Club Med Columbus Isle


How to get from Miami to San Salvador

Bambi
8 Posts
01
Apr
2012
edf40wrjww2FORUM_TOPICS:T_MESSAGE
Hi all

I will be attending a conference in Miami right before my vacation in Columbus Island starts and will obviously want to try to get directly to CI without first travelling back to France.

Where can I find the flights (scheduled and charter) going out from Miami to San Salvador on May 16th?

Your help is much appreciated, thanks.


bam bam !!
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JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
01
Apr
2012

http://www.kayak.com/flights#/MIA-ZSA/2012-05-16

THEY ARE ALL ONE STOP AT LEAST. WERE YOU LOOKING FOR ROUND TRIP OR JUST ONE WAY

How many gold bar beads?
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
01
Apr
2012
Club Med runs a nonstop charter flight from Ft Lauderdale (not far from Miami) to Columbus Isle, but only once a week on Saturdays. If you want to go to San Sal any other day of the week, you can fly from Miami to Nassau & then connect to the daily flight on Bahamas Air from
Nassau to San Sal.

Adria
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SandraGroot
174 Posts
02
Apr
2012
What about going there by boat? I've heard someone talking about this once, but I have no idea if it's possible to get to Columbus via the mainland.... Maybe someone else knows if this is possible?

'11 Palmiye
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'07 Agadir + Marrakech

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Kiki de M
2828 Posts
02
Apr
2012
Oh Sandra, it must take days by boat!
Flight time from Miami is something over 2 hours. Distance around 1600 km.....
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indiana
480 Posts
02
Apr
2012
There is a train which connects Miami to Ft Lauderdale airport. I did not use it. You may get more info at the Ft Lauderdale airport website under 'public transportation'. You may catch Spirit airline to CI
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
02
Apr
2012
The charter flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Columbus Isle takes about 45 minutes, but it only goes once a week on Saturdays on Spirit Airlines. There are no other non-stop flights into San Salvador Island from Florida; but you can easily catch a flight from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau (on several different carriers, including Bahamasair) & then connect with the once-a-day Bahamasair nonstop flight from Nassau to San Sal.
Other than that there are charter carriers which fly from Florida directly to San Sal but no other scheduled nonstop flights from Florida.
Your best bet would be to call the Club Med US sales office and let them arrange it for you.....
(if the Club Med reservations person tries to tell you that the ONLY way to get there is on a Saturday with the charter flight, ask to speak to a supervisor and explain that you want them to book your flights from Miami via Nassau since you can not arrive on a Saturday. We've done that - booking our own flights directly on Bahamasair, which is also an option you can use, & then booking our Club stay separately as "land only" when the dates of the charter haven't worked for us - and we also have friends who do that all the time coming from Europe because they don't want to take the Club charter flights from Paris, or else because they also plan to spend time in Miami before or after their stay at Columbus Isle)

Adria
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Bambi
8 Posts
03
Apr
2012
thanks all for your replies, will let you know how it goes....

bam bam !!
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Bambi
8 Posts
07
Apr
2012
CM is extremely unhelpful, there is no way to change the flights or get the inbound flight reimbursed.
I even had to negotiate that I do not have to pay an extra penalty for not using the flight (which they are going to sell back to Exel Airways anyways).
I might actually cancel the whole vacation as this is extremely disappointing in particular as we have been extremly loyal frequent customers over the past decade.

bam bam !!
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
08
Apr
2012
The problem has always been that the charter flights are round-trip & they won't let you book those charter flights only one way if you need to arrive or depart on a different flight. We've had the same issue using the US charter from Ft Lauderdale to San Sal. If we fly in via Bahamasair (via Nassau) because the Saturday charter date doesn't work for our arrival date, then they won't let us fly back to Ft Lauderdale on the nonstop charter back even if our departure date is a Saturday, so we have to return via Nassau also (big nuisance). So if they are going to let you take the charter back to Paris even though your arrival is not on the charter, you've already gotten a big concession from them....
Your alternative is just to book the Club part of the trip "land only" ("village-village") & then make your own flight arrangements both ways without the charter.

Adria
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Pebbles
6 Posts
10
Apr
2012
Just cancelled our vacation - we have tried asolutely everything ie changing to a resort only and booking flights separately but Cmwas extremely inflexible and not at all receptive to all the potential solutions we tried to work through with them
shame, for them, they lost a very loyal customer but there are limits

anyways, thanks all for your help and ideas !!





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ReefPolice
315 Posts
10
Apr
2012
Wow, that really is a shame that you couldn't even book just the land portion through them & then make your own flight arrangements! Very surprising, since we have friends who do it that way (from Europe) & we've done it that way quite a few times from the US. Was it the US sales office you were talking to? Have you tried booking land only through one of the European sales offices? (The Club Med charter from Ft Lauderdale is always full of Italians who also spend time in Miami before or after their stay at the Club, so whichever sales office is in Italty seems to be good at making travel arrangements for Columbus Isle.) Of course, it's ridiculous to have to jump through hoops like this to book a vacation....

Adria
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
10
Apr
2012
Just had another thought, if you're still interested:
You can also telephone directly to Reception at Columbus Isle and, if there will be room availability for the dates you want, you can book the room directly with the Village. Then you just make your own flight arrangements to get there from Miami via Nassau on Bahamasair.
The telephone number of Columbus Isle is:
+1 242 331 2000

Again, I agree it shouldn't be so complicated & the sales office should have been helpful and arranged everything for you. It would be understandable if you are just too fed up to want to pursue it further....but Columbus Isle may be worth one more try...

Adria
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WindsurfingGuy
6 Posts
14
May
2012
Hi,
I am Going to CI on 5/26/12. Fly from BWI on Airtran. If on time, I have 3 hrs between flights at FLL, if there is a delay, have to act quickly to check-in on Spirit.

Seems like Airtran arrives at Terminal #1.

Do you know what is the terminal number at FLL where ClubMed does check-in to ZSA?

Thank you.
Leonard
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
14
May
2012
I think the Spirit check- in is at Terminal #4 at FLL airport. The documents Club Med sends you prior to your trip should indicate exactly which terminal & what time you need to be there. The special check-in counter for the Club Med charter flight to Columbus Isle (San Salvador Island, Bahamas) will also be in the same Spirit terminal - but you need to look for one of the Club Med reps, who will be holding a Club Med sign, and he/she will direct you to the correct place to check in. Do NOT check in at any of the regular Spirit counters, only at the special Club Med check-in counter. (It was actually downstairs on another level the last time we went; but the Club Med reps will be circulating near the regular Spirit check-in counters, so find one of them.) Do NOT try to check your luggage straight through from your previous flight; bring it with you from the other terminal so that you can check it in at the counter for the charter. There are free busses that run between the various terminals, or you can get a luggage cart if your bags don't have their own wheels & just walk; there is a sidewalk and it's easy to do.

If you booked your entire trip, including the first flight, through Club Med, then the reps at the airport will be checking for your arrival at FLL. Even if the Club did not arrange that first flight for you, they will have your name on the list for the charter so they will be looking for you...

Adria
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WindsurfingGuy
6 Posts
14
May
2012
Thank you Adria.

Club Med documents stated only Spirit Flight # and Departure/Arrival times. No terminal info.
Leonard
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
14
May
2012
If this link works, it will take you to a map of FLL airport that shows which terminal each airline uses:
(our Club documents have always given specific details of charter flights including which terminal & time to be there for check-in; but if your documents don't have this info then you can call the Club reservations office to reconfirm if you want, or just go to the Spirit terminal when you arrive at FLL and look for one of the Club Med reps)

http://www.broward.org/AIRPORT/FLIGHTS/Pages/WhereIsMyAirline.aspx




Adria
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
14
May
2012
By the way, on your return trip back from San Sal to FLL, the charter flight will arrive at the International Arrivals area of Terminal 4, where you must first go through Immigration/Passport Control, then get your luggage and go through Customs, before you can recheck your luggage and go to another terminal for your next flight. On the return trip, the Club Med reps (again, holding signs so you can easily find them) will be waiting as you come out of the Customs area. They will show you where to recheck luggage (if necessary) & direct you to your connecting flight. Again, they have lists & will be waiting there until all the returning GM's emerge from Customs.

Adria
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AmateurGO
560 Posts
16
May
2012
We just got back from Columbus Isle and ReefPolice is correct with all his information. Spirit is in Terminal 4. Make sure you find the Club Med Rep; don't check in with the normal process. There is a specific section of the counter for Club Med check-in. You probably won't have any problems with the outbound flight to San Salvador.
The problem is more likely to occur on the return flight, if you don't have lots of time before your next flight. Our return flight was about 90 minutes late and the baggage took a long time to get out. With all this and the normal Customs/Immigration, we missed our next (Delta) flight (had about 2.5 hours between flights according to the schedule). The flight we missed was the last one to Atlanta that day, so we had to get a hotel room for the night. The only possible seats the next day were on a 5:45AM flight, so we had to get up at 3:30 AM to catch the shuttle. From what I've been able to find out, it is pretty common for the Spirit flight to be this late, so plan accordingly.

Amateur GO ( Professional GM )
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
16
May
2012
On the return flight from Columbus Isle to FLL airport, the amount of time it can take to get through Immigration/Customs can vary enormously. There is one International Arrivals terminal, through which all arriving passengers from outside the US are funneled (with the exception of a few international flights where passengers have already cleared US Immigration overseas, such as flights coming in from Nassau). So it all depends on how many other international flights have just arrived before you and/or where those flights are coming from. We've been making this trip several times a year for many years. The longest it has ever taken us to completely get through Immigration & Customs at FLL was 4 hours. The fastest we've ever experienced was 40 minutes. A renovation of the Immigration/Passport control area a few years ago has considerably speeded up the initial wait to get through Immigration into the baggage pick-up area; but unfortunately the wait for the baggage to actually appear seems to be longer each time we go through. (Or maybe it just didn't seem so long a wait for the baggage when we used to spend so much more time still in line waiting to get through Passport Control.) There are separate lines at Immigration/Passport Control for US citizens, so US passport holders often get through faster than holders of other passports. But, after retrieving your baggage, everyone winds up in the same line to go through Customs, regardless of nationality. So when friends ask us how much time to allow when scheduling their on-going connecting flights from FLL, we always recommend at least 4 hours if possible. Better to wait at FLL (which actually has gotten some new pretty good food options in the last few years) than to miss your connecting flight.
If Club Med books the entire trip for you - including the flights to/from FLL to connect with the charter flights - then they will generally allow sufficient time. More important, they will take care of you if it turns out that the amount of time allowed was not sufficient due to flight delays. If you book your own flights to/from FLL and just book the charter through Club Med, then their reps at the airport will try to assist you if they can - but they will not be responsible for rebooking flights or arranging accomodations for you if needed.

Adria
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kani
26 Posts
16
May
2012
I am also goint to take the charter flight from FLL on 26th of May.

My Club Med documents also stated only Spirit Flight # and Departure/Arrival times. There is no gathering time on it. I am thinking to arrive at the airport by 10am.

I hope this is fine to meet Club Med rep.

Leonard, please say hello to me if you find 2 asian women.
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HowiePA
394 Posts
16
May
2012
Just returned from Columbus, had a great time. Will post a little more soon. FYI the flight on Spirit Air is barely an hour from Ft Lauderdale. Its so fast that on the way down the flight attendants didnt have enough time to get drinks to every row.

Caution though both our flights out of Ft Lauderdale and out of San Salvador were delayed. The one back to Ft Lauderdale was an hour+ delayed and we missed our connection back to NY. Had to pay extra to change flights and spend $$$ on a hotel room for the night in Ft Laud as there were no more flights back to NY when we arrived in Ft Lauderdale on Saturday May 12. Leave yourself plenty of time, especially on the way home if you are making a connection in Ft Lauderdale. We left ourselves almost 2 hours and that wasnt even close to enough time with the delay.
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
16
May
2012
quote:
Originally posted by kani

I am also goint to take the charter flight from FLL on 26th of May.

My Club Med documents also stated only Spirit Flight # and Departure/Arrival times. There is no gathering time on it. I am thinking to arrive at the airport by 10am.

I hope this is fine to meet Club Med rep.

Leonard, please say hello to me if you find 2 asian women.





10am should be fine. That's a little more than 2 hours before the charter plane is scheduled to leave. Just be sure to look for the Club Med reps in the Spirit terminal at FLL & they will direct you to the special check-in counter for Columbus Isle.

Adria
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AmateurGO
560 Posts
17
May
2012
Our experience this past weekend was that Passport control and Customs were reasonably quick (10 minutes at passport control, 20 minutes at Customs). It was the late Spirit flight and delayed baggage that caused the real problems.
Although, in theory, you could leave a long time between flights, it really doesn't work that way in FLL. We had the same problem as Howie; we were scheduled on the last flight of the day to our destination and the delays caused us to miss that flight. You just can't leave more time than the last flight of the day (unless you just go ahead and plan to take a flight the next day).

Amateur GO ( Professional GM )
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WindsurfingGuy
6 Posts
17
May
2012
Hi Kani,
If my flight to FLL comes on time I will be there at 10:something.
I see you at check in. Hope we will have fun and nice weather.

Leonard.

PS: My PM does not work.
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WindsurfingGuy
6 Posts
17
May
2012
"... we missed our connection back to NY. Had to pay extra to change flights and spend $$$ on a hotel room for the night in Ft Laud"

It's too late for me to change flights.
Is this covered by ClubMed membership insurance?
any other travel insurance?
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ReefPolice
315 Posts
17
May
2012
quote:
Originally posted by WindsurfingGuy

"... we missed our connection back to NY. Had to pay extra to change flights and spend $$$ on a hotel room for the night in Ft Laud"

It's too late for me to change flights.
Is this covered by ClubMed membership insurance?
any other travel insurance?



I think Club Med would only cover these additional costs if you also booked the connecting flights between your home city & FLL through them, not if you only booked the charter flight & Club stay through them and booked the other flights on your own. Some airlines offer insurance at the time you buy your tickets. As far as other private trip insurance goes, it depends on what type of policy you've got (and those usually have to be purchased at the same time you originally book your trip). If you're a diver & a member of DAN, you can buy travel insurance through DAN but it has to be purchased within a short period of time after initially booking the trip. (We've never bought separate trip insurance for a Club Med trip, only for safari trips, etc.)

Adria
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kani
26 Posts
19
May
2012
Adria, Thank you ver much for the info. I also cannot change a return flight from FLL to JFK. I will have 2.5 hours only for transit. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

WindsurfingGuy, Looking forward to seeing you next week.
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WindsurfingGuy
6 Posts
23
May
2012
"WindsurfingGuy, Looking forward to seeing you next week."
Kani, I crossed my fingers!


Someone from FLL told me the fastest way to get to terminal #4 from terminal #1, here is the quote:
"Depending on the amount of bags and your physical ability, I would say 10+ minutes.

The fastest way is to go thru the garage, but I don't normally recommend this to those that haven't been here before.

There are limited sidewalks and you may have to dodge cars...please see attached for the path. You can also catch a garage tram, which come by every 8 minutes. "
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HowiePA
394 Posts
23
May
2012
going thru the garage would be the quickest, but if carrying more than 1 bag, will be tough. And it was terminal 2 to 4. 4 is Delta in Fll and 2 is intl arrivals. its a straight run thru the garage if you can handle it. Otherwise the terminal to terminal bus runs fairly frequently

Still working on the $$$ issue with club med. It was their charter that caused us to miss the connection, regardless of how the next flight was booked.
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AmateurGO
560 Posts
24
May
2012
If you were going to/from Delta in terminal 2 to Spirit (or international arrivals) in terminal 4, the quickest way is through the parking garage. We had never used this before but had no problem finding our way a couple of weeks ago. If you are going to/from terminal 1 it may be a different matter. I'd guess that going from 1 to 4 it would be quicker to walk through the garage, but when going back from 4 to 1 it may be faster to take the shuttle.

Amateur GO ( Professional GM )
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WindsurfingGuy
6 Posts
16
Jun
2012
Update:
After renovation FLL closed Special ClubMed Check-in section. You go on the second floor, the last two check-in windows (farthest from security entrance) are usually for ClubMed. There, on the second floor you will see ClubMed people directing to the proper window.
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