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March 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Perils of Dive Travel

missed flights, travel agents and (egads!) gluten-free requests

from the March, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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It's old news that international travel is a struggle, but for divers heading to tiny islands, making same-day connections can be chancy. Frequent Caribbean travelers refer to LIAT as the "Leave Island Any Time" airline. It booted Undercurrent reader Todd Lichtenstein (West Orange, NJ) in December. "The LIAT flight from Antigua to Dominica was at least 90 minutes late. We boarded the plane to discover that even though we had assigned seats there were no empty seats left. We had to overnight in Antigua (which was paid for by LIAT) and missed the first day of diving at Castle Comfort."

Still, I prefer to take my chances with LIAT in Barbados, Antigua and St. Maarten, rather than use American Eagle and San Juan, Puerto Rico as a hub (if you miss a connecting flights there, it might be a couple days before you can find a seat on another). Seaborne Airlines code-shares with American and will soon code-share with Delta, so it may be a better alternative for connecting to the Windward or Leeward islands.

Frequent flyers know to expect unexpected delays. Robert Barada (Walnut Creek, CA) arrived at the Roatan airport only to find the weather didn't allow them to land. "We were diverted to San Pedro Sula and sat on the tarmac for three hours, then finally deplaned and went through Customs and Immigration, only to stand in line at the United Airlines counter to get a voucher for taxis, the Hilton Princess, and dinner and breakfast. They had armed guards patrolling the hotel and told us to stay inside -- we heard gunshots around 11 p.m. We went back to the airport at 8:30 the next morning, as the flight was scheduled to leave at 11 a.m. The weather didn't clear at the Roatan airport until about 5:30 p.m."...

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