7

I know there are tons of questions like this on travel forums, but all the information I could find till now concerns connection to/from US-bound flights (which seems to make up like 90% of all Bahamian tourist traffic).

However, I'll be travalling from Europe (LHR) to Exuma and back. Since non-US departures use the same terminal as Bahamas domestic flights (as opposed to US-Departures which use a separate terminal, requiring a shuttle bus), and also since the US Customs are notoriously laggy (or let's say, pedantic), I suppose the transfer times needed for US flights are moderately relevant for Europe-bound flights.

Does someone have specific experiences with this?

The particular problem is as follows: My flight GGT -> NAS arrives at 19:55 and NAS -> LHR departs at 21:45. The previous flight GGT -> NAS is 13 hours earlier at 6 am, and I'd like to avoid having to get up at 3 in the mornig on my last day of vacaction. Note that these are separate bookings, so I'd have to pick up my luggage and recheck.

Same question relates to the other direction (LHR -> NAS -> GGT), too, but then I have 3 hours between the flights, which should be fine.

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    Related: Transfer from domestic flight to international flight in Nassau Airport. 1:50 seems a bit tight for this connection. – Michael Hampton Nov 11 '15 at 5:59
  • How good is the time keeping on the local flight? It won't take very much of a delay to mean you won't have time to collect bags + get to the checkin area before checkin closes for the next flight. Given that many (though not all) Caribbean airlines are known for a "relaxed" attitude to schedules, that seems rather risky to me... – Gagravarr Nov 11 '15 at 12:00
  • @Michael Hampton: I'm aware of that topic you linked, it's one of those I read before posting here. However, it is also about catching a US flight, not a Europe flight. I know that 1:50 is tight for a US flight, but that is not the case in point. – Mike Nov 11 '15 at 17:29
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    @Gagravarr: 30 minute delay would be extreme for a 40 minute flight, starting at an airport that has exactly two (!) takeoffs per day. This is not JFK -> FRA or something... Have you experienced this yourself, or are you talking hypothetically? – Mike Nov 11 '15 at 18:08
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    @Mike My last flight in the Caribbean was a 20 minute flight, between adjacent islands, 4 flights a day, flight was delayed 10 hours... – Gagravarr Nov 11 '15 at 18:49
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+100

One general option - not mentioned in the comments - is to look at historical delay information. How often is the plane late, and how late is it? This is available on a number of websites; I'm a fan of Flightradar24, which shows accurate runway to runway times, but Flightaware is another good option - especially in areas where airlines actually update their systems (in my current locale this behaviour is patchy at best...)

So, taking your flight from GGT-NAS as an example, and assuming you're talking about flight UP373 - which is now scheduled to arrive at 19:40...

Flightradar shows, over the last 5 flights flown, a minimum delay of 5 minutes, and a maximum one of 1h25m. And remember, that's the time the plane landed, not the time it got to the terminal - although in this case, the difference isn't huge.

Flightaware shows similar details - delays from about 4 minutes to 1 hour 28 minutes over the last few flights it has data for.

In both cases, you can pay a few dollars to see more information, and Flightaware will also give you 4 months of history just for registering.

Does this tell you everything? Not quite. Delays might be more common at certain times of the year (hurricane season perhaps). Maybe a schedule change will increase or decrease future punctuality.

But armed with this information, some details about the airport in question (as you say, Nassau isn't exactly JFK or Frankfurt), and an idea of your appetite for risk, you can decide whether to take a chance. In this case, I probably wouldn't (especially as there now seems to be a second airline with nicer flight times back to Nassau).

Finally - how does a 30 minute flight have such a long delay? Simple. It's the end of the day. The plane's been flying around for something like 14 hours, and those 5 or 10 minute delays here and there, problems with getting luggage on and off, delays for takeoff - they all add up.

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