Sail Away - November 2006

Travel SmartsWe’ve heard some sad tales from a number of reader/charterers who had troubles getting themselves and their luggage to the desired destination in the Caribbean. There’s no way to solve their problems retroactively, of course, but there are ways to prevent them in the future. I talked with Judy Shapiro, an agent with Caribbean Travel (800-327-5540) for
Author:
Publish date:
1106sa

Travel Smarts

We’ve heard some sad tales from a number of reader/charterers who had troubles getting themselves and their luggage to the desired destination in the Caribbean. There’s no way to solve their problems retroactively, of course, but there are ways to prevent them in the future. I talked with Judy Shapiro, an agent with Caribbean Travel (800-327-5540) for 15 of her 24 years in the business; she’s helped me out any number of times with complicated travel plans. She’s not the greatest living expert, she says—just opinionated, and happy to voice her opinions on her clients’ behalf.

MISSED CONNECTIONS. If you’re flying through San Juan, Puerto Rico—it’s the usual gateway to other Caribbean destinations—your ongoing flight may be scheduled for 1 hour, 10 minutes (the legal minimum) after your scheduled arrival in San Juan. However, Judy says that 2 hours is the minimum time that works; you’ll need more time if you have to clear customs and security.

If you know before you even leave your home airport that you’re going to miss your connection because your departure has been delayed, call your travel agent or the airline as soon as possible and rebook that flight. Have 800 numbers for both with you.

If you’re flying on one major airline on both legs of your trip and miss the connection, that airline will book you on the next available flight that has space for you. It is sometimes possible to have your original carrier endorse your ticket over to another carrier that does have space, but they must have a preexisting ticketing agreement. It’s worth asking.

There are a number of small independent airlines flying interisland routes in the Caribbean. If another carrier won’t take their tickets, a missed or canceled flight on the second leg can leave you in the soup. Judy recommends that you ask your agent or the airline directly whether they have ticketing agreements with any of these small airlines before you book with one of them; if the airline uses paper tickets, she says, it’s a clue that their tickets are not being accepted by other airlines.

However, Judy says that if you can get your major carrier to endorse your ticket (they’re supposed to), most smaller airlines will accept it. But find out first if the smaller airline has a seat for you; they use small planes with limited seating.

Rule 240, a federal requirement before deregulation, describes your rights if you’re stranded. Each airline has its own interpretation of its obligation to provide meals or accommodations. It’s worthwhile checking airline Web sites and doing a search on “Rule 240” to find out how this works; mytravelrights.com has a discussion plus information on individual airlines.

LOST LUGGAGE. We heard from one reader whose luggage took almost a week to catch up with him in Tortola; he and the rest of his party bought a few necessary pieces of clothing and found that you really don’t need much when you’re on a boat in the tropics. My strategy is to use carry-on only; my small bag and small, waterproof backpack (good for transporting a camera in a dinghy or a rainstorm) have done the job on many trips, and I have the comfort of knowing that I’m the only one who can lose my bag. With current regulations forbidding packing some necessities in a carry-on bag, I’m planning to buy toothpaste, shampoo, and sunscreen on arrival.

Report missing luggage before you leave the airport. At the same time, ask whether and how much the airline will allow for replacement of necessities; this compensation will be available only if the delay exceeds 24 hours. If the delay is overnight but less than 24 hours, the airline will probably offer you a packet of toiletries. Here, too, different airlines have different policies. And, says Judy, if you don’t ask, you’re definitely not going to get anything. Document the facts and keep receipts. Amy Ullrich

Sail Away Archive

When Winter Comes (October 2006)

Should You Insure Your Trip? (September 2006)

Stormy Weather (August 2006)

Charter a Passage (July 2006)

Less is More (June 2006)

Summer in the Islands (May 2006)

Caribbean Notes (April 2006)

Where to Go Now (March 2006)

Wedding Bells (February 2006)

Charter Cats (January 2006)

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more