BonaireTalk Discussion Group
Getting to Bonaire: DCA or Not DCA?
Getting to Bonaire:
Archives - 2002-01-01 to 2002-10-27:
DCA or Not DCA?
Has anyone had any recent experiences with Dutch Caribbean Airlines? There schedules are much more convenient than American and less expensive than AJ. I donít want to save a few bucks if itís going to cause me a lot of troubles. Iíve flown ALM through CUR before so I know what they were like in their former incarnation.
The options from Washington DC are limited and require some pretty creative scheduling (No more AJ from BWI). Any thoughts are appreciated.
Scott, please clarify "(No more AJ from BWI)." Did you mean you wouldn't fly them again, or that Air Jamaica is no longer flying from BWI?
If it's the latter, I may need to panic... we're booked with AJ from BWI for a Bonaire trip in September.
| By Sarah on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 2:53 pm: |
Scott, just to let you know, we're flying from Washington to Curacao and onto Bonaire in December. We've chosen to fly American to Curacao and DCA to Bonaire..
Donít mean to panic you, but I canít get any flights from BWI to BON in November on AJ. It looks like it might be a glitch in there web site as Iíve been able to find them if I choose separate flights from BWI to MBJ and MBJ to BON. Unfortunately Iím at least 90 minute drive from BWI and add on rush hour and itís quite a long haul.
Should we choose to fly DCA Iíll be sure to let you know how it went.
The Air Jamaica web site has always left a lot to be desired. They only show available flights by the leg, so there are never ANY flights available from BWI to BON. But as you found out, the flights are there if you enter BWI to MBJ and then MBJ to BON. I've been booking all my other travel online for a few years now, but wouldn't do so with AJ.
We're in Annapolis, about 35 minutes driving time from BWI (even less if there's no traffic.) If you end up deciding AJ is the best way for you to go to Bonaire, get in touch with me. Unless we're away ourselves, you'd be welcome to stay here the night before your flight from BWI to MBJ (and then BON.) All I'd ask is that you pack lightly, so I can stow away in one of your bags! :o)
We flew with them in early June from Miami to Bonaire and back. We wanted to fly AJ but they were booked solid and their new flight times are very bad for us. I really did not want to fly DCA (fears of another ALM)but had little choice at the time. To be honest I was impressed with DCA (and I hated ALM). The ticket counter people were very helpful, both in Miami and Bonaire. The trip from MIA to BON left 30 minutes late due to T-storms in the area, not their fault and they anounced it about 1 hr before scheduled departure. On our return flight, they left on time and got into Miami 30 minutes late, again T-storms. The planes are not the prettiest and the food was not great, but they were pleasent to deal with and on time (I can forgive weather delays). We may have just gotten lucky but I hope not. I sure would like to hear from others who have flown them lately as well. Lets hope this is the start of a good airline. AND OUR BAGS GOT THERE BOTH WAYS!!
Also, the gate area on Bonaire now has AC, a really nice additon.
^#*&@!!^$$# PBD setting in !
Thanks Deborah, Iím noticing that booking AJ through any of the major search engines requires it to be done by each leg (multiple cities). I may just have to use the telephone for this one.
Your offer is too kind. Fortunately my wifeís father lives in Ft. Washington, which is a bit closer and if heís in town might even provide shuttle service.
Thanks for the feedback Herman, thatís certainly sounds like an improvement over my past ALM experiences. A/C sounds GREAT!
BTW, my brother lives in Hillsborough, not too far from you I bet!
| By Glen Reem on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 10:01 pm: |
Christine Hughes posted a recent 'trip report from hell' in which she did not name the airline but I believe DCA is the only airline serving Bonaire that makes stops in Haiti. Perhaps she would reply to a direct query to her her email address. A well-informed source on Bonaire tells me that DCA does not list stops in Haiti on through tickets or on travel agents itineraries for customers. The only way you can check is to look at the flight time from Miami to Bonaire or vice versa-- the Haiti-stop trips are obviously longer. The other way to discover the stop is the one Christine experienced: at the check-in counter. This note so you can make a more informed choice. Apparently Bonaire residents are very leery of DCA. Caveat emptor.
This is the link to Christine's reports: http://www.oldbonairetalk.com/newsgroup/messages/1022/37491.html?#POST74835
| By Bud Gillan on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 12:26 am: |
The DCA direct flights from Miami to Bonaire are flying every Saturday without fail. They have been extremely helpful and even gave me the email of the CEO. Thinking I would be flying down this summer on DCA I checked each Saturday. Full flights and they are really making an effort. Time will tell, but from Miami things are going better. Clearly, Bonaire needs airlines to step up to the plate to service the island.
Thanks all for your comments, youíve been very helpful.
BTW I did see flights that went through Haiti although I donít remember if it was AJ or DCA, but thatís a transfer I would like to avoid. I had a direct flight once from MIA to BON on ALM that conveniently went to CUR first, but didnít tell us until we were in flight. Certainly not the same frustration as going to Port of Prince, but only one of the many unusual experiences I had on ALM. Glad to here some more positive spin on DCA from some of you, sounds like they might be headed in the right direction.
I think Iím going to give AJ a try this time and just do the long drive to BWI. Theyíve got some great fares right now and the price difference will pay for a couple nights in a hotel.
Too bad AA dropped the Aruba to BON flights, sounded like it might have been a good option. The last two times Iíve been through SJU on the way home I got stuck and put up in a decent hotel, but that can really be a problem if need to get back. I honestly would prefer to fly AA but I would leave at 7 AM and get in at 9:30 PM with a 6 hour lay-over in SJU both ways!
All I can say is it says a whole lot about how much I like Bonaire that I continue to come back. Once the flight is over thereís no place I would rather be!
Scott, we've used Air Jamaica out of BWI for five trips to Bonaire (with a sixth booked for September.) So far, so good - and those layovers in Montego Bay are usually so short, you barely know you've stopped flying. Your long drive to BWI might be offset somewhat by the ease of clearning immigration and customs there... none of that Miami (or San Juan)zoo to deal with!
We've used Great Southern Island Adventures (aka Bonaire Pros) to book our Bonaire trips with great success, in case you're looking for a travel agent. Caradonna is another good choice.
Also... check recent postings here on BT concerning Royal Aruban Air flights from Aruba to Bonaire, which hopefully will begin soon. Might give you some other flying options!
Thanks Deborah, I emailed Bonaire Pros yesterday and Iím probably going to go with AJ. I really appreciate your input. Itís comforting to here about you past experiences.
I'm traveling from CUR to BON in early Oct. on DCA, and have been a bit anxious due to the ALM problems. Apparently the new DCA is operating well and on schedule. If you have had any recent experiences, please let me know. The r/t price is excellent($83.USD). I hope the service is as good. If it is, they can re-capture a good bit of the market, because the American schedule in and out of Bonaire is extremely poor(i.e. having to depart for San Juan at 6:00am...who wants to end their relaxing vacation racing to the Flamingo airport at 3:00am). Anyway, I am hopeful that DCA is on track and maintains a good record. Any current info would be appreciated.
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