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recently posted in Transportation
 • Shared Private Jet Charters from the U.S
 • Strike Planned by Air Caraibes Pilots
 • Passing the Time at Julianna International Airport in St Maarten
 • Princess Juliana International Airport Updates
 • Changes at the Gustav III Airport
 • Getting to St. Barth
 • Cool Rental
 • Airport Rumors and Airline Updates
 • St. Barts Airline Updates
 • An issue with St. Barts air access
 • More Airline News
 • St. Barth Properties Offers Great Savings on Car Rentals
 • Electric Scooters Available Soon!
 • Air Caraïbes Stops All Flights Until Further Notice
 • American Airlines Cuts Flights to St. Maarten


St. Barts Travel & News Blog   Transportation

February 1, 2010

Shared Private Jet Charters from the U.S

AirSXM is offering a new service: shared private jet charters on a Hawker 400 jet from New York and South Florida with seamless connections to St. Barth. Departures from the New York area will be on Saturday mornings with departures from South Florida scheduled for midday on Saturdays. Return flights from St Maarten will depart midday on Sundays. Seats are available on the following dates, routes and for the following fares. For more information or to make reservations call 599-527-7966 or email sales@airsxm.com.

February 5 St. Maarten - Boca Raton, FL $9000 per seat

February 5 Boca Raton, FL - St. Maarten $4500 per seat

February 7 Boca Raton, FL - St. Maarten $9000 per seat

February 9 St. Maarten - Boca Raton, FL $9000 per seat

February 11 Boca Raton, FL - St. Maarten $9000 per seat

February 11 St. Maarten - Boca Raton, FL $4500 per seat

June 24, 2009

Strike Planned by Air Caraibes Pilots

The National Syndicate of Pilots for Air Caraibes has announced that the pilots are planning to be on strike every weekend from June 20 until September 7. They are striking in hopes of gaining more respect for time to relax between flights, paid vacation, improvement in working conditions, and new rules for calculating salaries. Air Caraibes is one of the airlines that flies between St Maarten and St. Barth. Others to contact are WinAir (www.fly-winair.com) and St. Barth Commuter (www.stbarthcommuter.com).

February 26, 2009

Passing the Time at Julianna International Airport in St Maarten

airport-lounge.jpgTo get to St. Barth, you have to first fly to St Maarten. While the new airport is definitely more comfortable than the previous one, your layover can be even more enjoyable when spent in the recently upgraded Soualiga Lounge, Julianna's business lounge. Members can watch TV, read selected newspapers and magazines, and enjoy wine, coffee, tea and other non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks. The upgrade also includes WiFi access throughout the lounge. And, to promote the newly upgraded lounge, the airport is offering a special on membership fees. Individual memberships are being offered at $200/year, rather than $225. Don't know if it's true at the new lounge, but in the old airport, you could pay $20 for one day's access. Just ask at the reception desk.

December 8, 2008

Princess Juliana International Airport Updates

To get to St. Barth, you must first fly into Princess Juliana International Airport in St Maarten (unless you're taking a private charter from San Juan).

- WinAir is the most popular airline flying between St Maarten and St. Barth. The St Maarten Daily Herald recently announced that WinAir has added a 19-seat Twin Otter to its fleet, increasing its number of airplanes to six. They also stated that another plane would be added to the fleet during the first week of December to further their attempts to accommodate all passengers during high season.

- New passport scanners were recently installed at Princess Juliana airport and have been causing delays and long lines. Airport officials have considered re-introducing manual checking of passports until the problem with the automated system can be corrected. If you are already checked in and your baggage is loaded on the plane, the plane will wait for all passengers to board before taking off. However, plan for extra time if you only have carry-on luggage or you could miss your flight. The delay with the automated scanning is thought to be due to the fact that the data scanned from the passports is sent to Curacao where it is checked against an Interpol database. Justice Minister David Dick's intention is to link the passport-scanning system directly to the Interpol database to shorten the delay.

November 24, 2008

Changes at the Gustav III Airport

st-barth-airport-xray.jpgAs approved by the Airport Security Committee on February 25, 2008, an x-ray machine has been in operation at the airport since November 1. Because the airport is small and the departure lounge with the x-ray machine is close to the ticketing counters, forbidden articles can usually be easily put in the passenger's suitcase and re-checked. If that is not possible, they will be put into an inviolable garbage can and destroyed in the presence of a gendarme.

Forbidden:
Firearms, knives, dangerous substances, imitations of weapons, liquids, aerosols, and gels. This includes water, perfume, drinks, lotions, creams, shower gel, shampoos, mascara, syrups, toothpaste, liquid soaps and deodorants. One can assume that everything that is not allowed in the passenger cabin on U.S. flights will not be allowed in the passenger cabins of planes departing St. Barth. But, mascara? If in doubt, put it in your suitcase or be prepared to have it tossed!

Exceptions:

Liquids: You are allowed bottles containing three ounces or less of liquids. These must be in a one-quart plastic bag. A roll of these bags can be purchased at the airport bar in case you don't have one.

Liquid drugs: You can bring liquid drugs, such as insulin or syrups, as long as you have a prescription for the medication.

Food for babies: There is no restriction on these products as long as the quantity is appropriate for the duration of the trip. Everything should be in closed containers, and you may be asked to taste the food.

November 10, 2008

Getting to St. Barth

Getting to St. Barth can always be a little challenging. But, that's part of what makes it such a special island. The destination is well worth the journey, and with the euro now ranging between 1.25€ and 1.29€ to $1.00, the time is right! The following services may make it a little easier for some of you.

Leeward Islands Helicopters
re-launched its helicopter service August 2008 with a brand new Robinson R44 helicopter aircraft. Beginning October 2008, they began operating charters to St. Barth from their base at the Princess Port de Plaisance resort in St Maarten. For more details on the new helicopter services visit: http://www.airsxm.eu/page.php?page=58.

JetBlue Airways announced that they will provide nonstop year-round service between Boston and St. Maarten beginning on February 14, 2009. (What better Valentine's present than a surprise trip to St. Barth?!) This route will have one flight each Saturday, departing Logan Airport at 7:50 am and arriving in St Maarten at 1:04 pm. The return flight will depart St Maarten at 2:00 pm and arrive in Boston at 5:57 pm.

Tradewind Aviation will again be offering scheduled flights out of San Juan to St. Barth this season. The two daily flights will leave San Juan at 8:00 am and 3:00 pm and will depart from St. Barth at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm.

September 22, 2008

Cool Rental

Cool Rental is a new car rental company with "personalized services" on Rue August Nyman in Gustavia. The brand new cars come with a CD player compatible with MP3 players and iPODs and a local cell phone at no extra charge except for the calls that you make. Phone numbers for numerous hotels, restaurants and shops have already been programmed into the phone. In addition, a concierge service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rates range from 70 euros/day in low season to 130 euros/day in high season. To reserve a car, call them at 590 590 27 52 58 or send an email to johann@cool-rental.com.

August 28, 2008

Airport Rumors and Airline Updates

Word is floating around that St. Barth will begin charging a 20-euro departure fee to help pay for the new x-ray screening machine they are installing at the airport.

Winair
is allowing you to check one suitcase at no charge but has begun charging $25 for each additional checked suitcase. The weight limit is 44 lbs.

Delta has announced that they will be adding a second Saturday flight to St Maarten starting on December 20 from Atlanta, with connections from most cities in the Delta network.

July 15, 2008

St. Barts Airline Updates

With gas prices rising every week, the airlines are in the news more and more.

American Airlines has announced that they are adding two new direct flights out of Miami and New York for the upcoming tourism season. The new twice-weekly New York flight starts in December and will go increase to five flights per week in January. The second direct flight from Miami is scheduled to start in November. It will leave Miami at 5:15 pm and arrive in St. Maarten at 9:10 pm. The aircraft will stay overnight there and leave the next morning at 9:10 am, arriving in Miami at 11:30 am.

Air Caraïbes has announced that it will again offer flights between St. Barth and St Maarten starting on July 15 in partnership with Tropical Airlines.

July 12, 2008

An issue with St. Barts air access

ST. BARTH'S, French West Indies -- I have found paradise all over again. Just when I thought I had already seen the most beautiful beaches in the world, I arrive at the French West Indies island of St. Barth's, and I am instantly awed by its natural beauty. Now, getting here is another story.

June 30, 2008

More Airline News

Last week, it was reported that Air Caraibes, who provides commercial flights and charters between St. Maarten and St. Barth has ceased all operations of flights and the handling of flights and charters until further notice due to financial losses. Those with confirmed tickets are being accommodated by other airlines, notably Winair. It is expected that in early July the airline will resume operations in conjunction with a third-party, most likely Tropical Airlines, which is also known as Air Antilles Express.

Spirit Airlines recently announced it would close its San Juan hub.

JetBlue Airways Corp. plans to add daily flights to Puerto Rico from New York, Orlando and Boston starting this fall. However, in September, they will cease their daily flights to St. Maarten and offer flights only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In early October, daily flights will resume except for Tuesday and Wednesday. They expect to resume daily flights again on October 30.

St. Barth Properties Offers Great Savings on Car Rentals

St. Barth Properties is offering a "Deals on Wheels" special from June 16 to October 31. If you make a reservation during that time at one of the villas or hotels that they represent, you can rent a car for $175 per week, with a $25 rate for each additional day. A normally good rate for this time of year is 25 euros per day, which at current exchange rates is $39.50 per day! These rates are good for a Suzuki Ignis hardtop sedan or a Jimny soft-top convertible Jeep, both with automatic transmission. For further details and to book your reservation, visit their website at www.stbarth.com.

June 24, 2008

Electric Scooters Available Soon!

Working in collaboration with NewTec Assistance, Dufau Establishments is anticipating the arrival of electric scooters very soon. These 3000 and 3500 watt scooters have a range of 100 to 150 km and a speed of 50 to 80 km/hour. The lithium batteries can be discharged and completely recharged 3000 times. They have also been "tropicalized": The scooters are painted with an anti-rust paint, all of their electronic components are sealed and the screws and bolts are made of stainless steel. Visit Dufau's shop near the gas station in St. Jean or call him at 0590 27 54 83. To learn more about these environment-friendly scooters, go to www.newtecassistance.com.

June 20, 2008

Air Caraïbes Stops All Flights Until Further Notice

Air Caraïbes is one of the small airlines that provides commercial flights and charters between St. Maarten, St. Barth and Guadeloupe. Princess Juliana International Airport in St Maarten was just notified that Air Caraïbes has stopped all operations of flights and charters until further notice due to huge financial losses. They've stated that passengers with confirmed tickets will be accommodated by other airlines, mostly Winair.

The airline hopes that by the end of June or the first week of July they will resume flights in a joint effort with Tropical Airlines (also known as Air Antilles Express), but as of yet, there has been no official confirmation of this partnership.

June 16, 2008

American Airlines Cuts Flights to St. Maarten

Due to ever-increasing gas prices, American Airlines has announced that they are ending service between Puerto Rico and St. Maarten in September. They also plan to reduce their daily New York flights to St Maarten to three times a week. For now, daily service between Miami and St Maarten remains intact.

June 12, 2008

The Voyager Reduces Its Schedule

The Voyager, one of the catamarans that travels between St. Barth and St Martin, is reducing the number of departures from three per day to two per day until July 14. The schedule in effect from May 20 until July 13 is below.

June 7, 2008

Winair Cuts Schedules Due to Pilot Shortage

As reported in the St Maarten newspaper the Daily Herald on June 4, Winair is facing a shortage of pilots and has been forced to reduce the number of its flights to all destinations. The airline needs five more pilots to supplement its pool of 25 pilots in order to maintain its previous schedules. Because of a shortage of pilots from the Antilles, Winair has been trying to attract foreign pilots. However, the process to acquire the mandatory employment documents is lengthy. Documents from the pilot must be submitted to the Island Labour Office. Once they are verified, Winair must pay the processing fee to the Island Receiver. This initial process takes about three days if all goes well. Normally, once Winair has provided proof of payment to the Labour Department, it takes a week to process the paperwork and send it to the Executive Council for approval. At the same time, all documents are sent to Police Affairs for a residence permit. After these steps are completed, an appointment must be made to process "the declaration act of guarantee" and the paperwork is sent to the Lt. Governor and the Immigration Department for approval. Winair reports an incident when paperwork for a pilot was begun in January and by the end of April was still not completed. The airline is appealing to the Central and Island Governments to streamline the process so that it takes only two weeks from when the documents are submitted to obtaining the permit. Winair's management requested a meeting in April to discuss these issues. As of today, no meeting has been set.

Continue reading "Winair Cuts Schedules Due to Pilot Shortage" »

May 19, 2008

The Rapid Explorer is Back in Philipsburg and Has a New Schedule

rapid-explorer-st-martin.jpgAs of May 1, the Rapid Explorer is again based in Philipsburg at Bobby's Marina. This is a high-speed catamaran with airline-like seats and air-conditioning. The Rapid Explorer departs Philipsburg every day at 7:15 am, 9:30 am and 5:00 pm, except for Tuesdays and Sundays when there is no 7:15 am departure. The boat departs St. Barth every day at 8:15 am, 10:30 am and 6:00 pm, except for Tuesdays and Sundays when there is no 8:15 am departure. The crossing takes 45 minutes.

For information or to make reservations, call 05 90 52 45 06 or visit the office in St. Barth or St Maarten where the boat departs.

May 14, 2008

Winair Announces Fuel Surcharge

According to the Daily Herald of St Maarten, Winair will begin adding a fuel surcharge of $12.50 on one-way tickets and $25 on round-trip tickets to all fares beginning May 1. As Winair is the most popular airlines for flights between St Maarten and St. Barth, this will affect most people traveling to this little piece of paradise.

February 28, 2008

The Rapid Explorer Is Back in Operation!

re-boat.jpgThe Rapid Explorer, a high-speed catamaran with airline-type seats and air-conditioning, resumed service between St Maarten and St Barth on February 11 after a hiatus of 18 months. It will depart from and arrive at Captain Oliver's Marina at Oyster Pond, which is about 25 minutes from the airport. The marina is home to Captain Oliver's restaurant as well as a bar and grill, which makes waiting for departure a relaxing experience and a chance to grab a bite. Tickets are for sale at the travel agency Saint Barth Tours and Travel in Gustavia. You can also contact them by phone at 590 590 52 45 06, by fax at 590 590 52 41 38 or by email at sbh.ferry@orange.fr.

January 13, 2008

Drive in Style!

mini-cooper-conv.jpgPure Rental, which is located on Rue du Roi Oscar II in Gustavia, is offering exclusive rentals of Mini Cooper convertibles with free delivery to the airport, your villa, hotel or boat. Visit their web site at http://www.st-barths.com/pure-rental/index.html, email them at contact@purerental.com, or call them at 590 590 27 64 76 or 590 690 45 75 55. You can expect to pay around 120 euros per day, depending on the season.

December 27, 2007

Drinking and Driving in St Barth

With the holiday celebrations in full swing, be careful of drinking and driving. The penalties are stiff. Recently, an American citizen was stopped for an alcohol test while driving a rental car. She tested positive with 0.50 mg of alcohol per liter of air exhaled. The penalty? She was asked to pay the fine of 800 euros and to leave the island if she didn't want to go before a judge. That's one fast way to ruin your vacation! Under French law, the legal level of alcohol in the blood is 0.5 grams per liter of blood. If you have up to 0.8 grams, you risk a fine of 135 euros. Higher than that level, if there hasn't been an accident, you must pay a fine immediately. If there has been an accident, you must go before the judge. The sentence for drunk driving can be up to two years in prison and up to 4500 euros in fines. Think before you drink!

December 3, 2007

New Charter from San Juan

Options for getting to St Barth seem to be increasing daily. Linear Air is offering flights from San Juan to St Barth until April 8, 2008. Their 8-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan holds the highest safety record in its class and their operation maintains an ARG/US Gold safety rating. While on board, you'll enjoy air-conditioning, oversized leather seating, complimentary drinks and snacks and unparalleled luggage capacity. For additional information, contact them at 877-2-LINEAR (outside the U.S., call 1-781-860-9696), visit their web site at www.linearair.com or email them at info@linearair.com. The one-way fare is $475, which includes all fees and taxes. They seem to be offering this service only during the high season, but perhaps it will prove profitable enough to continue longer.

From San Juan:
Depart Arrive
Thursday 2:00 pm 3:30 pm
Friday 2:00 pm 3:30 pm
Saturday 2:00 pm 3:30 pm

From St. Barths:
Depart Arrive
Thursday 4:00 pm 5:30 pm
Friday 4:00 pm 5:30 pm
Saturday 4:00 pm 5:30 pm

November 14, 2007

New Flights from Antigua to St Barths

Wimco Villas, the leading villa specialist company, is pleased to announce that a villa holiday on the beautiful island of St Barths is now even more accessible from the UK thanks to the introduction of daily connecting flights from Antigua with Caribbean airline Win-Air.

The Win-Air flights are scheduled to start on 3 December 2007 and are positioned to connect with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights from the UK. Prices for the Antigua - St Barths flight will start from 250 one way and Wimco Villa clients in the UK will be able to book both legs of the journey (UK - Antigua - St Barths) through Wimco Villa's reservations department (www.wimco.com / tel: 0870 850 1144).

More here.

November 5, 2007

Jet Blue Starts Flights to St Maarten

Jet Blue just started accepting ticket reservations from JFK (New York) to SXM (St Maarten) for flights starting on Thursday, January 17, 2008. You can make reservations well into April of next year. As of now, flight 787 leaves JFK at 9:35 am and arrives at SXM at 2:40 pm. Flight 788, the return flight, leaves SXM at 3:35 pm and arrives at JFK at 7:05 pm. The round-trip airfare on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, traditionally the cheapest days to fly, is only $318, plus taxes and fees. Round-trip airfare on Thursdays is $498; $568, on Fridays; and $638 on Saturdays.

New Schedule and Fares for the Voyager

The Voyager, the ferry between St Barth and St Maarten, will increase its number of daily trips starting on October 28. Because of the ever-increasing price of gas, they have also slightly increased the fare as of October 1. Prices for adults are 55 € for a round-trip ticket for the same day, 76 € for a round-trip ticket on different days, and 48 € for a one-way ticket. For more information and to make reservations, please visit www.voyager-st-barths.com
.

Continue reading "New Schedule and Fares for the Voyager" »

New Freight Line from Philipsburg, St Maarten to Gustavia

Easyway, NV, which is based in St Martin, announced that effective last Tuesday they will make an inaugural trip with their new freight line from Philipsburg, St Maarten to Gustavia. Four trips per week are planned, but they anticipate adding a fifth trip for high season. The ship will arrive on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays around 2:30 pm. On Thursdays, the ship will be in Gustavia at 6:00 am before continuing on to St Eustatius and Saba. The Monday arrival allows products that arrive on Air France on Sunday to be delivered to St Barth. Overall, it is anticipated that 25% more of the cargo that arrives via Air France can be transported to St Barth.

October 18, 2007

Updates on Several Airlines

Air France to Fly From Miami to St Maarten
Starting in November, Air France will start service between Miami to St Maarten, via Pointe- &aagrave;-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Although this is a bit of a roundabout way to get to St Maarten (and, finally, to St Barth),
it's always helpful to have a Plan B or C. For details, visit the Air France web site.

Tradewind Aviation Rates Until November 1
Tradewind Aviation offers daily direct flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico to St Barth with the comfort and convenience of a private charter. The current discounted fare for tickets for the 2007/2008 season is $350. However, beginning November 1, the price will increase to $495. See their website for flight information.

Caribbean Sun Airlines to Resume Flights
Caribbean Sun went out of business a while ago, but is planning on resuming flights between San Juan and St Maarten. This time, the airline will be flying 737 aircraft instead of the little puddle jumpers it used before. They are expected to resume business before the coming high season. See current details here.

October 5, 2007

Video from a plane landing on St. Barths

If you have never flown into St. Barths, this video gives you a little bit of an idea of what this legendary landing is like:

July 15, 2007

American Airlines Slashes Air Fares to St Maarten

airport1950.jpgWe all know that to get to the island paradise of St Barth, you have to show you're worthy by successfully passing through Princess Juliana International Airport in St Maarten. American Airlines is making it easier by drastically cutting the air fare on flights from a long list of American cities to St Maarten. Tickets must be purchased no later than 11:59 pm, July 17 (if you act fast, you still have time!). Fares are valid for outbound travel from September 4, 2007 through December 11. Return travel must be completed by December 13, 2007. A two-day minimum stay is required and a 30-day maximum stay is allowed. Below are a few samples of the incredible air fares.

Round-trip Air Fares to St. Maarten:
Atlanta - $258
Baltimore - $268
Boston - $359
Chicago - $338
Los Angeles - $458
Miami - $178
New York - $238

Photo: Gustave III Airport, St Barthélémy, 1950

July 6, 2007

St. Martin Runway Lights go out

From the Daily Herald:

The operations of Princess Juliana International Airport were affected on the evening of July 3 due to the outage of the runway lighting. One flight was cancelled, two flights were delayed and one flight diverted to Anguilla, Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company informed on Wednesday.

The outage was due to damage done to the electrical cables for the runway lighting. The cause of the damage is being investigated and measures will be taken to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

At approximately 7:30pm, the outage of the runway lighting was noticed and reported. "Our technical department investigated the matter and repairs started soon thereafter. At approximately 8:50pm, one phase of the runway lighting was repaired and operations of the airport resumed as normal," the press release stated.

June 18, 2007

American Airlines Imposes a Baggage Embargo

internalHeaderLogoStacked62.gifDue to expectations of high passenger traffic this summer, American Airlines enforced an embargo on boxes and additional baggage on June 9 for those traveling to and from many Caribbean destinations. The baggage embargo applies to Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Port-au-Prince and Kingston as well as all American Eagle flights to and from San Juan. While St Maarten is not listed, it would be prudent to check with American before heading to the airport. In addition, American has imposed a year-round box embargo for flights originating from and passing through New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to all Caribbean and Latin America destinations.

Oversize, overweight and excess baggage will not be accepted for flights to the targeted destinations. Passengers may check two bags weighing a maximum of 50 pounds each at no charge. The maximum weight for cities on the embargo list is 70 pounds. Bags weighing between 51 and 70 pounds are subject to a $25 fee. One carry-on bag will be allowed with a maximum size of 45" and a maximum weight of 40 pounds. Sports equipment, such as golf bags, bikes and surfboards, will be accepted as part of the total checked bag allowance; additional charges may apply. Walkers, wheelchairs and any other assistive devices are welcomed for customers with disabilities.

Princess Juliana Airport Introduces a New Fee

As reported by St Maarten's newspaper The Daily Herald, Princess Juliana International Airport will introduce an Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) effective July 1. This fee is meant to help offset the cost of improving the infrastructure and services at the airport and is expected to be in effect until December 31, 2011. The AIF will be charged to all departing passengers and will be collected by the airport as part of the price of airline tickets. The termination date of December 31, 2011 assumes that passenger traffic will have increased enough by then to sustain the investment that has been made in the new airport. The projected increase in passengers is 3% per year. If passenger levels increase substantially more than 3% per year, the AIF will be withdrawn earlier. Just under 1.7 million passengers used the airport in 2006.

May 31, 2007

Tradewind Aviation Announces Special Airfare

tradewind-aviation.jpgTradewind Aviation provides first-class, nonstop air service between San Juan, PR and St Barth. They have recently announced a special fare of $350 (one way) for bookings made before November 1, 2007. With the regular price of $495, this is a savings of $145. In addition, they offer a special rate of $200 for residents of St Barth. Tradewind Aviation is a U.S. carrier whose planes are jet-prop powered, air-conditioned and are flown by two fully qualified crew members. You can make reservations on-line at http://www.tradewindaviation.com.

Time Depart Arrive Frequency
8:00 am San Juan St Barth Daily
11:00 am St Barth San Juan Daily
3:00 pm San Juan St Barth Daily
5:00 pm St Barth San Juan Daily

Man Jumps From Voyager

man-jumps-from-voyager.jpgIt's a mystery. Last Sunday evening, a man jumped from the Voyager when it was about 15 feet from the dock and swam the rest of the way. No one knows why he did it, but is it that hard to understand?! I'd guess that after a long, arduous day of traveling, he saw St Barth within his reach and just couldn't wait any longer!

May 21, 2007

St. Barts Flight Simulator

A company called Fly Tampa makes "airports" for flight simulation. Their newest package is for St. Maarten, and includes the infamous St. Barts airstrip - check out the computer image (click it for a bigger version) - pretty cool.

http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/st-barts/images/tncm5-thumb.jpg

May 3, 2007

Spirit Airlines Makes Its First Flight to St Maarten

spiritairlogo.jpgOn Friday, April 20, Spirit Airlines Airbus 319, named "Spirit of St Maarten/St Marin," landed at Princess Juliana International Airport at 1:30 pm. Round-trip airfare between Ft. Lauderdale and St Maarten was a mere $178. While Spirit Airlines currently only has three scheduled flights per week, there is talk of daily flights in the near future.

Depart Arrive Flight Number Frequency
Ft. Lauderdale - St Maarten 11:00 am 1:50 pm 100 Fri/Sat/Sun
St Maarten - Ft. Lauderdale 2:40 pm 5:55 pm 777 Fri/Sat/Sun

There was some concern last week when the air-traffic controllers at the St Maarten airport went on strike. However, it turns out that if there is ever a problem with air-traffic control in St Maarten, the air-traffic controllers in San Juan, Puerto Rico take over. Don't you just love having a Plan B!

April 20, 2007

The Spirit of St. Maarten/St. Martin Arrives at Princess Juliana International Airport!

New nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles starts today

Celebratory Fares Starting at $99 Each Way*

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (April 20, 2007) - Spirit Airlines today inaugurated nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. Service will be offered three times weekly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition to nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale, Spirit also offers connecting service from its domestic network. Spirit serves all routes with its fleet of Airbus aircraft, the youngest in the Americas.

To celebrate the new service, Spirit Airlines dedicated one of its A319 aircraft to the region by naming it "The Spirit of St. Maarten/St. Martin". The aircraft arrived on the island today to highlight the celebration.

"This is a very exciting day for us as St. Maarten marks our 14th Caribbean destination served," said Mark Kopczak, Senior Director of Network Planning for Spirit Airlines. "We proudly dedicated one of our new Airbus aircraft to this island paradise to show our commitment to providing ultra low fares and reliable service to the region."

"It is said that air service is a lifeline to tourism growth for emerging islands like St. Maarten/St. Martin, and we are elated that Spirit Airlines is now operating three weekly year-round direct flights from Fort Lauderdale to St. Maarten," said St. Maarten Tourism Director, Regina LaBega.

Continue reading "The Spirit of St. Maarten/St. Martin Arrives at Princess Juliana International Airport!" »

April 12, 2007

Act rich, live well

You don't have to be wealthy or famous to enjoy St. Barts, but it helps
by donna m. airoldi / metro new york

APR 11, 2007

ST. BARTHELEMY. The food! The shopping! The beautiful beaches! Friends of mine have raved about Saint Barthélemy, better known as St. Barts (or St. Barths, depending on how much of a Francophile you are), for years. Friends, that is, who have money. As a writer who lives in New York, particularly without a trust fund, I tend to be more judicial in choosing vacation destinations. Plus, I had no interest in dabbling in the playground of the rich and famous.

More here.

March 16, 2007

Airline and St Maarten Airport Updates

US Airways The recent merging of US Airways with America West has created some temporary problems at the airport in St Maarten. As reported by a traveler to St Barth, this past Monday, all technology was shut down. As a result, hundreds of passengers missed flights and waited in lines at the confirmation desk for up to 3 hours. "The airline has adopted the computer system from America West and the ticket agents at SXM have not been properly trained how to use the system. There was frustration all around, with people outraged, screaming, being taken aside, and removed from planes." If you're flying US Airways to get to St Barths soon, call ahead and plan for some extra travel time.Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is scheduled to begin service from their Ft. Lauderdale hub to St Maarten at the end of April.

Continue reading "Airline and St Maarten Airport Updates" »

February 22, 2007

St. Maarten Airport Updates

Restrictions on Baggage Handling In the past, St Barth Commuter staff could retrieve its passengers' yellow-ribbon tagged checked luggage when they arrived in St Maarten and transfer it to their plane to St Barth. However, procedures at the new airport now require that all baggage handling must be done by the groundhandling company, Menzies. St Barth Commuter customers will now have to go through immigration, retrieve their luggage and take it to the transit check-in counter. However, passengers flying to St Barth on private charters or shared charters can still go straight through the transit security checkpoint to the Departure Lounge as long as they escorted by an official agent of the chartered plane. These agents are also allowed to collect and transfer their luggage to the chartered plane.

Continue reading "St. Maarten Airport Updates" »

February 5, 2007

What's up with Winair?

There is good news and bad news regarding WinAir, currently the most important carrier between St Barth and St Maarten.

WinAir recently announced an agreement with the U.S. carrier Continental Airlines in which passengers of both airlines will be issued one e-ticket and their luggage will be checked through to St Barth. WinAir also provides e-ticketing agreements with KLM, Delta, US Airways and Air France. The International Air Transportation Association requires that the airline industry be 100% e-ticket compatible by the end of 2007. WinAir will comply with this requirement by the end of April 2007, allowing them to save money on the costs incurred by the conventional paper ticket.

WinAir continues to have financial problems and employee dissatisfaction. The Parliament in St Maarten will meet today or tomorrow to discuss issues of safety, staff turnover and the reason for the recent increase in ticket prices. Because of financial problems, staff turnover has been high in key positions such as pilots, mechanics, passenger handling, maintenance and accounting. Also, luggage is frequently left behind, especially in Saba and St. Eustatius. Because of the shortage of pilots (the airline has 32 of the needed 37), the flight schedule has been modified and some routes have been outsourced. Thus far, flights to and from St Barth have not been affected. Managing Director Edwin Hodge assures everyone that safety is not being compromised, noting that WinAir is constantly being audited by the Antillean Directorate of Civil Aviation and is audited every two years by its code-share partner US Airways. US Airways rates the maintenance procedures and inspections "as good as any major airline." He also states that the higher ticket prices are due to the increased costs associated with the new airport in St Maarten. We can only hope that WinAir can straighten out its financial problems and continue to remain the airline of choice between St Maarten and St Barth. As always, its employees on St Barth continue to be helpful and polite.

New Helicopter Service

St. Maarten/St. Martin's only helicopter service, Heli St. Martin, has been operational since August 2006 and celebrated its official opening in early November 2006, with service seven days a week from the airport in Grand Case. Before offering the service, Heli St. Martin acquired all necessary permits and certifications to comply with the rules and regulations of the relevant international and local authorities. The helicopter, a Eurocopter EC 120-B Colibri, is a newer and quieter model. However, because it is a single turbine helicopter, it can only fly the short distance between St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla and St Barth. The company hopes to purchase a twin turbine helicopter within a year and a half that will be able to fly longer distances. Although this is an expensive alternative to the ferry and the normal flights to St Barth, it is another option. For more details, visit http://www.helistmartin.com/islandtours.php and http://www.airsxm.eu/page.php?page=35.

January 24, 2007

Spirit Airlines Announces Nonstop Service to St. Maarten

From a Spirit Airlines press release:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Spirit Airlines announces non-stop service between its Fort Lauderdale hub and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles beginning April 20, 2007. Service will be offered three times weekly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition to non-stop service from its Fort Lauderdale hub, Spirit will also offer connecting service from its domestic network. Spirit serves all routes with its fleet of Airbus aircraft, the youngest in the Americas.

"We couldn't be happier to have St. Maarten in our 2007 expansion plans," said Barry Biffle, Chief Marketing Officer of Spirit Airlines. "This is a beautiful destination with no shortage of demand for travel. Whether it's a vacation in one of the Caribbean's most unique settings, or a shopping spree in South Florida, Spirit's plan is to offer an affordable option for travel to great destinations."

Continue reading "Spirit Airlines Announces Nonstop Service to St. Maarten" »

January 19, 2007

Spirit Airlines Requests Permission to Fly to St Maarten

Spirit Airlines, Ft Lauderdale's largest international carrier, has filed with the US Department of Transportation for permission to fly from Ft Lauderdale to St Maarten. The request is to begin nonstop service twice a week beginning in April. Fares have yet to be published but are expected to be as inexpensive as flying to Puerto Rico. The airline has recently acquired a new Airbus fleet and will use a 140-seat Airbus 8319 for the flights. With Southwest Airlines also flying into Ft Lauderdale, this may provide a less expensive and easier route to the final destination of St Barth.

November 15, 2006

The Voyager Resumes Service

The Voyager resumed its normal service between St. Barts and St. Martin on November 4 after undergoing mechanical repairs.

November 1, 2006

The Voyager Temporarily Suspends Service to St. Martin

The Voyager has stopped service to St. Martin due to technical problems. They expect to resume service within the first week of November, predicting November 4 or 5. You can contact The Voyager's office at 05 90 87 10 68 for more information. With the Rapid Explorer still out of service, there remains one (non-chartered or private) boat that travels between Simpson Bay, St Maarten and St Barth - The Edge. For details, visit www.stmaarten-activities.com.

New St. Maarten Airport Up and Flying

Princess Juliana International Airport opened on Wednesday, October 25 with Winair's flight to Saba. The new US $87 million terminal has state-of-the-art facilities for checking-in, handling baggage, screening systems, departure gates with jet bridges and buses to the airplanes, a food court with 12 restaurants, international shopping among 27 boutiques, escalators - a first in St. Maarten - and, last but not least, air-conditioning.

However, as reported in St. Maarten's Daily Herald, the Managing Director of Winair stated that the new airport has more than doubled Winair's cost of operating out of St. Maarten. The check-in counters at the new airport are not designated to a specific airline. Instead, the counters rotate among different airlines depending on the current need. Winair does not agree with how the airlines are being charged for use of this system and the communication lines among the airlines. In addition, some delays may be expected since Winair's personnel are working with a completely new reservation and boarding control system. The airline suggests that passengers arrive 1.5 hours before departure time until their staff is more familiar with the new system.

The old airport is scheduled to be demolished before the end of the year, and already there is talk of selling momentos on e-Bay!

October 16, 2006

Changes at SXM (St. Martin Airport)

About two weeks ago, St Maarten lifted the ban on liquids and gels in carry-on luggage. But, there are restrictions. You can carry on up to 90 milliliters of liquid, but only if it was purchased in a secure area of the airport and is packed in a transparent, plastic bag (for example, a ZipLoc bag). It will be necessary to await the opening of the new terminal in order to purchase duty-free liquor or perfume in a designated secure area. Until then, the liquor and perfume shops in the current airport will remain closed.

Below is the schedule for the opening of the new airport according to a vendor who will have a business in the new terminal:


  • October 10: Provide plan to migrate on October 15

  • October 15: New terminal completed

  • October 16: Access control operational

  • October 18-19: Dry run for 2 days with a small airline

  • October 23: Cutover and start of operations

September 29, 2006

Tradewind Aviation and Wimco Villas Introduce First Premium Scheduled Daily Service Between San Juan and St. Barts

Newport, RI (PRWEB) September 28, 2006 -- Wimco, the Newport, RI, villa rental and hotel reservations company, announces new scheduled daily inter-island air service between the San Juan and St. Barts, dramatically improving access to this formerly hard-to-access island.

Wimco is the authorized air charter agent for Tradewind Aviation that will operate the scheduled daily inter-island service departing San Juan at 3 p.m. and St. Barts at noon. Tradewind is the only US turbine air carrier certified to fly commercial flights into St. Barts.

From now to Nov. 15, 2006, Wimco and Tradewind are offering an introductory rate of $350, a 29 percent savings off the posted fare of $495 one-way.

Continue reading "Tradewind Aviation and Wimco Villas Introduce First Premium Scheduled Daily Service Between San Juan and St. Barts" »

September 24, 2006

Tradewind Aviation increases airlift between San Juan, St. Barts

Travel Weekly is reporting:

Tradewind Aviation will launch daily, scheduled service between San Juan and St. Barts on Nov. 1. The 60-minute flight will depart San Juan at 3 p.m. and St. Barts at noon. Service is aboard an eight-passenger turbo-prop plane with executive club seats, laptop power outlets, in-flight phone and data links and DVD players with wireless headphones. Through Nov. 15, introductory rates are $350 one way or $700 roundtrip; after Nov. 15, the fare increases to $495 one way or $990 roundtrip. Wimco, a Rhode Island-based villa rental and hotel reservations firm, is the authorized air charter agent for Tradewind. The air service is available through Wimco to anyone wishing to fly between San Juan and St. Barts, not limited to villa/hotel clients. For further information on Wimco and Tradewind Aviation, call (800) 932-3222.

September 15, 2006

St. Maarten Airport Update

According to the Daily Herald of St Maarten, the opening of the new Princess Juliana International Airport has been postponed from September to November. Plans are that Her Majesty Queen Beatrix will conduct the inaugural ceremony. Several concession stands have already stopped operating at the airport in preparation for its closing.

easyCruise to Visit St. Barth

easyCruise is one of the most recent ventures launched by Stelios, the company who started Europe's low-cost airline easyJet in 1995. The company is targeting travelers in their 20s, 30s and 40s and will allow passengers to embark or depart at any port so long as they stay on board at least two nights. The ship has a capacity of 170 passengers with a crew of 54. During the summer of 2006, easyCruise was based in the French and Italian Rivieras. During the winter months of 2006 and 2007, it will be based in the Caribbean, making 40 port calls to St. Barth, Anguilla, Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis and returning to its home port of St. Maarten twice a week. Below is the three-day weekend itinerary that includes St. Barth. The lowest-priced cabins start at 44.

Itinerary

Friday: St Maarten (Phillipsburg) arrive 10am depart 7am (Sat)
Saturday: St Barths (Gustavia) arrive 9am depart 6am (Sun)
Sunday: Anguilla (Sandy Ground) arrive 10am depart 6am (Mon)
Monday: St Maarten (Phillipsburg) arrive 9am depart 5am (Tues)
Tuesday: St Kitts (Basseterre) arrive 10am depart 3am (Wed)
Wednesday: Antigua (St Johns) arrive 10am depart 4am (Thur)
Thursday: Nevis (Charlestown) arrive 10am depart 4am (Fri)

Voyager Remains Operational throughout September

voyager-st-barts.jpgBecause the Rapid Explorer is temporarily out of commission due to mechanical problems, the Voyager has decided not to suspend its service as it normally does during September. Instead, they have actually added trips between St. Barth and St. Martin. The schedule from September 4 through October 1 is as follows:

  • St. Barth ->Marigot, St. Martin
    Monday, Friday, Saturday
    7:15 am and 4:30 pm

  • St. Barth -> Oyster Pond, St. Martin
    Wednesday
    7:15 am and 4:30 pm

  • St. Barth -> Oyster Pond, St. Martin
    Sunday 5:30 pm

  • Marigot, St. Martin -> St. Barth
    Monday, Friday, Saturday
    9:00 am and 6:15 pm

  • Oyster Pond, St. Martin -> St. Barth
    Wednesday 9:00 am and 6:15 pm

  • Oyster Pond, St. Martin -> St. Barth
    Sunday 6:45 pm


Beginning October 2, the Voyager will resume its normal schedule of two daily trips between St. Barth and St. Martin.

Special Rates for Low Season

Special rates can be found throughout the Caribbean during low season and St Barth is no exception. Below are two "high-end" specials.

  • Tradewind Aviation is offering direct flights from San Juan to St Barth for $350 per person if you book before November 15. The regular fee is $495 per person. You can call 800-932-9222 or book your flight online at www.wimco.com/charter.

  • The Hotel Guanahani & Spa is offering a one-euro-to-one-dollar exchange rate until the end of October. This is a savings of 20% to 25% over their normal rates. Two popular packages are the Spree package and the Romance package. The five-night Spree package includes daily breakfast, daily lunch or dinner, car rental, airport transfers and a choice of two of the following activities: two facial treatments, two windsurfing or tennis lessons, jet skiing for two or a beginner's scuba lesson. Rates start at $2,875. The 7-night Romance package includes includes extras such as a lunch of langouste, a gourmet dinner, massages, a cooking class and wine tasting, and either a half-day cruise with picnic or a sunset cruise with champagne. Rates range from $4,144 to $6,895. For complete details, you can contact the Guanahani at 590 590 27 66 60 or visit their web site at www.leguanahani.com.

August 24, 2006

Rapid Explorer Temporarily Suspended

On Sunday evening, August 6, the Rapid Explorer left Gustavia at 7:30 p.m. headed for Oyster Pond. Not far into the crossing, the crew discovered a leak and issued a "May Day" call for help. The Voyager altered its course to come to the rescue and tried to transfer the 24 passengers from the Rapid Explorer to the Voyager; however, the seas were too rough. A short time later, the rescue boat SNS280 arrived, and the decision was made to tow the Rapid Explorer back to Gustavia, where it arrived around 9:45 p.m. Meanwhile, the Voyager altered its schedule to go to Oyster Pond to pick up the passengers who were waiting to return to St Barth. As a result of the problem, the Rapid Explorer's crossings have been temporarily suspended while they are awaiting mechanical pieces.

July 31, 2006

Air Antilles Offers Direct Flights to Guadeloupe

On July 11, Air Antilles Express began offering three direct flights a day from St. Barts to Pointe &aagrave; Pitre, Guadeloupe for 169 € round-trip. The flights will depart in the morning, at noon and in the evening and will accommodate 19 passengers aboard a Twin Otter de Havilland DHC-6 plane. For complete details, visit www.airantilles.com.

June 26, 2006

SeaDream Cruise to visit St. Barts in 2007

Travel Weekly is reporting the following (subscription required):

"SeaDream Yacht Club will host its first theme cruise, bringing Grammy award-winning acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh on a four-day Midnight in San Juan cruise aboard the SeaDream I, the cruise line said at a New York event June 12. Klugh will perform several times during the cruise, which departs April 12, 2007. The voyage sails roundtrip from San Juan calling in Gustavia, St. Barts and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands."

April 20, 2006

Rapid Explorer Adds Additional Trip to St Maarten

The Rapid Explorer has just added an additional rotation to its schedule. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Rapid Explorer will depart St Maarten for St Barth at 12:45 pm and will depart St Barth for St Maarten at 1:45 pm. This supplements the normal departures from St Barth at 8:00 am, 10:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday (except for Friday evenings when it departs at 7:15 pm) and the normal departures from St Maarten at 7:00 am, 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (except for Friday evenings when it departs at 6:15 pm).

Le Shuttle

The minibus has arrived in St Barth. For 10 euros you can take Le Shuttle to any destination on the island and call them when you're ready to return. They also offer 100 passes to residents of the island for 75 euros per month - probably a cheaper alternative than owning a car! This makes it more affordable to get around if you don't want to rent a car and prefer not to take a taxi. Le Shuttle is a bit larger than a minivan -- more like the vehicles used by many retirement/assisted-living residences in the United States. Tickets are available at hotels and the villa rental agencies.

st. barts   guide books

St. Barth: French West Indies (A concepts book)
St. Barth: French West Indies (A concepts book)
by Charles Didcott, Christine Didcott
(Hardcover)
- Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Frommer s Portable St. Maarten St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barts
Frommer's Portable St. Maarten / St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barts
by Alexis Lipsitz Flippin
(Paperback)
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