On April 5th, the day after my birthday I took my first flight in a long time with our national airline Winair. I am actually ashamed to admit that the last time I flew with these guys was almost 7 years ago. I guess I did not have much interest in discovering the Caribbean back then. How things change.
Here is another confession: I love to travel. Yes, I know, nothing new there. But did you know I actually do not enjoy flying itself very much? I don’t. I’d rather be able to close my eyes once strapped in my seat, go to sleep and open my eyes only when we are safely back on the ground and in a new destination. Beam me up, Scotty.
Winair flies mostly to nearby Caribbean islands like Saba. St. Barth, Tortola, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the planes needed for these short distances are not exactly large. Matchboxes with wings is most like it. So, you can imagine my stress level when I remembered that one of these was actually going to take me on my 20 minute flight to Nevis.
I decided to focus on other things around me. Anything to keep my mind off the scary flight ahead. Funny thing is, I personally know a few of the pilots flying for Winair and trust them blindly. This did not however deter my heart from skipping a few beats once we got ready for take off.
My palms were sweaty and I panicked for a moment when I realized I was not wearing matching underwear. It would be quite embarrassing if my body was recovered at the scene of a crash in mismatched undies. Imagine the horror. My mother would be so ashamed.
I felt the plane’s engines rev up, getting ready for take off. I closed my eyes and prayed. I made all kinds of promises to the Lord above, promises I couldn’t possibly keep. Once in the air I could not resist to look down and the scene that greeted me below left me breathless and not in a hyperventilating kind of way.
Here is the beauty of flying in smaller planes. They do not fly on very high altitudes and this makes for perfect views of the world below. I picked a spectacularly beautiful day to fly. It was sunny, with little wind. The Winair flight glided through the Caribbean sky. As we left St. Maarten behind I saw Cruise Ships and pleasure crafts below, smaller neighboring islands in the distance and the ocean was a stunning blue. My flight was perfection.
I realized that my fright of anything going array in this little matchbox was completely unnecessary and unfounded. The Crew of two flying the plane was fully capable and I actually loved the intimate setting of the small aircraft. It felt like we were part of a small elite group of passengers, even though none of us spoke a word to one another. I guess we were all too busy taking pictures of the beauty unfolding below.
In all honesty though, flying with Winair was great from check in to landing. Fast and friendly service with a smile at the check in counter, professionalism at the gate, timely take off and obvious experienced and professional pilots. Winair‘s planes might be small but larger airlines could learn a thing or two here.
By the time my Nevis trip came to an end I was ready, and I admit even a bit excited for my flight back. No sweaty palms this time. I was ready for another great experience and made sure I sat all the way in the front, just a few feet shy from the pilot’s lap actually. Too bad it was a night flight and I did not get to admire the same beautiful scenes as on my flight to Nevis. Here’s a little advice, make sure you sit in one of the seats right behind the pilots for great landing shots and don’t be a donut, remember to take off your flash before photographing anything from inside the plane.
To the Crew and personnel of Winair: Great Job guys. Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the pleasure of flying with with you again.
Have you flown with Winair before? If so, what was your experience like?
*All above opinions are my own and based on my Nevis flight with Winair. I have not received any compensation for writing a favorable post on this airline.
When I flew to St. Maarten with Winair it was delayed by about 1.5 hours and there was no communication from the airport in Nevis. There had seemed to be a problem the easter weekend because my family who flew in were delayed by hours (one even by a day). Nevertheless, the flight was fairly smooth. My cousin who had never been on such a small plane didn’t particularly like it and another passenger committed for most of the ride.
On my way back it was quite smooth and we only left abut 20 minutes late as opposed to 1.5 hours.
I guess it’s like any other airline then. Sometimes all goes well and other times there are delays.
You are my spirit animal! Along with sharing the same birthdate (April 4), being natural brown girls and sharing a love of the Caribbean (sadly I live in Atlanta tho), I too don’t care for the flying process. On my first and only Winair flight, I flew from SXM to Tortola and was dreading the white-knuckled experience but my fears were eased by the beautiful views. I would actually love to do it again…
Dear spirit animal, look up your brown sister when you are back on St. Maarten. Would love to sit with you over a nice tropical cocktail.
I will be in AXA April 28 to May 8. I’ve only stopped thru SXM on my way to and from AXA but I would love to come over and meet for a drink. I’ve yet to experience SXM except for a mad dash to the airport.
End of the month it shall be then. You’ll be here in the height of our carnival.
I Love Winair..I did a few St Kitts and 1 Saba it was nerve wrecking in the beginning but very intresting once up in the air, at one point while going into St Kitts I felt like I could just reach out and touch the hills….keep up the good Work Winair ..Thank you Riselle for this beautiful blog
I’ve gotten worse with flying since getting older and having kids. I like the idea that they don’t fly as high – LOL. Something to try!