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Cayman airline connection logistics

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by dulinor, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. dulinor

    dulinor ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta, GA
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    So, we loved when our Liveaboard did a Little Cayman swing-through last year so much that our whole group is going this December to a resort on Little Cayman for a week. I'm very excited but unfortunately booked my flights a little later than most. We're all coming in on Delta at 1:35, everybody else got a direct out at 3:20. That was sold out so I'm hopping through Cayman Brac leaving at 2:45. (And arriving roughly the same time as the direct flight.) That's the latest flight available that day.

    The question is - can you make that connection in an hour and ten? My biggest worry is luggage. Current plan is to get one of the folks on the 3:20 to check my stuff for me either from the beginning or in GCM and just carry what I can on the Cayman Air flights. (I think I can get "critical" dive gear - mask / computer / regs with me and send easily rented things separately.)

    Still, do you have to wait for baggage claim to get into the main terminal? Do they check ID/luggage tags? (So they'd need to check the stuff from the US under their own name?) If they have to check, what are the Cayman Air baggage limits? The website seems to indicate it's pretty generous, perhaps because their planes are too small to accept much carry-on.
     
  2. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    To best honest that is not a legal window. Yes you have to wait for baggage and pick it up to go through Customs after Immigration like any foreign country. You should check restrictions on the Cayman Airways website specifically Cayman Express. What happened to someone a year ago when the airport was undergoing major renovations especially during low season has no bearing now. Do not bank on the experiences of others from past trips as there has been a huge filter down from the loss of use of the grounded planes. While some might argue that equipment does not do the shuttle flights, it still takes a huge bite out of options from a very small national airline. Pack some necessities like bathing suits in carryon and if the limits for luggage are already taken up, be prepared to use rental gear for at least the first day. You will have a great trip and if you choose planning to overnight in GC May relieve a ton of stress. Would be happy to make recommendations for accommodations and yummy food. Obviously I love diving too but there are ways to enjoy your time even if it doesn’t include getting your head wet if you are willing to go with the flow.
     
  3. dulinor

    dulinor ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    86
    28
    18
    Yeah if I could get out a day earlier and just overnight on Grand Cayman, that would make this all easy.

    Right now, I'm hoping to make the transfer with just a backpack (and one of the first off the US plane) - let my friends get a dive bag through customs / re-checked in. There are three later flights that appear to be sold out - anybody done standby or the like? If there's just no chance I'll have to think about how to arrive earlier - I have tons of miles and free checked bags galore on Delta but if I'm willing to stop in Miami or something on a different carrier I can get in before noon.
     
    caydiver likes this.
  4. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,874
    2,886
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    I don't think your plan of asking a friend to carry your luggage is viable. Each individual is limited to 55 lbs total (including carry-on) for the Otter flight to LC. And the carry-ons have to be small enough to fit under the tiny seats, there's not much room on an Otter.

    Are you stopping on Grand Cayman before going to Brac and then Little Cayman? If yes, then you might consider the Meet and Greet Service offered by GCM airport, see link below.

    They will help you through immigration and customs and assist you in making your connecting flight. There is a fee, but it might be a lot cheaper than missing your flight, suddenly having to overnight on GC, and missing a day of diving.

    Meet and Greet Service – CEO’s Welcome
     
  5. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    Come the day before if you can. Look at prices at a place like Locale 345. Would not choose it for a holiday but cheap and cheerful for an overnighter. Don’t bother to eat there. Lots of great places in the immediate area and Coconut Joes is a great breakfast option! Hit Lone Star an iconic dive bar. Much better option than being hassled. I never understand why people don’t take stress out of their holiday especially when it is so easy.
     
    dulinor likes this.
  6. dulinor

    dulinor ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    86
    28
    18
    I'd love to come early but don't think I can. I'm already leaving the family alone for a week - my wife would kill me. (I'm not a monster. Thinking about this trip right now because she's in the middle of her vacation and I'm covering the kids.)

    If I do get stuck, that sounds like a reasonable fallback. I'd miss day one morning dives, but we're there all week. Not the end of the world.

    Cayman Airways did put me on the waitlist for later flights - but would not opine about my odds. Still they thought the transfer should only take "an hour and change" - especially if I check in ahead of time and just drop bags. If I get a seat up front on Delta, they're on time / early and I can find someone willing to take a couple of bulky items (fins) I might be ok - carry everything on Delta then check it for Cayman. Big incentive to leave things like the camera behind.
     
    caydiver and KathyV like this.
  7. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    They will help you if they can. There are lots of locals who live on one island and commute regularly for work so spaces do open up. Good luck!!
     
  8. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    6,939
    3,243
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    I think the only chance you will have in making that connection time is to pay for the meet and greet and even with that I’m not sure you will make it. Your best option is fly in on Friday, spend the night in GC, and have no pressure in making your flight to LC the next day.
     
  9. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,874
    2,886
    113
    Coming in the night before would be the safest and least stressful option but if that isn't feasible I would sign up for the Meet and Greet and cross my fingers.

    I believe that it was @Candiru that had a tight connection to Brac and decided to reserve the Meet and Greet service. His plane from the US was delayed and that made his connection even tighter but they helped and expedited his processing and he made it. No guarantees, I've never used it myself, but it might be worth it in this situation.
     
  10. mcohen1021

    mcohen1021 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Texas
    849
    418
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    Why not send your bags with the folks who will for sure get there 1st, then all you have to do is haul arse to your connecting flight?
     
    tridacna likes this.

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