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Getting to Bonaire: BonairExel Update
Bonaire Talk: Getting to Bonaire: Archives: Archives 1999-2005: Archives - 2005-01-01 to 2005-05-01: BonairExel Update
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andrew Voss (BonaireTalker - Post #11) on Monday, February 7, 2005 - 2:51 am:     Edit PostPrint Post

I've posted earlier on this board regarding my experience booking with BE, and I thought I'd report on a relatively successful experience with the airline.

We had paper tickets purchased through Carlson Wagonlit Travel leaving Aruba to Bonaire on January 30, returning February 6. The flight schedule changed on both ends by a few hours, but other than that issue, we had no problems with our BE connection. BE contacted us in advance of our travel date to Bonaire to advise us of the schedule change -- at least on the front end of the trip.

In retrospect, I don't know if it was worth the extra $40 for paper tickets -- there were very few tourists traveling on the BE flight from Aruba, and Internet confirmations seemed to work fine for the four to five folks who transferred from our charter flight to BE in Aruba. It was a full flight, however. I wanted the extra security -- so I think it was a good idea, at least the first time using the airline. The reservations agent did move very slowly -- lots of stamping and shuffling of paper -- so I would want to avoid that desk if you don't have much time between arrival in Aruba and departure to Bonaire. We had plenty o' time -- like five hours -- and there is not a whole lot going on at the Aruba airport.

Our return flight today changed from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and since BE did not have a local telephone number for us on the island, the ticketing agent said they could not contact us about the change (did they ask for a telephone number?). I was personally in vacation mode, and did not think to call BE until early this morning to reconfirm. The two hour delay didn't affect our connection because our charter didn't leave Aruba until 6:00 p.m. -- a good thing because we had to get through customs in Aruba after our arrival on BE, pick up our bags, check in with the charter, exit through Aruba customs, go through U.S. customs, go through security twice, pick up our bags, check them again, and then board. Canadian friends we met at our resort who left today as well had only 45 minutes upon arrival in Aruba to catch their charter back to Toronto because of the change in BE's flight schedule. Moral of that story is to make sure that BE knows where you are on the island, and call to reconfirm flight times the day before you're scheduled to leave. Friends on Bonaire say the schedule changes constantly. Big frustration for people who fly between the islands.

I'm afraid I wasn't able to find out anything new about a developing relationship between BE and KLM, or BE's relationship with the DCA group. No one had the sense that the airline was going to disappear soon, and most felt that a relationship with another major carrier would improve BE's maintenance contracts and improve its reliability.


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