Hello all. This will be our first time to Couples. We have decided to go to CSS. I just have a few questions about air travel.We are going to be flying US Airways through Charlotte.
1. Is a 50 minute layover on the way to MBJ good enough or should it be longer?
2. How early does the resort take you back to airport, say we were leaving at 12:30?
3. How long should a layover in Charlotte be on the way back since we have to go through customs?
1. For our flights next month, we have a 54 minute layover early on a Saturday morning. We are scheduled to arrive at CLT at 7:01 AM. We have had this flight in the past and although it leaves little room for error, it should be plenty of time. If I remember right, my wife even had time to get a coffee and a quick bite to eat before making our connection last time. Charlotte is a relatively small airport (as compared to say Atlanta) and is easy to navigate.
2. The resort usually has you on a shuttle about 4 or 5 hours before your flight. I'm used to Negril, so I'm not positive obout the Ocho Rios time table. For a 12:30 flight, I would anticipate a 7:00 AM shuttle departure time.
3. On our return to the States, we are schedule to arrive in Charlotte at 6:32 PM Saturday evening and have 1 hour 18 minutes to get through customs/immigration, recheck our bags and get to our gate. Again, this leaves little room for error, but it has worked for us in the past. Personally, I'd be more comfortable with at least 2 hours, just in case, but we've been lucky so far (knock on wood).
We stayed at CTI last Nov and connected through Charlotte. We had a 50 min layover each way. Definitely enough time (as long as your flight to Charlotte is on time) on the way there and we made it with just an hour layover on the way back, but it was pushing it. We felt like we were in a hurry. This year we picked a flight so that we had a 2 hr layover on the way back so we didn't feel rushed. 1 hour is enough time, but it was just enough for us to get our luggage, recheck it, grab food to go and get to the gate for our last leg home.
We were at CTI and I think our flight left at 1:40 and we left the resort around 8 or 9, I can't really remember. I think they leave around 4 hrs before your flight, but it also depends on when others from the same resort and neighboring resort have flights as well.
I always try to connect through Charlotte when flying USAirways. The airport is small enough that even if you are flying in on a commuter flight (Concourse E), there are moving sidewalks so that you can quickly get to the other main USAirways concourses (B, C, and D). The Montego Bay flight usually leaves out of Concourse D, although we've been in Concourse B on other international flights recently (Cayman and Belize).
50 minutes on the way down is cutting it close, but they are very good about getting your checked bags to the plane. On the return home, you want at least 1 hour 15 minutes. Besides going through immigration, collecting your bags, going through customs, then rechecking your bags, you also then have to go through security again. Depending upon when you arrive, the security lines can be backed up. That's why I say 1 hour 15 minutes minimum on the return. Also, if you are seated towards the back of the plane, allow even more time for deplaning.
Here's a tip - once you recheck your bags, you'll walk down a corridor into what looks like a baggage claim area. Take the escalator immediately to your right. That will put you at the security gates for the D Concourse. If this security line is backed up, walk to your right down the corridor and go through the security at C/B. This line is usually not as backed up. Most people coming in on the international flights just assume they have to go through security at the D checkpoint, and this is not so. But this is why it can get backed up.