Winair/Air Caraibes Transfers to St Barths

Jan 11th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7
Winair/Air Caraibes Transfers to St Barths

My husband and I will be going to St Barths in March (arrive on a Friday)for a week. I have read various threads about Winair et al. We are on the Air France flight which arrives at 2:45 in the afternoon. How much time should I budget to make it through immigration, customs, etc to connect to St Barths? I also understand there is a new airport in Saint Marteen which may be more efficient than the old one. If anyone has made this journey lately pls fill me in. Also, which is best Winair or Air Caraibes?
Michelle is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 523

Not to freak you out but have you seen the runway on St Barts? Pretty dangerous and they have talked about closing it in the past. Have you thought about a boat ride there instead.
clueless is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Oh, don't let cluelees frighten you. The approach to the airport on St. Barth's is no more heart stopping than a tame roler coaster ride. My mother (age 90) was sitting in the co-pilot's seat and loved it so much she keeps asking when we are going again. IMO, it much more fun than the fery which can be rough enough it has the nickname vomit comet. Now that's scary for some people!!!

To answer OP's question, immigration on St. Martin can be slow and how much time you'll need depends on the number of other flights that arrive around the same time as yours. Allow at least 30 to 45 minutes and if you get through sooner well so much the better. Customs is a non-issue. Add more time to check in and get boarding passes for your flight to SBH if you don't already have them.

There's mixed stories about how efficient things are at the new airport best one can say is there are good days and bad days - no telling which one will show up when you are travelling.

Not sure you'll find much of a difference between Winair and Air Caribes, both are small regional airlines, both are small planes (Air Carabies may be slightly larger). Make sure your connecting flight leave from same airport. Some flight to/from St. Barths use the Airport in Grand Case. Try posting your question on or one the SXM forum at there are los of St. Barth's experts on those site who can give you more specifics.
A_Traveller is offline  
Jan 12th, 2007, 03:22 AM
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when the Air France flight comes in, it can get very busy at the Immigration lines.
I would leave at least 2 hours between flights ..just to be safe...
Barbara1 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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There is no discussion of closing the airport, and it is not dangerous at all.

On top of that the pilots are specifically trained for this airport

It was recently refurbished to the tune of six million Euros.
waring is offline  
Jan 12th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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The Government over the years have talked about closing it. I'm sure if you do some research you'll find that out. My husband is a pilot and he thought it was pretty dangerous.
clueless is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 05:49 PM
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Posts: 452
Michelle, again, don't listen to Clueless. The plane ride into St. Barts is a piece of cake. The approach that everyone talks about is "over the mountain." (Sometimes the planes approach the opposite way, which is absolutely nothing to be concerned about - I've flown in that way once before). The "over the mountain" approach is nothing to worry about - and I hate roller coasters so I would tell you the truth!
Becca is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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"The Government over the years have talked about closing it"

Complete and utter nonesense. Do a bit of research? I have been working in and around the airport for more than three years. I know the airline employees, the pilots and the border police as well as reading the local press every day and no-one has once intimated that the airport is either dangerous or to be closed.

What on earth is wrong with the runway? It is brand new. You couldn't imagine a more pristine surface to land on.

The planes are STOL (Short Take of and Landing) and perfectly adapted to the conditions.

Which government? If it was not already up to French standards it wouldn't be open at all. The mayor owns one of the airlines as well.

Your pilot husband may think it is dangerous, but he hasn't carried out the 300 supervised landings required to get a licence to fly into St Barts.

If it was dangerous, don't you think that each and every pilot landing here would demand a transfer to a different route. If conditions are indeed not ideal, in cases of high wind etc, like every other airport in the world, they simply don't fly. Do you think they are suicidal?

There is a film of a landing here:

Dangerous would imply risk leading to accidents.....nada....Air St Thomas used to pathetically stick a wheel in the sand at the end of the runway, and lost their licence. I have never heard of anyone being hurt or a plane being damaged on landing or take off.

Really, scaremongering like this is totally irresponsible. We don't have the American press encouraging us to be scared of absolutely everything and don't need people spreading false rumours.

Tourism is the lifeblood of this little piece of paradise, and hysterical idiocies of this type are not necessary.
waring is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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PS. peope cycle up the road parallel to the "mountain".

waring is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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If you can do with just carry-on luggage (and have a ton of fun shopping in St Barth as a perk)you don't have to go through customs or immigration-- just head right to the transit desk, and over to the winair departure area. You can save an hour! Just be sure to check the dimensions of your carry-on suitcase, as the allowable has been reduced.
elisemf is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 98
See SBH online’s “Getting to St. Barts”, In the transit Gate,

Just as elisemf mentioned, traveling only with carry-on luggage makes huge difference when transferring at SXM to SBH.

If you missed your flight, airline company will usually let you take next flight without additional charge. During the high season, they usually fly every hour or so. My experience with Winair has not been good. I now take Air Caribe or St Barts Commuters.
Mochi is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Posts: 523
clueless is offline  
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