“Delta was ready when we were!”
Flight from Atlanta to Montego Bay
- Round Trip
- Number of Stops:
- No stops
- Date of Flight:
- June 2010
- Seat Class:
We recently flew Delta roundtrip from Atlanta (ATL) to Montego Bay, Jamaica for our delayed honeymoon (1.5 years post wedding). Our outbound flight was Monday, June 21, 2010 at 8:30AM. We had checked in online and preprinted our boarding passes and since we weren't checking luggage, went straight to security. The security checkpoint was surprisingly fast and efficient for a Monday morning and we were soon on our way to our gate in the E terminal (international concourse). Boarding was uneventful and we departed on schedule. My wife and I are both readers, so since we each brought books, the 2.5 hour flight passed quickly and soon we were landing at MBJ.
The airport at Montego Bay has apparently gone through recent upgrading and expansion. It is a modern facility, much larger than I had envisioned! In fact, the walk from our arrival gate to immigration and customs was VERY long and took forever! Once we arrived at immigration, the process was painless and Jamaican officials were efficient, friendly and warm.
We enjoyed a wonderful week in paradise at Hedonism II in Negril. The most adventurous parts of the travel were our bus/van rides to and from the airport to the resort and back! Not for the faint of heart!
When the day to return home arrived (Sunday, June 27), we sadly boarded the bus at 7:00AM local time to return to the airport for our 11:30AM flight back to Atlanta. Once again, we used the hotel computer & printer to check in online and print our boarding passes. When we arrived at the airport, check in was a breeze - only this time we had to check one bag because we had bought a bottle of Jamaican rum to bring back as a gift for our daughter & son in law. Security was "no problem mon" and soon we were at our gate with plenty of time to spare. MBJ has plenty of shopping opportunities on the concourse, so since we had time, we took advantage!
Once again, boarding went smoothly and we departed on time. The flight encountered some bumpy air (thanks to tropical storm Alex), but nothing too bad.
My one complaint of the trip is the cumbersome/convoluted immigration/customs/baggage handling process upon coming back into the United States. Immigration was not an issue. We had to pick up our checked bag in the international concourse to go through customs - no problem (except for the bottle of rum, we wouldn't have checked it anyway). After we cleared customs, they made us take the bag that had been checked (and only that bag) to another area and put back into the airport baggage handling system to be transported to the baggage claim carousels in the main terminal! We asked if we could just keep the bag with us and were told no. We then asked if we could send our other bag with it then - again the answer was no. It didn't make any sense to us! So after retieving our bag, going through immigration and clearing customs and then "rechecking" our bag for the trip to the main baggage carousels, we began the long trek from concourse E to the main terminal at ATL. A long concourse walk and 6 train stops later, we arrived at baggage carousel #1 only to find that the bags were not there yet! Oh well - at least we were almost home!
The punch line to all this is, that after a wonderful trip inbound to Jamaica, an extraordinary week in paradise, and a mostly pleasant flight home, getting out of the Atlanta airport took right at 3 hours from the time we deplaned (longer than the total time it took us from push back at MBJ to "fasten seat belts sign off" in ATL)! What's wrong with this picture????
In fairness, I have no complaints for Delta for the flights or the service! And, if a cumbersomee arrival process is my worst complaint of the trip, I think I'm pretty fortunate! :-)