Back in August I posted about a first class fare glitch to St. Croix and I took the trip earlier this month.
The deal was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to St. Croix, so I drove up the night before (could easily have done it same day, but the newly converted Wyndham is a Sheraton at just 3,000 points a night and they give breakfast in the restaurant to Platinums when the club lounge is closed on weekends). Satellite parking for the week ran $35. Shuttles very frequent in both directions. This is such a great airport, it’s almost laughable… huge, new, expansive, but only a handful of flights and gates. The old terminal still stands and there’s a banner encouraging people to suggest uses for it.
Flights were standard domestic service. Harrisburg-Charlotte was booked as an Airbus, swapped for a regional jet, so no first class and no bonus miles on the flight. Charlotte-St. Croix was delayed an hour, but I didn’t mind as I was in the USAirways club and Charlotte has free wifi.
We landed in St. Croix, walked outside and around the corner to baggage claim where it took nearly an hour for the bags to come up. Grabbed a taxi to the King Christian hotel for one night. Hotel was a little sketchy, but on the water in the historic district and sheets were clean and it was cheap for the one night… It was wonderful to sit on the balcony and relax. Walked around the pier for some food. Bar food, boisterous crowd. Next morning walked around the town and checked out the Fort (they charge $3pp but it was a decent time-killer, and Alexander Hamilton’s mother was imprisoned there).
Back to the airport, we caught an American Eagle flight to San Juan and spent three nights at the Westin Rio Mar (upgraded to an Atlantic Suite, report forthcoming). In any case, there was no elite checkin for the American Eagle flights at St. Croix… all the counters are outside… and there was only one person processing passengers for awhile as another was handling a large band checking in with ticketing problems. Line hardly moved at all… an hour passed.. finally to the front of the line with 20 minutes till scheduled departure.
Checkin at St. Croix is a difficult affair. Check your bags, proceed through customs (for US – to – US connections!) then collect your checked bags, present them to TSA for inspection.. which can take a minute or two or a very long time as we unfortunately found out, we got the one staffer that all the others rolled their eyes at, she literally unpacked item-by-item each suitcase and then slowly repacked them. As we watched our time to flight ticking away..
Ran through the checkpoint (which was not so overzealously staffed, though the difficult woman was working the checkpoint on our way back through a week later) and found the plane boarded but still on the ground. They grudgingly allowed us on, and our bags made it too, as the flight was delayed for awhile while they figured out weight and balance issues and unloaded cargo.
Will also share details on the new Westin on St. Maarten which we visited on the trip (then flew back through St. Croix on the way home, clearing customs and immigration on the way in, of course, and then funny that we had to clear customs again to fly St. Croix-Charlotte a few hours later).
Photos from St. Croix after the jump….
Front of the King Christian Hotel
View from the Balcony