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VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

I've been researching air transportation from SJU to Vieques, and it seems Cape Air is the most lenient in that they only charge a $10 pet fee per flight.

On the flipside, VAL flights seem to be cheaper.

Further, how much does it cost to take a cab (two adults) to the other airport and fly out there? Wondering if in the end it is cost effective, or if it will all be a wash in the end.

Are there any recommendations from one airliner to the next?

Can anyone comment on their experience in traveling with a small pet on these commuter flights?

Any other info you may have would be helpful.

Thanks

NYC
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for Isla de Vieques
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1. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

its about $20 to $25 depending on how many bags etc. to and from one airport to the other.

Isla de Vieques...
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2. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

Never a question for me. I always fly Cape Air from San Juan International. Yes, it is a bit more to fly from International. The one and only time I flew VALwas from Ceiba I ended up getting to Vieques 3 hours later than I would have had I taken my usual Cape Air flight from International. Get the luggage, get the taxi, drive to Ceiba, wait around there until the plane leaves. Yes, short flight. Yes, cheaper flight. But, add $80 plus tip for the taxi. Divided between two people, not much less. Divided between 4 people less, but still not cheap. I have decided that my time is more valuable and have gotten over taxiing to other airports. I love walking off the plane in SJU and walking downstairs to Cape Air. I never have to touch my check through luggage until arrival in Vieques. I usually do not have to wait any longer than an hour for the flight - just long enough to check-in, change into flipflops and shorts and start to relax.

I have friends who always used to taxi to Isla Grande, but now they have started to use Cape Air from International.

My only pet experience is with Cape Air - but my dog weighs 55 pounds. She took the window seat and I had the aisle. It was good for both of us.

I do occasionally take the ferry - but only when I am going to the main island for some reason other than to catch a plane.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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597 posts
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3. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

Cape Air it is...thank you!

Washington, DC
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4. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

We fly VAL all the time and found them to be 98% reliable. We always fly in/out of SIG to save lots of $$.

Virginia
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5. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

Kim_coco,

Just to clarify, there are 3 airports (San Juan International, Isla Grande in old San Juan and Ceiba). We usually fly from Isla Grande on VAL you'll spend $20 in taxis each way but save 40% in airfare. The benefits from flying from SJU is that they have more flight times available so sometimes it's not worth the money to have to leave earlier. We fly from Ceiba when there are more than 6 people (unless we charter which we've done more recently) - other than the time, it is so much less even with transportation to and from...I think you made a fine decision with Cape Air based on the fact it's only 2 of you and cost doesn't seem to be a huge factor.

Enjoy Vieques!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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597 posts
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6. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

My biggest concern is not having to put my dog in cargo. Technically one of the airlines said any dog over 5 lbs or so has to go in cargo, or something to that affect. So given that a 55 lb dog, unless that was a typo, was allowed a seat is comforting to me. We aren't even 100% yet whether we're bringing him along.

Thanks for the additional details.

Now more questions...

Once I arrive in San Juan, how much time should I arrange between flights? In other words, if we do decide to go an alternate route through another airport, how much time should I give myself from the time my plane is scheduled to land, retreive our luggage, hail a taxi and drive to an alternate airport?

Anyone else have pet experiences with other regional flights?

Virginia
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7. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

I don't think VAL will put your pet in cargo - I once flew over and a woman had her 20-30 lb dog sit next to her on the seat. No carrier - nothing. Not sure if that is the norm but it is how the dog traveled that day. I'm not sure I've been on other flights with dogs.

Time

SJU an hour or less since you have to exit security to retreive your luggage and then re-enter

Isla Grande about 2 hrs to get luggage and taxi over with time to spare. I'd say 1.5 hrs but if you run late that's a very tight window. Taxi time 20 minutes $20 or so

Ceiba about 3 hrs to get your luggage, get to your driver/taxi and drive to Ceiba. Drive to Ceiba 1.5 hrs cost about $90 each way.

You can save some of that time by not checking bags, if that's an option.

Taxis are regulated in PR so you'll get in the taxi line and they'll give you the price right there which is nice. If you travel to Ceiba schedule a driver in advance there is no guarantee drivers in SJ know the Ceiba area. We had to do it once b/c our hired van's tires were all flat but we had to show him the way once we got there, fortunately we'd been many times and knew the way!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

Awesome. I'll check into the other airlines.

Is VAL the most recommended of the regional flights besides Cape Air? Wondering if there are any others worth looking into?

Thanks for all the valuable information.

We are really looking forward to this trip. Vieques sounds like heaven to us. We've been searching for another island destination that hasn't become too touristy. I'd never heard of this place before until someone on another forum mentioned it. I mean, how many people say the just got back from a vacation in Vieques? (Obviously nobody I know) LOL.

Virginia
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9. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

I'd say VAL is your best bet. We've flown M&N years ago not sure if they still fly, Flamenco and Sunshine seem to be more unreliable (based on TA - not personal experience).

Vieques is beautiful and sounds like an island you'll enjoy! Good luck in your planning - there's a great forum here so hopefully you'll get most of your questions answered before you leave.

Isla de Vieques...
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10. Re: VAL vs. Cape Air. vs. ???

I would highly recommend VAL out of SIG (Isla Grande). Best prices, plus they now have their own car rental company in Vieques, Island Car Rental. You can link to it right from the VAL website. Brand new Jeeps. They were offering a fly-drive rate when you book your flights with them.

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