We can check our bags directly through St. Martin to St. Barths on those two airlines. That avoids having to go through customs (which often can have a line) in St. Martin, picking up your bags, taking those to the Winair counter, checking in and going through security. If your bags are checked through to St. Barths, all you need to do is go through the transfer line and you’re at the Winair gate in just a few minutes.
We make our Winair reservations online at the Winair website. We try to leave an hour between our estimated arrival time and our Winair flight, even if we have checked our bags through to St. Barths. We have found that if we can get to the gate early, more often than not they will put us on an earlier flight. The planes from the U.S. arrive in St. Martin around 1‑2:00 p.m. and there are flights every 15 minutes or so to St. Barths from 2:00 p.m. until about 5:00 p.m.
We’ll take the first flight we can get on even if our luggage may come over later. We pack bathing suits and other essentials in our carryon so that if we go over early and our luggage still hasn’t arrived by the time we pick up our rented car and check in, we can walk St. Jean Beach at the end of the runway while we wait for our luggage. The luggage will just sit in the airport luggage pick up area until you pick it up. The airport is secure and crime is not a problem on St. Barths, so we are comfortable picking it up later. We also carry on our jewelry, cameras, laptops, and other valuables.
The flight from St. Martin to St. Barths takes about seven minutes. The two islands are clearly visible from each other. The St. Barths runway is famous for being just over a hilltop ridge and for sloping down and ending on St. Jean Beach. Depending on the wind, planes will usually land by flying in from the west, dropping down over the hilltop, landing quickly on the sloped runway and taxiing around and heading to the quaint terminal. The flight is exciting and offers great views of the island, especially Gustavia and Columbier. On occasion, the flight will land by coming in from the opposite direction over St. Jean Beach towards the hill. In more than 30 trips, we have never had that experience.
The rental car agencies are in the terminal. We rent from Hertz.
The villa rental agencies and hotels will meet their guests at the Airport and usually are waiting for them.