Monday, May 14, 2018

St. Croix Airport

A sensible, organized woman would blog starting at the beginning of the week in St. Croix and move forward. But not me.  I'm going to start with our last day on St. Croix and get to the other stuff later.

First, a couple of pictures to show I really was there.  The first pic is from the front patio of our cottage by the sea. The second pic is of me on the patio of the cottage by the sea.

It was awesome.

  But this is a complaining post, I hope in a funny way because I'm aiming for funny.

  We had to check out of our cottage by noon on Saturday.  Our flight didn't leave until 4:10 p.m.  So we didn't head straight to the airport because we aren't nuts.  There is nothing more boring and irritating then sitting in an airport for hours on end!

Instead we walked around Fredericksted, the nearby town, then went for a leisurely drive along one of the coasts, then parked the car near the beach for awhile to enjoy the last whiffs of ocean breezes.

Finally we left, filled the gas tank of the rental car, dropped it off, and were taken by airport shuttle to the airport. We got there around 2:30 p.m.  It is a little airport so that gave us almost 2 hours.  Which should have been more then plenty.

But it wasn't.

First we stood in line for awhile to get to one of those automatic screens which allow you to have your boarding passes generated.  We also paid for one suitcase to be put into the underbelly of the plane. That's the way it worked on American Airlines with our tickets -- we paid $25 per big suitcase.

Then we stood in line for a ridiculous amount of time to hand over our suitcase to the ticket agents.

Then we got into the security line.

Which was insanely long. Just, like, insanely, crazily long.  There were three flights leaving in a short amount of time, which is unusual I guess?

We stood and stood and stood. Time went by. The line inched forward.

After a long long time, we made it to the customs agents. Yes, customs.  We were on St. Croix, an American something. Not a state but a protectorate or something -- anyway, it is an American land area and we are Americans. We still had to go through customs and the customs agent (when we finally got to him) rather sneered at our driver's licenses.  He wanted a passport.  He grudgingly took the licenses, but then spent 5 minutes slowly checking things out to apparently be certain we were legitimate.

Finally, we were released.

Then things got really weird.  The next thing on the agenda was to FIND OUR SUITCASE. The one that we just had paid for to be put into the underbelly of the plane! For reasons I cannot fathom, they make you stand in line to hand it over, then it appears on the other side of customs where you take it again!

Then we were herded over to another line where our suitcase and various carry-ons were sent through a conveyor belt to CHECK FOR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.

Yes, there is great fear that someone will carry fruits and vegetables to the main land and release some invasive insect species.  I realize that's a potential issue but why didn't they take care of this after taking our suitcase?  Why did we have to pick it back up and walk it through ourselves?

Time was really getting on now. People around us were stressed because everyone was running late.

We got into the really serious security line now, the one where we remove shoes and belts and things are checked for explosives.  We dropped off our suitcase again now at another place.  (It did make it to Dayton with us, which surprised me a bit.)

The security line was really slow. The frazzled airport personnel were pulling people out of line who were running really late for an even earlier flight.

Finally, finally, we got to the security conveyor belt.  We didn't have to take off our shoes and belts because we are officially TSA pre-check approved for some reason.  I don't know why but probably it is because Kevin works for the government?

I have never, in all my life, been through a security line where they were so fussy.  We were supposed to take all food out of our backpacks. Why, just why?  So we're frantically pulling things out and putting them in bins. We are now officially late for the plane, but so is half the plane so the plane is waiting.

We get through the sensor which checks our bodies for dangerous substances.  (I had to go through three times as my sunglasses were setting it off -- took me awhile to figure that out.)

We got to the other side and waited for my belly pack, our two carry-ons, and Kevin's backpack to go through the x-ray conveyor thingie.

And then, just when we thought we were finally home free and could get on the plane, Kevin's bag was flagged as dangerous!

So I gathered my stuff and went out into the waiting area.  The plane is now totally boarding.  Kevin was patted down for dangerous weaponry, then told to sit down. Because something in his bag had caused a major ALERT on their security screens.  Like a red screen, with an ALERT on it.

Can you guess what it was?

Wait for it.

Granola bars.

Yes, indeed, granola bars.

MY granola bars, to be specific.

So Kevin sat and waited for a long time and finally an agent or two or three had him carefully extract a granola bar and OPEN it, and they looked at it and said...

"Ok, you're fine.  You can go."

We were the last people on the plane. THE LAST.

The St. Croix airport security line is a nightmare.

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