If you’ve been researching the Caribbean, you’ll have heard it before.
But if you want to visit some of the smaller islands like St Vincent, St Lucia & Dominca and travel between one or more island you won’t be able to avoid Liat. Believe me, I tried! These are the routes we ended up taking:
St Lucia – St Vincent
St Vincent – Dominica
Dominica – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Liat does not have a loyalty program nor does it partner with any other airline so your only option is to pay cash. This is fairly easy to do on their website. Try to book a few months in advance so you can get the “web promo” deal which is good value, otherwise flights can be expensive for the short hops. Also check out their Facebook page for the occasional promo code.
A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LIAT
- Online check-in is limited to a few islands and for carry-on bags only. You can’t choose your seats, they are assigned automatically. If you check bags, you have to check in at the airport and get your seats.
- Carry-on bags are extremely limited (7 kgs)– and they will actually weigh every bag even if it looks small. We were caught out here as our backpacks are fairly small but with camera gear weighed about 10 kgs each. We ended up carrying on what we could but we still had to check one bag with the least valuable items. Thankfully the bag didn’t get lost on any of the flights
- Boarding is generally via stairs on the tarmac through both front & rear doors. Therefore you don’t want a seat in the middle of the plane. Passport control lines are long and move slowly at most islands.
- The planes are small with a 2 x 2 configuration. I liked this as it meant we didn’t have to squish in with a stranger.
- This is a rare occasion. Our flight from St Lucia to St Vincent was on time! All the rest of our flights were 2-3 hours late. In Dominica, we missed the last bus to Portsmouth and would have had to get an expensive taxi but we ended up paying a local a lesser amount to take us along as he was headed that way. In San Juan, we arrived well after midnight but at least we had a rental car and they are open 24/7. Try to build in a buffer of an extra day if you have to be somewhere at a certain time (like a cruise or group tour).
- Flights are often cancelled due to storms and hurricanes. I would avoid visiting the Caribbean during the hurricane season. Or you could leave it to a couple weeks ahead if you must travel during July-November as hurricanes are usually predicted a couple weeks in advance.
- Check in lines can be very long and move slowly. Get there as early as possible. But bring your own entertainment as the waiting rooms/gates usually leave a lot to be desired!
If you are traveling directly from the USA, UK or Europe to your chosen island and returning directly, you probably won’t have to fly Liat. But if you want to island hop around, especially the smaller islands (where all the cool birds are) then you can’t avoid Liat. Hopefully these tips will help you make the best of it.