Flight Stand-by chances POS to Tobago

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Ahmad
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Flight Stand-by chances POS to Tobago

Post by Ahmad » Wed May 17, 2017 6:19 pm

Hi all,

Short Story: How likely are we to get 2 seats on a flight from POS to Tobago on Stand-by?

Long Story:
Finally after a 5 month delay due to fear from Trump's travel ban we're making out honeymoon trip to Tobago this weekend and we have ALMOST everything booked/reserved and ready. The way our itinerary plays out we're initially spending some time in Tobago and then some time in Trinidad. Our booked return flights are between NYC and Port-of-Spain which we had booked earlier. Just recently it occurred to us that we should also get to booking out flights from POS to Tobago and back as well. However, it seems all flights from POS to Tobago are booked the day we land in POS from NYC. Ideally we would like to get to Tobago as soon as we can after our NYC-POS flight. Ferry is one option, which leaves at 4 pm for Saturdays, but we were going to try Stand-by seat options for a flight first.. What's the likelihood we actually get 2 seats? Are there any other ways of going about this?

Thanks in advance!

Hugh S
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Re: Flight Stand-by chances POS to Tobago

Post by Hugh S » Thu May 18, 2017 2:24 pm

Keep checking online but unless your travel date is a holiday or special event day (or if you arrive very late in the day) you should be able to show up and get on standby. What time does your flight arrive POS?

Good luck!

Hugh 8)

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Re: Flight Stand-by chances POS to Tobago

Post by Ahmad » Thu May 18, 2017 4:27 pm

Hi Hugh,

Flight lands at POS at 5:50 AM this Saturday. Is there a special holiday this weekend?

I talked to Carribean Airlines and they said that I should book the next available flight (sunday) and when I get to POS as them to put us on the next available flight if possible. The nice lady said that they give international connections preference in stand-by lines... I assume with the frequency of flights we'll be able to grab two seats within the morning of afternoon hopefully.

I'll post of how it goes afterwards for anyone else who might be wondering!

Thanks.

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Re: Flight Stand-by chances POS to Tobago

Post by Hugh S » Thu May 18, 2017 4:49 pm

Ahmad,

Never assume, but I agree that you have a very good chance of getting on an early Saturday flight. We usually figure about 2 hours from landing to get to the Caribbean Air desk.

We recently lost our Carib Air seats because multiple international flights all landed at the same time and the Immigration line took over an hour. We did get to Tobago with minimal delay and hassle even though it was the Thursday before the big Easter weekend.

Hugh 8)

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Re: Flight Stand-by chances POS to Tobago

Post by Ahmad » Wed May 31, 2017 4:15 pm

Never Assume - truest thing ever.

So we've gone and returned from our honeymoon trip to Tobago and while we had an amazing experience IN Tobago, getting there proved to be a 15 hour wait in Trinidad for a stand-by ticket.

I've mentioned my situation in my initial post and won't repeat it here. We landed in Trinidad at 5:30 a.m and by 6:15 after having immigration and customs sorted out were able to get to the Caribbean Airlines "Domestic Check-in" (read: flights to Tobago). We explained our situation as international transfer passengers and asked to be put in the stand-by list. However we were told that the stand-by list is already 72 people long and that they will not be taking more people till 10 a.m. We were completely baffled. A look around did highlight their claim, there were a lot of people sitting/lying around but not one in the standby line yet. We decided to go have some breakfast and took our time thinking nothing is going to happen till 10 a.m.

When we passed by the desk again around 7:30 a.m a line had started to grow at the stand-by counter. We got in line but were now about 20-25 people back. Mind you, they till were not taking additional names for stand-by. We got to talk to some of the locals standing in line and it the last name they had accepted for stand-by was at 4:30 a.m!

After inquiring for the reason for the rush, it seemed that the waterbridge/ferry to Tobago is, pretty much not working out so well these days and often trips are cancelled, which was the case this morning. So the air bridge had to accommodate for the ferry's passengers as well. We were told that it was a political issue, and now the flights were the only reliable way to and from Tobago.

About 40 minutes before each flight, Caribbean and representatives would come and yell out names of stand-by passengers who would fly, and while these would only by 3-4 in number, there would be cheers of excitement by the chosen ones. At this rate the existing stand-by list was not getting through anytime soon. After multiple delays it wasn't until 3:00 pm that they were through with most of the stand-by list and opened up to take more names. By now the line had turned into a cattle yard and efforts were made to return it into a line which obviously meant squeezing and pushing.

Alas by 3:30 p.m we got out names on the list among 70 others (there were still people left out). We could finally sit around instead of standing in line and waiting, and only walk up when they would announce names before each flight. As each flight passed by, our names were not announced and we began to question if the announcements were following the order of names taken, let alone being given preference for being international transfer passengers.

at 7:30 p.m we were told that the airlines had (finally) decided to arrange for an additional flight which would take off at 9:00 p.m and most of the remaining stand-by passengers were to be accommodated on it. We were able to get on that flight and finally, after a very long day of standing/sitting on the floors of Piarco International Airport we were able to reach Tobago at 9:25 p.m.

Over our vacation we talked to many Tobagonians about this, and it seems that if the Ferry service is not fixed (politics sorted out), this may become a huge source of trouble for the local economy as the island has become largely reliant on the ferry service for cargo.

However, I would like to add a note here about the spirit of the T&T people. We made many friends while waiting in line and for the most part the atmosphere was cheerful. Anywhere else I can imagine tempers being lost and unpleasantries being exchanged.

On our way back, we noticed there wasn't the same amount of rush as we had experience, and concluded this situation greatly correlated to the ferry service. I suppose there is no way of truly knowing when stand-by is going to be a breeze and when it'll turn into a nightmare.

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