs? I heard that sometimes you can get questioned by customs officers if you have several cameras and electronics (we will have two cameras, a portable CD player, and a handheld GPS)and that it is better to register them on the way out so that you don't get hassle on the way back in. Was this unnecessary advice?
Old Dec 2nd, 2002, 07:44 AM
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It sure wasn't a problem for us, and I had some electronic gear with me as well. The only thing we were asked when entering the BVI was where we were going and how long we were staying.

Coming back into San Juan we weren't asked anything at all! I am sure there is a form that you can ask for on the flight from SJU to EIS to list that stuff so that you have proof when you come back into the US, but I seriously doubt you'll have a problem.
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