Saturday, March 5, 2011

This was a very long day. Due to ferry schedules and the the typical BVI irregularities with the ferries to St. John and St. Thomas I took the 10:30 ferry instead of the 12:30 for my 16:15 flight out of St. Thomas and it was something of a mess. There was a long line out the ferry terminal entrance in the West End when I arrived shortly after 10 and was told that they were waiting for the 10:30 but that it wasn't just sold out but oversold - but that I should go inside and see if I could get a place on the 10:00am ferry (which was delayed). After a bit of push and shove I managed to get to the front of the line and managed to get a ticket and immediately boarded. We departed a couple of minutes later but once we arrived in Charlotte Amalie my pace of travel slowed down. First off, it took quite a long time to clear immigration (customs was quick) but then another long wait ensued at the taxi stand. I wasn't in a hurry, so I was feeling pretty comfortable. Once at the airport I checked in quickly but found out, much to my chagrin, that I had to hand-carry my luggage through to the checkpoint and would not be able to exit afterwards. Still 4 hours to go to the flight and I knew that the St. Thomas airport lounge was quite small so I spent an hour sitting on my suitcase outside and just watching the antics of my fellow travellers, but then I got thirsty (and bored) so entered the secure area and my lengthy wait began.

The flight was, at first, only slightly delayed but that initial weakness soon turned in a full-blown problem. One of the flight attendants had lost a run-in with a runaway food and beverage trolley and was no longer able to work, but the aeroplane has a minimum crew list and thus United needed to find a replacement in order for our flight to take off. After a couple of hours delay we did the quick hop to Puerto Rico, but then had another delay while they kept on looking for someone to fill her rôle. We arrived at Dulles hours after my flight to Europe had left and that is when I realized how bad customer service on flights had become. Despite having an international first class ticket I was treated badly, waited almost an hour in one line only to be told to relocate to (the back of) another even longer one.

Finally I made it to the front of the line, got a hotel and travel voucher and made it to the hotel after midnight but just in time to get some food at the bar.

St. Thomas airport St. Thomas airport

[18°20'6.83"N 64°58'16.19"W (facing S)]
St. Thomas airport
Turboprop at St. Thomas Turboprop at St. Thomas
Turboprop at St. Thomas
St. Thomas from above St. Thomas from above
St. Thomas from above
Sky over Puerto Rico Sky over Puerto Rico
Sky over Puerto Rico
Caribbean clouds Caribbean clouds
Caribbean clouds
Puerto Rico from above Puerto Rico from above

[18°26'37.04"N 66°5'57.27"W (facing N)]
Puerto Rico from above
Over Puerto Rico Looking down on the town while on final approach to the airport.

[18°26'20.33"N 66°4'44.35"W (facing NW)]
Over Puerto Rico
Dulles aiport after hours After numerous delays, I made it to Dulles at midnight on my return flight from the BVI to Germany via United Airlines and was given a voucher for a hotel stay so I could catch my flight the next day. These two ladies were the only other people in sight at the time.
Dulles aiport after hours

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