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What It’s Like to Fly to St. Barths During Covid – A Note from WIMCO’S CEO

The Airport Experience

A quick couple of notes on our trip to St. Barths yesterday. We flew from Boston to San Juan on JetBlue. The “fast line” was fast, and the regular line had very few people in it. The airport experience was comfortable and everyone, without exception, had masks on. Travelers “get it”.  Very few shops or cantinas were open, and what was open had long lines. This was at around 8 AM.

Boarding

The big thing to note is that there is no pre-boarding for Mosaic members nor “extra-legroom” passengers. Boarding is by last row first (which, honestly forty years ago used to be the case in Europe and makes eminently more sense). Passengers are to be six feet apart in the boarding line; this wasn’t really to adhered to by everyone, but the process was relatively smooth. There was bit of a wait in the jetway with marked 6 foot spacing and this was adhered to in our area.

On Board

The plane was clean as a whistle. We brought hand sanitizer, Zinc lozenges, masks (obviously), plus nasal cleansers (Zicam) and little seat table covers. We used this gear as we transitioned through various touch points on the way to the plane, and once on board after certain events. Food was sparse: a small bottle of water, cinnamon crackers, and small bag of Cheezits. That was it. Nothing for purchase, no coffee, drinks, etc. So bring your own sandwich or salad, and pick up something to drink at airport if you are so inclined.

Disembarking, the instructions are clear stay seated until the row ahead of you has stood up and collected their bags. Very few in the rows ahead of us observed this request, and it was not enforced via the announcement system.

Landing in San Juan, and Waiting for Test Results

In the airport, life is quite simple and quite normal. We, on the other hand, were freaking out, since our test results, taken on Saturday at 8:20 AM, had still not arrived by Monday. We took our PCR Covid tests at Yale Medical in Westerly, Rhode Island, which in August prided themselves on fast turnaround (24 hours). After several calls pleading for the results, miraculously, they arrived at 2PM on their “MyChart” app, just before boarding. YAY.

Arriving to St. Barths

Tradewind was booked, so we arranged a charter with Yann Korr from Air Paradise (ask Johna in our Air Department if you need help with flights). Yann was his usual friendly, efficient self and we headed off to SBH. Upon arrival, we went through immigration and then were met in the baggage area by a temperature taker who took our temperature in a matter of 6 seconds, and then handed us off to the next person who checked our COVID PCR Test results. The process is simple, quick, and efficient.

The Verdict

Is it going to protect the island as much as I would like? NO. But the fact that it is required, ensures that travelers take all due measures. And travelers must do their part. And in that sense it is very good. All in all, the trip was far more nerve wracking in the planning lead-up than the actual doing of it. From my personal perspective, I thought, “Gee, what was all the fuss about? This was way easier than I thought it would be!!!”

All best Regards,

Tim

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