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zitsky

Fly early to meet a cruise?

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25 minutes ago, zitsky said:

For those that are curious, and to prove I'm not a "troll", the options are - United RDU-EWR-SJU or RDU-IAH-SJU.  Neither are preferable so I'm looking at American RDU-ATL-SJU and maybe a few others.

 

To those who answered my question, thank you.  But I thought it would be useful to compare notes with others as I don't normally travel during the winter.  Yes I'm aware there can be all kinds of weather issues, ice, snow, ice and snow.  

 

Because I have United miles, if it were just up to me I'd bite the bullet and go through IAH even though it's the wrong way, to avoid any winter weather.  But I have to convince my partner that it is worth the extra time.

 

We will probably end up going through ATL or MIA.

 

 

 

 

Have you looked at Delta and Southwest, non stop from RDU to SJU?

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It helps to know what departure port.  Sorry about the troll suggestion.  Any flight, particularly in winter,  can be subject to delay. Caoonecting flights simply doubles the chance. Adding Newark in December adds weather as a concern.

 

Flying same day is simply risky - but a connecting flight in a northern city is very risky.  With only two hours leeway (allowing for required boarding before sail away) it’s close at best. If there are non-stops from RDU as suggested above, they’d make sense.

 

Finally, since San Juan is an interesting old city, it really makes sense to fly down (also non-stop) the day before so you can get a taste of it.

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1 hour ago, zqvol said:

 

Have you looked at Delta and Southwest, non stop from RDU to SJU?

 

Not yet.  Thanks for the tip.

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It's not just weather.  I've had at least three flights cancelled due to mechanical problems in the past year.  Only one was able to re-accommodate me so I arrived at my destination on time.  Two forced me into an unplanned overnight.  No way in heck I"d fly in the day a cruise left.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, zitsky said:

I have done several cruises and never thought it was necessary to fly earlier.  I'm looking at a cruise in December going through Newark, NJ.  The flight would arrive at 4:30pm.  The ship leaves at 8:30pm.  I think 4 hours is enough padding, but what do you think?  We could go a day early and stay in a hotel near the airport or cruise terminal.

 

SJU is a congested AP.  Connections through Newark at the holidays add more trouble to this plan.   Don't risk it.  

Edited by trish1c

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3 hours ago, zqvol said:

 

Have you looked at Delta and Southwest, non stop from RDU to SJU?

 

I don't see any direct flights between RDU and SJU in December on any airline other than Frontier and it's not daily service.  Here is a link on flightsfrom for December: https://www.flightsfrom.com/RDU/destinations?durationFrom=57&durationTo=537&dateMethod=month&dateFrom=2019-12-01&dateTo=2019-12-31#/SJU

 

I'm also in the get there a day early camp.  Even if there isn't weather on your specific route/in your city, any inclement weather in the airline route system can ripple through the network.

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1 hour ago, CruiseDigits said:

 

I don't see any direct flights between RDU and SJU in December on any airline other than Frontier and it's not daily service.  Here is a link on flightsfrom for December: https://www.flightsfrom.com/RDU/destinations?durationFrom=57&durationTo=537&dateMethod=month&dateFrom=2019-12-01&dateTo=2019-12-31#/SJU

 

I'm also in the get there a day early camp.  Even if there isn't weather on your specific route/in your city, any inclement weather in the airline route system can ripple through the network.

I think American flies non stop from Charlotte to San Juan - perhaps not as convenient as RDU, but I would certainly prefer a somewhat longer drive to an airport if it meant not having to change flights.

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We did many cruises that we would fly that day, but wouldn’t do that again, airlines are over booked and weather seems crazy , always now go at least a day before and get insurance. 

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As background, we frequently do same day flight for our cruises.   If you were to search the forum, you would see I am often 180 deg's from what most preach here on CC about same day flights.

 

Having said that, I would not take the flight/timing you describe.  

 

Sounds like you are looking at an over night.  Good choice.  

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I would never consider a 4 hour difference enough time to get from the airport to the ship.  Too many things can happen that could cause you to miss the ship.

 

We always arrive at the embarkation port at least 2 or 3 days before the ship sails.

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12 hours ago, trish1c said:

 

SJU is a congested AP.  Connections through Newark at the holidays add more trouble to this plan.   Don't risk it.  


It took me maybe three minutes to get through security at SJU, and I had no problem finding a seat at my gate. There are only 25 gates making it the same size as HOU but with only just over half the number of annual passengers.  I just don't see this as a "congested" airport.  That term is better used at places like ATL, LAX, MCO, and LHR.  In my experience, PPT was far more congested than SJU--and it's an open air terminal--no a/c.  

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I have always found SJU to be horrible.  EWR/JFK/LGA are my "home" airports.  They are staffed properly most of the time.  SJU was always a madhouse on cruise days.  I've waited hours to clear security there, worse then the NYC APs even at the holidays, O'Hare, ATL, LAX, Heathrow & Charles DeGaulle, imo.  

 

For the OP to come through EWR with a layover here in December -- the winter holidays -- & think there is enough time to get to the port is cutting it too close. If it snows or ices & the plane can't take off, they will never get to SJU on time.  The OP doesn't really have 4 hours.  They only have 2 because the regs require all passengers to be on board 2 hours before sailaway.  To land at SJU at 4:30 assuming nothing else was delayed to have to deplane, collect luggage, & stand in that taxi line -- which can be over an hour long -- & think that they will make a 6:30 all aboard is too risky.  Even if everything went perfectly I'd have no fingernails left after that journey which would adversely color my whole trip 

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OP, as others have said; you have to board the ship 2 hours ahead of the departure time. If you get delayed and show up at the port at 7:30, even though the ship is sitting there they won’t let you board. So you actually have a 2 hour window to get allow for any delays, get bags, get a cab, allow for any traffic delays, and get to the port. Entirely too tight for me. 

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9 minutes ago, trish1c said:

I have always found SJU to be horrible.  EWR/JFK/LGA are my "home" airports.  They are staffed properly most of the time.  SJU was always a madhouse on cruise days.  I've waited hours to clear security there, worse then the NYC APs even at the holidays, O'Hare, ATL, LAX, Heathrow & Charles DeGaulle, imo.  

 

For the OP to come through EWR with a layover here in December -- the winter holidays -- & think there is enough time to get to the port is cutting it too close. If it snows or ices & the plane can't take off, they will never get to SJU on time.  The OP doesn't really have 4 hours.  They only have 2 because the regs require all passengers to be on board 2 hours before sailaway.  To land at SJU at 4:30 assuming nothing else was delayed to have to deplane, collect luggage, & stand in that taxi line -- which can be over an hour long -- & think that they will make a 6:30 all aboard is too risky.  Even if everything went perfectly I'd have no fingernails left after that journey which would adversely color my whole trip 


I'm not disagreeing that they should fly in a day early.  I am saying that my experience with SJU has been quite different than yours.  By the way, EWR is one of the most disagreeable airports in the world.  The worst part is the people who crowd around the escalators with 80 members of an extended family waiting for a single person to show up and they won't move to let you through.

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Totally agree that EWR can be a nightmare.  Being a Jersey girl I guess I'm just used to it  & power through.  lol 

 

OP don't risk it.  Fly in a day early.  

 

Also if you are flying a discount regional airline like Frontier the risks increase in winter.  Frontier had no options for me after a northeastern snow storm stranded me in Miami after a cruise a few years ago.  They did refund my ticket price but I had to get myself home.  Now I have a new rule:  no discount airlines in winter when I have time deadlines.  

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3 minutes ago, trish1c said:

Totally agree that EWR can be a nightmare.  Being a Jersey girl I guess I'm just used to it  & power through.  lol 

 

OP don't risk it.  Fly in a day early.  

 

Also if you are flying a discount regional airline like Frontier the risks increase in winter.  Frontier had no options for me after a northeastern snow storm stranded me in Miami after a cruise a few years ago.  They did refund my ticket price but I had to get myself home.  Now I have a new rule:  no discount airlines in winter when I have time deadlines.  


I used to live about 45 minutes from EWR and 75 from PHL.  I did the extra drive almost every time for parking at half the cost, a cleaner and less congested terminal, and just less hassle in general.

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19 minutes ago, ducklite said:


I used to live about 45 minutes from EWR and 75 from PHL.  I did the extra drive almost every time for parking at half the cost, a cleaner and less congested terminal, and just less hassle in general.

Just went up to Bradley (Hartford/Springfield) on Thursday to renew wife’s GE. One hour 45 minutes versus (possible) 45 minutes to JFK - but much easier drive, less hassle, free parking (for GE),  walk-in rather than required appointment (nothing until late August at JFK) made it the much better choice.  Whenever possible we fly out of Bradley rather than JFK or LGA - just not enough non-stops from there.

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Our last trip - in May - was for a graduation in Houston.  Flight down was delayed by over three hours because IAH was closed due to storms. Flight back was delayed by over two hours due to necessity to replace sensors in one toilet which gave false signal closing all on plane - we got free lunch, but were simply re-confirmed in attitude to NEVER expect delay-free flight to anywhere.

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17 hours ago, zitsky said:

I have done several cruises and never thought it was necessary to fly earlier.  I'm looking at a cruise in December going through Newark, NJ.  The flight would arrive at 4:30pm.  The ship leaves at 8:30pm.  I think 4 hours is enough padding, but what do you think?  We could go a day early and stay in a hotel near the airport or cruise terminal.

No way in aitch e double hockey sticks would I fly in the same day to Newark in December.  

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33 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Our last trip - in May - was for a graduation in Houston.  Flight down was delayed by over three hours because IAH was closed due to storms. Flight back was delayed by over two hours due to necessity to replace sensors in one toilet which gave false signal closing all on plane - we got free lunch, but were simply re-confirmed in attitude to NEVER expect delay-free flight to anywhere.


Was that May 10th by chance?  There were terrible storms racing in a line from Austin to Mobile.  I was at MSY waiting for a flight to HOU and both airports were experiencing significant delays in the late morning.  

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I appreciate all the replies.  I will arrive 1 or 2 days early.  But it's funny.  For everyone saying I love ABC airport there are two more saying I hate it.  

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We missed a connection once due to a line to get planes de-iced at the originating airport.  In the winter, you just don't know what all can go wrong.

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Rather than looking at the negatives of flying in the day of (which they surely exist), I'd rather focus on the positives. Flying in the night before is part of the vacation for us! Visit NYC or any other surrounding areas for a day or so. Vacation is so much more enjoyable when you can be leisurely and enjoy what is around you instead of the craziness of schedules.

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4 hours ago, Joebucks said:

Rather than looking at the negatives of flying in the day of (which they surely exist), I'd rather focus on the positives. Flying in the night before is part of the vacation for us! Visit NYC or any other surrounding areas for a day or so. Vacation is so much more enjoyable when you can be leisurely and enjoy what is around you instead of the craziness of schedules.

Precisely:  people should think outside the box —- the “box” in this case being the cruise.  

 

If you are sailing from interesting places (perhaps places to which people will fly just to visit), why not piggy-back such a visit onto your cruise. Boston, New York, Miami, San Juan, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle - to name just a few - are all worth a flight to see on their own? 

 

  Failing to take advantage of being there -in addition to just boarding a ship - is hard to fathom.

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22 hours ago, zqvol said:

 

Totally opposite of our experience. If I am flying I want to go through ATL,  rarely do we see delays or cancellations.

 

Week before last I missed a connection through ATL.  Had to stay over 22 hours, as it was a one flight a day connecting flight.

 

 

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