Airport - Trinidad
Piarco International Airport
Here are some tips to get you swiftly out of the airport and on to enjoying your visit to Trinidad.
- Fill out your paperwork before stepping off the plane. Your airline will provide you with the required documents before you land. Remember you're in the Caribbean so smile, you'll quickly realize that a smile here goes a long way and the Immigration Officers are no different. The well mannered and jovial traveller will get through the lines and onto baggage claim with little or no hassle. There are two types of lines at immigration for residents and for non residents.
- Upon leaving Immigration take a short stroll through Duty Free. If you are a drinker it would be advisable to purchase liquor as its considerably cheaper than on the local retail shelves. If visiting friends on the island it is customary to bring them duty free grog. In fact duty free alcohol. Duty Free ranks high in the budget of T&T nationals when returning home.
- After a bit of shopping turn left into the baggage claim and customs area. Piarco International Airport is usually quite proficient in baggage processing so you should move through the airport relatively quickly. There are conveyor belts where your luggage will arrive on the left on one of the carousels. Once you have collected your bags you will need to go through one of the customs lines to have your bags checked out so have your declaration form ready. On the odd chance your luggage does not arrive check with your airlines help desk situated in the departure check in area to the right as you exit customs.
- Taxi Service: From the moment you exit the baggage claim/customs area you are ging to come face to face with drivers offering to take you to any destination. They prove to be quite convenient as they will meet you and your luggage at departure and take you directly to your hotel. Their prices are negotiable so it is advisable to speak with a few drivers to settle on a favourable price. A typical taxi from the airport to Port of Spain costs between TT$100 - $150.
Advantage: Quick, easy and very convenient departures especially after a long flight. Flexible to make pit stops along the route at your request.
Disadvantage: Drivers may try to overcharge.
- Bus Service: There are four departures daily from Port of Spain to Piarco, two in the morning at 6:15 and 7 a.m. and two at evenings at 3:15 and 5:15 a.m. These buses take on average 45 minutes to get to the Airport and so depart Piarco at around 7 and 7:45 in the morning and 4 and 6 p.m. on evenings.
Advantage: Cost ONLY TT$4 a seat.
Disadvantage: Four departures per day.
- You cannot take the baggage cart beyond the customs exit so the very eager airport baggage handlers will offer to take your bags for a fee. I suggest only using them if necessary as they charge per bag.
Piarco International Airport has steadily grown in predominance as a a major air transportation facility in the Caribbean. This journey to the top began in 1913, when two American pilots, George Schmidt and Frank Boland amazed Trinidadians with daring aerial acrobatics at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
This love affair with aviation is one that many Trinidadians embraced and many locals joined the British Royal Flying Corps and distinguished themselves in service during the First World War.
It wasn’t until 1931, when local engineer Maurice Lange was given a development contract with the Piarco Savannah as the site, that Piarco was able to receive its first aircraft.
The airport has seen many changes since its inception in 1931. Presently with two terminals. The North Terminal with 29 gates and 14 mechanical bridges. The South Terminal, once the original site of the airport. It now serves as a 24 hour Cargo Facility housing helicopter operations and executive jets.
- It is recommended you arrive at checkin at least 2-3 hours before your flight scheduled departure as flights tend to be fully booked. If you can it is advisable to pre check your luggage online and pay any over weight charges in advance for the sake of expediency.
- Once you’re all checked in continue to the first of two check points where an Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago security agent will check your boarding pass and passport. From there you can peruse the Duty Free shopping area for that perfect souvenir to round off your trip. Make sure you do your shopping here as there are limited shopping and eating choices once your at the gates.
- A short escalator ride later to the departure gates and your at the last security check. You and your hand luggage will be scanned and put through the now so familiar international security measures.
- Once you clear security, you will have access to a few gift and souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, and a VIP room to pass the time before your flight.