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Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Georgia
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Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Hey, I am new to the board - my wife and I are going to make our first trip to Eleuthera in mid-September and I have several questions - the first of which is, "If our flight from Nassau to Charlotte leaves at 2:30pm, can we take the Southern Air flight, which is scheduled to land there at 12:55 pm and be OK on time?" I have seen elsewhere that some say you need a minimum of a 3 hour layover, but that they've made it through customs, etc. in less than 30 minutes. Given that we are coming in September, will a little over 1.5 hours be enough layover time?

Overland Park...
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1. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

No way is that enough time. We flew GHB to NAS to CLT on August 4. Plan was to arrive in Nassau at 8:00 for a 10:22 departure to Charlotte. Flight to Nassau was twenty minutes late. Had to wait ten minutes on bags, then get from domestic terminal to international check in. HINT: take a taxi, don't wait on the shuttle because there will probably only be one running and it will be full. Got stuck behind some moronic large family groups at baggage drop that slowed us somewhat. Rounded the corner from security into customs and BAM! The customs hall was almost completely full. We got into customs at 9:10 and finally out of the madness at 10:25. Fortunately they held the flight because the later ones were all full that day. And we felt better because two other groups boarded after us.

Moral of the story: Even if everything is on time getting to Nassau, customs could be terrible. Granted, we flew on a Saturday, but I would plan for the worst no matter when you travel. I don't think you would even make it to international check in with more than an hour to drop bags, pass security, clear customs, and make your flight. Give yourself more time instead of stressing yourself. And don't fly hungover on rum bubbas.... Ugh.

Georgia
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2. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Wow, so 2.5 hours might not be enough either then. Well, I guess we will be taking the 7:00 am flight out then. We really didn't want to do that, but missing our flight out of Nassau would be much worse. Thanks for the info.

Nassau, New...
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3. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Absolute minium time to make both flights is 2 1/2 hours, but 3 is more reasonable. You must check in for your US bound flight 2 hours before departure, or you run the risk of losing your seat. Never mind that getting through security and US pre-clearance can take 20 minutes or an hour and half -- no way to predict this from one day to the next.

I live in Nassau and travel frequently. There are times I have gotten though the check-in line, the security check and US pre-clearance in less than 20 minutes, then have an hour and forty minutes to amuse myself in the lounge. The last trip I made, we waited in the US pre-clearance line for nearly an hour, and security was another 25 minutes. So you never know. 3 hours is best coming in from an outisland -- allows a little cushion for a late flight, time to collect your luggage, then wait for the shuttle to the US terminal.... all time-consuming.

Georgia
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4. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Dusty, thanks for sharing your experience as well. Yeah, that seems to pretty well confirm that we are going to have to take that 7am flight, which arrives around 7:20.

Any thoughts by either of you as to how we could capitalize on our potential 6 hour layover at NAS? Or additional 3 hour layover in Charlotte?

Edited: 11:07 pm, August 18, 2012
Nassau, New...
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5. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Once you collect your luggage, head outside to the outer curb area and take the airport shuttle (every 15 minutes, but they can be long 15 minutes...) over the the US departures terminal. Once there, try to check in at US Air (assuming that since you said you are going to Charlotte) If they let you check in, then all is well. Sometimes, they will not allow you to check in that far ahead. If you can't check in, then head to the luggage storage area and check your bags there. Then outside, take a taxi to Compass Point and enjoy a quiet breakfast with one mroe chance at overlooking the sea on their outside patio. Taxis are readily available for the way back -- just ask the front desk for one. It is less than 10 minutes from the airport. For a 2:30 flight you will need to be at the airport no later than 12:30 (if you are already checked in) You will also be given a US customs form when checking in -- fillt hat out before you get th security - it will speed things along.

Charlotte has a nice central food court area with many offerings. There are also a long row of old fashioned rockign chairs to relax in while watchign the planes. My guess, is that after a long day of travel, you are not likely to want to do much rushing about! There is some shopping as well, though it's been a couple of years since I was in Charlotte.

Windsor, Canada
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6. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

There are American flights from Miami direct to Eleuthera and on United (Silver) and Twin Air from Fort Lauderdale direct to GHB. The flight takes an hour and generally from the time you get off the plane to the time you are out of the airport is about 10 minutes. Unless you want to spend some time in Nassau it is easier to skip it entirely.

King of Prussia...
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7. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Well you won't have to leave at 7:00 AM, you get an extra hour:

Bahamas Air - Governors Harbour -> Nassau 8:10 Departure 8:40 Arrival

Georgia
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8. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

Dusty, thanks so much for that info. And yes, we are flying USAir. That sounds like a really good idea in Nassau, especially since there is no way we will be able to get any sort of breakfast together before the airport (and I actually need to eat breakfast in order to take medication). And the quiet part sounds even better.

And you're probably right about the Charlotte layover. We will likely get there and want to crash in a chair. And, having worked in and around aircraft for FedEx, I would love to just sit and watch planes take off and land. That was the best part of my job then.

So wow, great. Thanks again. I'm actually excited about the trip home now (well, as much as I can be given that we will be leaving isolation and the beach and heading back to a landlocked chaos). Still, I had been dreading it, but it doesn't sound so bad now.

Georgia
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9. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

WindsorDave, yeah, I probably booked a little too quickly and should have gone with the Ft. Lauderdale option instead of USAir. But I panicked a bit when one flight I had been considering dropped off of Kayak (and of course, now I can change it). Next time I will know better. Thanks for the info though.

Georgia
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10. Re: Minimum layover time if flying through Nassau

GLDawson,

Thanks for pointing that out. For some reason (and I can't remember now at all why), I had stopped looking at Bahamas Air and only been considering Southern and Pineapple. Since that's only $2 more, it's worth it. Though, I have heard of some folks having problems with Bahamas Air (maybe that's why I stopped looking at it).

Do any of you have reservations about using Bahamas Air or it is just as reliable as the rest?

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