STB steps in to clarify, save Spirit Airlines relief flight

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - !! IMPORTANT details below !!

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) on Thursday stepped-in to correct information and salvage a Spirit Airlines relief flight for Friday morning that was announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday. To assist residents of the island of St. Maarten returning home following hurricane Irma, Spirit Airlines is operating this relief flight.

The public should take note of the following:

The number to call to make the reservation is 1-888-778-2436.

The Spirit Airlines flight will depart Fort Lauderdale on Friday, September 22 at 9:00am and will arrive in Sint Maarten at 12noon. Travelers need to report at the airport for 6:00am. Check-in will begin at 7 a.m. at the Spirit ticket counters inside terminal 4.

If you do not have a reservation confirmation number for the flight, please do not come to the airport.

Per the government of St. Maarten, only DUTCH citizens who live in St. Maarten or have a St. Maarten residency card will be allowed to board the flight. No exceptions can be made.

To ensure we provide the maximum ability for people to take luggage, we are limiting luggage to one checked bag and one carry on per person.

There is limited availability on this flight. To book yourself as a passenger, please call 1-888-778-2436. If you do not have a reservation confirmation number for the flight, please do not come to the airport.

Mike Granger, Executive Assistant of Minister of Tourism Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, explained that several people in the community and the media contacted the Minister about not being able to get on the flight, after travelling to Fort Lauderdale to get the flight.

Although this flight was not a TEATT initiative as the other flights, Head of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Rolando Brison was instructed to contact Spirit Airlines to determine what the issue was with bookings in order to spare residents abroad additional stress over not being at home. Brison spoke directly with Spirit Airlines regional management and cleared up some issues with the initial announcement of Wednesday by the PM.

The solution found was Spirit making 90 seats available on the flight for Friday. "Spirit is also willing to discuss additional flights with us after executing this one," Brison said. The Minister of Tourism, Mellissa Arrindell Doncher has cleared the flight for Friday.

On the return flight to Fort Lauderdale the public should please take note:

SXM-FLL: To assist people trying to leave St. Maarten to return home, Spirit Airlines flight number NK 8081 will depart from St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) at 2:00p.m. and arrive at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) at 6:00p.m. Passengers should arrive at the airport by 12:00p.m. for check-in.

Only people who have the legal right to travel to the U.S. will be allowed to board the flight. Criteria for travel to the U.S. includes possession of:

o   Valid travel documents permitting travel to the U.S.

o   Sufficient funds for stay in the U.S.

o   A ticket to depart the U.S.

Anyone not meeting these requirements will not be able to travel. If a passenger arrives in the U.S. and is not admitted, they will need to purchase travel for a same-day departure to their home country. In the case of Dutch citizens residing in St. Maarten, that means a same-day departure to Holland or Aruba, since there are no scheduled flights to St. Maarten.

To ensure we provide the maximum ability for people to take luggage, Spirit is limiting luggage to one checked bag and one carry on per person.

There is limited availability on this flight. To book yourself as a passenger, please call 1-888-778-2436. If you do not have a reservation confirmation number for the flight, please do not come to the airport.

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