BonaireTalk Discussion Group
Getting to Bonaire: Dutch Caribbean Airlines....Yes or No ??
Getting to Bonaire:
Archives - 2003-05-01 to 2004-01-31:
Dutch Caribbean Airlines....Yes or No ??
| By craig thomson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #1) on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 4:43 pm: |
Hey all....I'm a newbie on this board. Just decided on my 1st warm water dive location...Bonaire (after 250 British Columbia, Canada, dives).
Will be flying Air Canada from Victoria, BC, to Miami Fl, the last week of April 2004. Want to connect to Curacao and then take Bonaire Excel to Bonaire.
Any reactions to my plan of hopping DCA from Miami to Curacao (and then returning the same way) ???
Seems that there are more opportunities to connect from the USA by going via Curacao than direct to Bonaire !!
Any opinion / advice much appreciated !!
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #402) on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 5:49 pm: |
did you look at flying to Aruba and then taking Bonaire Exel? There are usually a lot more carriers flying from all over NA to Aruba.
DCA to Cur is ok; if it decides to go that day...I think the Saturday flight stops in Bonaire...take your critical clothes/eqpt as a carry-on...
| By C Poteet (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #171) on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 8:05 pm: |
You might wish to search this newsgroup for "DCA" and "ALM" (DCA's predecessor).
There are a lot of folks here who have had difficulty (understatement to say the least)with DCA/ALM. In fairness, there are some who have not...those folks seem in the distinct minority.
Our own personal experience: all airlines have problems from time to time, but we wouldn't fly DCA on a bet.
The idea of flying into Aruba and then using BonaireExel over to BON sounds good. Or, if you're not locked into the Miami routing, try Air Jamaica from one of several U.S. ports or American from DFW or similar to San Juan then American to BON. We've had excellent luck with the AA routing. The only hitch with it is the early morning return flight. (Who knows, with that departure you might be able to get back in Beautiful B.C. in the same day.)
Regardless, you're getting ready to be spoiled for diving adventure and enjoyment. Get ready planning that second trip!
| By craig thomson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #2) on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 9:55 pm: |
I'm locked into the Miami route...both ways...the free ticket is not alterable and non-refundable.
I've been exploring the AA option from Miami ->San Juan ->Bonaire and it looks the best. Better yet, I'd connect in SJ with my California based buddy and entourage...and leave Bonaire all in a group.
Due to the silly departure time from Bonaire, (0600) and the pleasant (or not) effect of multiple time zone changes etc....as long as AA is on schedule out of Bonaire and SJ and doesn't lose anything en route, I connect in Miami and then on to Toronto, then direct back to Victoria all same day.
So......anyone have any warnings about the AA option ?? My travel agent here doesn't know squat about Caribbean destinations....I had to show him Bonaire on a map.
| By seb schulherr (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #1134) on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:02 pm: |
We used AA from NYC to SJU and then on to BON twice this year with no problems, and at least once last year.
| By Susan Taft (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #272) on Saturday, December 13, 2003 - 7:36 am: |
Our trips to Bonaire have always been on AA since they started flying there (we were glad to not have to do ALM from Curacao anymore!)and other than the early morning departure from Bonaire have no issues with the flight. You do need to know that from SJ to BON (and back) it is a small plane. Customs back through SJ can sometimes take awhile so make sure that you have time between flights. And don't plan on finding decent food in the SJ airport! Other than that I would say go for the Miami-SJ-Bon route.
Welcome to BT and be ready to be spoiled by Bonaire!
| By herman mowery (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #249) on Saturday, December 13, 2003 - 9:36 am: |
I am well aware of the old ALM troubles BUT I have to defend DCA here. There is a flight from Miami to Bonaire (via Curacao) We have taken that flight the last 2 years and so far it has been good. The only delays were about 20 mins due to having to fly around bad weather. I saw the T-storms in the distance so I have to believe them. All of our bags have arrived on time and intact. If you have to fly out of Miami, they may be worth a try. For what it's worth, I have not seen anyone trashing the Mia/Bon flight here over the last 2 years.. To be totally honest, I am still gun shy of them but so far so good. The flight schedules are much better than the AA also. I would be very interested if anyone else has has good or bad experiences with them over the last year or so. It's getting close to time to start planning 04.
| By craig thomson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #3) on Saturday, December 13, 2003 - 1:27 pm: |
Thanks everyone !!
I think the jury is in and I'll be booking with AA. The "small" plane (AT7) is larger than the aircraft I usually fly on (DH Otter/Twin Otter) so it'll be a treat.
The 0600 departure isn't a big deal...doubt I'll get much sleep that last night anyway.
Customs shouldn't be a big deal.....it's a connecting flight right ?? There's just over an hour between BON->SJU and SJU->MIA....I doubt AA would schedule flights that were systemically behind schedule.
Really appreciate everyone's input....would have booked alternate than AA, and by the sounds of things could have created more problems for the unwary traveller.
Ciao for now.
| By David F Pascoe (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #7) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 12:22 am: |
Craig we do this trip about every 6 weeks.... SJU is your entry to the US... you will need to clear immigration.. opens only at 8.00am pickup chk luggage and clear customs... before MIA. 1 hour the legal connection is marginal... it all depends on the baggage thru put at SJU and NEVER trust the carousel signs!! ALWAYS keep an eye on anything that moves... it just might be yours. We are always carting stuf down but the return is always carry on for this reason. The connections to JFK are scheduled to change and not for the better the end of Jan.. Fore warned is .. did I mention security.. yes you have to clear that too after clearing customs and rescanning the bags. I am not sure if this is good or bad but... it is the ONLY place in the entire world where the scanners are set sensitive enough to catch a Titanium dive watch!!! There are invariably queues and if anything catches their interest close to rectal exams ensue. Having said that as long as the seat belts are always tight... only FL20 and the are always those nice big fluffies out there... AA has always been very good to us.
| By craig thomson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #4) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 4:05 am: |
Maybe it's the late hour (11:50pm PDT) but I didn't follow much of what you said in previous post.
So....SJU immigration opens at 0800hrs...no big deal...our arriving flight is probably the first customer of the day with an 0805 scheduled arrival.
You imply a theft problem in SJ ?? Would you care to elaborate ??? No big deal...I have a nasty habit in airports of not leaving things unattended. If not...my camera, housing, regs and dive computer are all carry on (and stick to me like glue). Thieves, if they chose to take my checked bag, would only get away with a week's dirty laundry and my "pool" BCD (my weight integrated "ocean" bcd is staying at home). No great loss there....I need a new pool BCD anyhow.
You imply that the luggage carousels are not always labelled correctly for arriving aircraft ?? I've never been to SJ...but have found that even here in little old Victoria (with its 2 carousels) that the labels are sometimes inaccurate. I always check and double check. If I miss my checked bag on it's first go-round and someone snags it...see comment earlier about dirty laundry and pool BCD (I can live without either).
The JFK connections are completely irrelevant to my situation....going from BON to Miami via SJ...not getting anywhere near New York (I hope!!)
Security is not a big deal...as long as there's not a huge delay there. Other than my carry on luggage (see earlier...camera...housing...strobe...regulator...computer console) I check everything. Planning on sandals and tennis socks...shorts and a T shirt. I'm in the jail business here in Canada, and to be blunt....there are worse things in life than the occasional rectal exam. I don't carry keys and don't wear a watch. If it's metal it goes into the scanner so when I walk through the scanner there in zero risk of a beep and additional down time (did you drop that soap ??!!....sorry....a little jail humor there)
Not sure I catch the references in your post to seatbelts being tight, or FL20, or nice big fluffies.
Maybe.....once I read through the "chatter"....you're trying to say that AA is a good choice and you've had little difficulty in traveling the route I'm thinking of ?? If this is the message....thanks !! (If not....well....sorry but I missed the point entirely).
Ciao for now,
| By David F Pascoe (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #8) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 10:03 am: |
Poor attempt at humor on my part... had no problems with theft but it is a tight connection even if you arrive at 7.30 the doors will not be open!!
FL 20 = 20,000ft fluffies are large thunder heads that you fly around or thru... one flight they took 2 people off with head injuries!! this is a potential issue anywhere with prop planes in the carib.
AA works for us I was just pointing out the potential trouble spots for the unaware.
| By craig thomson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #5) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 12:33 pm: |
I thought perhaps it was the late hour that blocked my sense of humor !! (add to that the paranoia of an infrequent "world traveller" who's mortgaging the farm to make this trip a reality and who can always dream up enough things that could go wrong as not to need outside assistance)
I checked the AA schedule, and it looks like there are 2 flights from SJ to Miami which leave within 30 min of each other....funny....they arrive in Miami within 15 min of each other.....but, I suppose that if for some reason I missed the first connection to Miami I'd find a seat on the 2nd plane. Fortunately there's lots of time (3 hrs) between flights in Miami so either way, I should get home......
Really appreciate the information from a frequent flier !!
Ciao for now,
| By LEONA HABA (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #1) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 5:00 pm: |
Hello all...I've gotten a plethora of info from this great site! My husband and I will be arriving on Bonaire this Sunday and we are SO excited. We are flying AA from Chicago to Bonaire and of course it stops in San Juan. Do we have to handle our luggage in San Juan or does AA deal with it? I am getting lazy in my old age. Also, can someone recommend some breakfast joints in Bonaire? Thanks!
AA handles the luggage all the way down to Bonaire. On the way back is another story. You pick up your checked bags to go through customs and drop them off again before continuing on through security to your gate. They have carts for a fee in this area.
| By Kate Hickson (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #176) on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 2:21 pm: |
On your way down, you check your baggage in Chicago, and you don't have to deal with it until you pick it up on Bonaire. Breakfast places?? The Lost Penguin, I guess. Have fun.
Visit: The Bonaire WebCams - Current Bonaire images and weather!
The Bonaire Insider - the latest tourism news about Bonaire
The Bonaire Information Site, InfoBonaire
Search Bonaire - Search top Bonaire Web sites