Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Navigating the airports - Part II - departure

This continues the previous post of how to navigate the airport coming into the country.

Now that you've enjoyed Haiti you'll have a greater appreciation of the landscape as you fly the domestic plane back to the capitol, and of the workers helping you at the airports. After MAF or whatever domestic airline you're on lands in P-au-P, the personnel will put all your stuff on a cart on the tarmac and you follow it or walk ahead and pick it up at the back entrance to the domestic airport. Inside, wait for your ride near the building exit by the MAF window (in photo). Don’t go outside! It will be hot in the sun and people will keep asking you if you need a ride. And you can’t get back in through that door, you'd have to go through the main security entrance. **Make sure you have the phone number for your ride in case he isn't there (or your host forgot to call him!).** Lots of people have cell phones and you can ask someone to call.

You'll meet your ride who will drive you the few blocks to the international airport and drop you off directly near the door of your airline (see photo). Be prepared! Tip your driver now before the confusion, and have a bunch of one dollar bills (American) easily accessible. A bunch of guys In matching shirts will be waiting to help you with your bags. I tried to refuse and a Haitian chastised me and said let them, it’s their job. So one wheeled my bag to the front door – I gave him $1 (it is nice when someone else lugs your bags around). At the front door is a security point – put your bags on the conveyor belt and show your passport. Another guy in a red shirt will thrust a tote bin at you to put your small items in and he will set it on the conveyor belt (even though you could have easily done this yourself). He'll ask for $5 or $10 but I give $1 and then wish I had given the bag lugger more. You don’t have to take shoes off or anything out of your bags here. This is the last place people help you for money.

This is the American Airlines terminal: Next you stand in line in the roped off area to get your tickets at the counter (difficult to tell where the opening is to the line). You’ll get all your tickets and drop off your checked luggage. Then go to the customs booth back where those ropes start. Give them that green card you saved from entry. Then you go through security again – this time like in the US – shoes off, computer out, liquids out. (Though I have forgotten to take out liquids and no one said anything). Then you are in the area with little gift shops. Very expensive compared to the gift shops in guests houses and elsewhere - $40 for a small painting! You can buy these for less than $20 elsewhere, probably less than $10 on the street. You can buy CDs and books though, coffee, rum, vanilla, etc. Then you go up the elevator and through yet another security check point just like the previous (and again they didn’t say anything about the liquids in my bag).

You are now in the waiting area. More in the next post...

Below - pictures of the drive between airports and why you need to be driven!

(And if you need to leave via the north port Cap Haitien - here's my story)

No comments:

Post a Comment