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Airport Information

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Arrivals

Yippie!

You're on vacation in Aruba!  When arriving in Aruba, the amount of time it will take you to get through customs and starting your Caribbean vacation is determined by 3 things:

1- How many planes that have landed around the same time as you

2- How far back you are seated on the plane

3- If you plan to stop at the duty free store by baggage claim to buy alcohol, plan for additional time, as they get very busy. 

Or use their new feature at Aruba Duty Free, Reserve & Collect!  You can reserve it ahead of time and then skip the long lines and  collect it in a separate line when you arrive in Aruba! 

Be sure to use the code Arubavacay

Aruba Duty Free

Pro Tip:

If you like to drink on vacation, be sure to stop at the Duty Free shop by the baggage claim where you can purchase 1L per person tax free.  You can purchase more, you will just get taxed on it.  It will still likely be cheaper than buying in a grocery store.  You must show a boarding pass.

If you are the only plane arriving, it’s usually smooth sailing and should only take about 10-30 mins to get through customs and then wait for your bags if you checked any.  There is an automated system for checking passports and also manual stations with people to stamp or check your passport.  The airport is very small, baggage claim is right around the corner from here.​

If you have bought alcohol, they may stop you and check to make sure you have only bought 1L per person, if you bought more, then you will need to pay the tax in Cash.  USD is fine.


Once you clear customs and get your checked bag if you have one at baggage claim, then you walk out past some other customs agents and then you walk outside! 

 

There is a chance that your luggage could be scanned as you exit the airport, but I haven't seen that happen as of yet.

 

Taxis will be to your left as you exit the airport.  US cash or Aruba Florins are fine!  No credit cards.

Don't attempt to take the Arubus from the airport.  You would have to cross a CRAZY busy highway and walk about a quarter mile and there is no luggage allowed on the bus!

 

If you are renting a car, the car rental places are either across the street or you will be looking for a person in a bright colored shirt holding a sign for the company you are using.  They are very easy to find, and everyone knows everyone, so just ask if you can't find them!

Please pack your patience, if the airport is busy, things can take longer.  But remember, you're on One Happy Island, so take a deep breath and relax man!

Departures

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Today is a sad, sad day.  You have to leave Aruba and go back to your normal life.  But, it’s One Happy Island, so you KNOW you will be back again!!

And remember, pack that patience!

Pro Tip:

Arrive at the airport AT LEAST 3 HOURS EARLY early for your flight. Trust me.  Weekends are the busiest.  If it goes faster, then you have time to have a drink or grab a bite to eat or do some last minute shopping!

Ok, let’s get into what's going to happen at the airport as you leave Aruba. It’s a little different because you go through Customs/Security TWICE. The first is Aruba, the second is USA

Let me explain.  When you arrive at the airport, if you ARE checking a bag, you are going to go inside your airline terminal.  It's a small airport, you wont get lost!  You will stand in line and then check your bag.  Spoiler alert, you will be picking up this bag again after you get through Aruba customs and then go through American Customs and put it on a conveyor belt for your airline.  Once you check your bag, head out the side exit to the outside line!

 

If you are NOT checking a bag, just head straight to the outside line!

Pro Tip:

If you have plain, black suitcase that you are checking, I would highly recommend putting a bright colored stickers on it or a ribbon on the handles; something that stands out so you can easily find it in a room full of suitcases!

Once in the outside line, you will get your boarding pass and passport checked. There are sun shades and misters to keep you cool here. The longest we have waited in this line was 20 mins. It goes fast!! If the line gets too long, someone usually comes and pulls a bunch of people to the other side to keep it moving.

 

There are also bathrooms right here as well!

 

Once inside, you will either scan your passport at a kiosk or a human will check it. The scanning machines don't always work the best, so be patient here.

Once through customs, then you will go through Security.  Keep in mind, there is NO TSA-PRECHECK here.  So, you will need to take off your shoes and take out all your electronics: laptop, kindle, iPads, etc.

 

This line can take a bit longer, but it’s never horrible. Once you get through that….then you get to do it all over again for the USA side! Yippie!

 

First you will go into that big room I told you about to grab that bag you checked, and you will take it and go through US Customs or Global Entry.

If you have Global Entry, find the kiosks at the far end of the room before entering into the US customs lines and have your face scanned.  Then tell the agent you have Global Entry and they will send you to the far right to a (usually) very short line.

If you have downloaded the MPC app (more info below), this is also where you will find an agent and tell them you are pre-cleared.  They will send you the route of Global entry line, although Global entry has priority over MPC.

Pro Tip:

When arranging your flight, remember to request a wheelchair if needed for yourself or a member of your party.  Upon arrival, an airport employee will be waiting just outside the plane door with a wheelchair.  For departure, seek out an airport employee upon arrival or approach the check-in desk for assistance.

 

Once through these lines, then you will take your checked bag and throw it on a conveyor belt for your airline and then you will go through security, again, NO PRECHECK, so you will take off those shoes again and take out your electronics, so leave electronics easily accessible. Once you make it through that, you go upstairs and cry, I mean chill, at One Happy Bar for a last drink with the nicest staff ever!

With Global Entry and checking a bag, we usually make it through everything in about 35 mins-1 hr!

When you arrive back in the US, it will be just like a domestic flight as you have already cleared customs!

Airport: VIP Service

I'm going to throw in my 2 cents on this one. This is NOT a cheap thing to do.  I believe it’s $190 per adult to do this for DEPARTING Aruba and $145 ARRIVING to Aruba.

*Pricing subject to change

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What is VIP Service?
It's essentially skipping the line

When ARRIVING to Aruba, the VIP service, in my opinion, is ABSOLUTELY not needed. It’s never taken us
longer than 25 mins to get out of the airport upon arriving, last time I was through in 5 mins!

DEPARTING.....MIGHT be worth it, especially if you have kids and a lot of stuff.  Kids pay less than the adult fee. 

 

You get to "skip the line" and basically fast track through everything and then relax in their VIP lounge afterwards. 

 

We usually make it through in 35 mins-1 hour with global entry and checking a bag.  We fly United though, so feel that it's less busy than Jet Blue Desks.

You can plan ahead and pre-arrange this service HERE, or you can wait and decide when you get to the airport! 

 

There will be people dressed in suits all over the place holding signs saying VIP, you can just choose to do it then if the lines are too much!

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What is Mobile Passport Control(MPC)?

Mobile Passport Control (MPC) offers eligible travelers a convenient way to expedite their entry process into the United States.

By utilizing a free and secure app on their smartphones or mobile devices, travelers can easily submit their travel document, photo, and customs declaration information. The streamlined process significantly reduces passport control inspection time and overall wait times for travelers.

One of the key benefits of using MPC is that it does not require pre-approval (like Global Entry), making it accessible to all eligible travelers.

 

Once travelers successfully utilize the MPC app, they will no longer need to fill out a paper form or use an APC kiosk, leading to shorter wait times, reduced congestion, and more efficient processing.

 

In essence, Mobile Passport Control revolutionizes the entry experience, allowing travelers to breeze through the necessary procedures and enjoy a smoother journey into the United States.

How Do I Use It?

Download the MPC app from the app store ahead of time while you're connected to wifi.

Up to 12 profiles can be added for family members (you can do this ahead of time); a single household can be on ONE submission,

including answers to the declaration questions you need to answer.

When you first download, you will create your profile & add your general info, passport/citizenship info.

When at the Aruba airport or just before leaving for the Aruba airport from your accommodations while still on wifi, jump on the app to get ready for departure. 

 

Pick PRE-CLEARANCE and AUA as the airport.

Answer the 6 questions.  Once cleared, you will get a QR code.  Please note, this code only lasts 4 hours, which is why you need to wait to fill out right before leaving for the airport or once you have arrived.  

Once you go into the big room for US customs, where your checked luggage is, you will find a customs agent  and tell them you have pre-clearance code for MPC and they will direct you to a different line!  If Global entry line, Global Entry persons have priority.

By using this, you will likely save a TON of time!

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