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jkehnle
05-10-2012, 07:56 AM
It's time to start fixin' to get ready to start thinking about our 2013 trip to Paradise. We've decided that Delta is the way to go. After years of flying through Houston or San Juan, this will be a new experience. However, I'm not comfortable with the incredibly tight layover time when flying out of Cleveland. Has anyone flown to Atlanta and stayed overnight? Do you stay right at the airport? Need some expertise, here...

gbf
05-10-2012, 08:15 AM
We do it every trip.

Fly to ATL on Friday PM, stay at one of the airport hotels with a shuttle. We use Hilton properties because I get freebies there. There are a couple of Hamptons and a Hilton Garden Inn close by. Also Marriott and Sheraton if you use those. If you book with one of them, take note which one. There are multiple shuttles that only serve a particular hotel so make sure you get on the right one. I think there is a "hampton east" and a "hampton north" (or something like that) and the east bus doesn't go to the north hotel.

We have friends in ATL that will usually pick us up for dinner and a pub-crawl in 5-Points. You can also take Marta from the airport to downtown, or all the way up to the Perimeter (mucho shopping/dining), if you want. It's cheap, clean, easy, safe.

Get up in the AM, have a leisurely breakfast and shuttle to the airport for the flight.

It's the "refined" way to get to Bon...

DeputyDan
05-10-2012, 08:21 AM
We do the Hilton points thingy as well.
Overall, Hilton properties are very receptive to accepting points.

jkehnle
05-10-2012, 08:47 AM
Thanks -- very​ helpful!

BonnieC
05-10-2012, 09:00 AM
Staying overnight is absolutely the best way.
You will need to claim your luggage and then re-check it in the morning.
I finally settled on the Best Western Atlanta Airport East. I choose it because they have a big free breakfast that starts early and an IHOP next door where we can get whatever light meal we feel like when we get to Atlanta on the way home - it's often too late for a big meal, but we're a little hungry. You can tell that food is my first priority! But their rooms are standard and clean. Nothing fancy, but all we need for a quick overnight.
They also have computer and printers just off the lobby where we print our boarding passes.
We've just accumulated enough points for a free stay, so I can't say yet how easy their point system is.

wwguy
05-10-2012, 09:37 AM
We live in the NW US and stay overnight in ATL going to/from Bonaire every year. Like some of the above posts we also stay at Hilton properties on reward points accumulated through other travel during the year. Hampton Inn's are great Hilton properties because they're the least expensive and offer free breakfast starting at 6:00 AM. My personal preference is to stay at Hilton Garden Inn because they have a restaurant on-site which is handy at dinner time too. Our current favorite is the HGI north of the airport.

All of the airport shuttle load/unload in the same general location at ATL. You just need to know what hotel you're staying at and then match it to the shuttle parking space indicated on the signs. There are airport personnel in the area available to assist if you have questions.

Most hotel shuttles service several hotels on their routes and run on a 20 or 30 minute cyclic schedule. Getting from the airport to your hotel can be an exercise in patience, especially if you have to wait 20 minutes for the next shuttle to arrive and then make several stops at other hotels on the way to yours. Getting from the hotel back to the airport should be an exercise in strategy. Ask the hotel desk about the shuttle schedule in the morning and then plan your timing based on the previous evening's experience. I prefer to get to the airport early, check my bags, clear security, locate my terminal, and then start thinking about breakfast.

... which reminds me... the 2nd best breakfast in the world is any airport food eaten while waiting to board your flight to Bonaire. (The best breakfast is enjoyed the following morning.)

Joyfull
05-10-2012, 10:48 AM
We stayed overnight and it was a great decision as the flight from NY was delayed on Sat. & many people missed the Bonaire flight. We discovered a luggage storage store right near the Delta luggage area. Cost about $25 but we did not have to lug our luggage to the hotel. They open early Sat. and was easy & quick to pick it back up. Joyce

george and judy
05-10-2012, 11:29 AM
We live 2 hours from Atlanta and always stay overnight before the Delta flight. We have stayed at the Marriott, Hampton Inn, La Quinta, and Best Western Airport. All have breakfast early and shuttles. Frankly, we look for the best price for seniors or use points.

ModCecil
05-10-2012, 11:31 AM
Good info about the bag storage, who knew. Here's a web site.

http://www.realpages.com/sites/wrapabag/page2.html

mbs
05-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Interesting regarding what to do with luggage if you overnight... The last few years we checked our bags thru to bonaire and did not have to collect and recheck. We are flying nyc to atlanta 1 week to tomorrow (yea!) and I'm about due to call delta and find out if it still works that way. WARNING even if they say it works that way, when you get to the airport they don't always know about this!! I've had to have the folks in ny keep checking until they found someone in the know.

jkehnle
05-10-2012, 01:40 PM
Again, thanks to al of you. I appreciate your input, and it just confirms our decision to use Delta. We used the airline for the first time on a 4-day trip to Atlanta in April. Everything about the round trip flight from Cleveland was very good. Time to do some serious planning...

Judy W
05-10-2012, 03:19 PM
Hi Jeff, A minor word of warning. Delta has been cancelling some flights that aren't profitable without notice. We have always flown the 6 am into Atlanta from Columbus. We're there in plenty of time for the Bonaire flight. This year, they cancelled it in January (after we booked). There is a 7:10 flight thye re-directed us to. Because there is at least a 45 minute connection, they wouldn't re-book it to a Friday evening flight without a $150.00/person fee. It's a 55! minute connection!!!!:mad: If I had known this, I would have booked in overnight on Friday. As it is, friends on the same flight Saturday have been told to block the door open until we get there ;). Not happy with this very close connection. I would fly in Friday night, to minimize the hassels and worry, if I were you. (and we will next year for sure). Hope this helps!

mbs
05-10-2012, 04:13 PM
I just don't get why they don't do a better job with the saturday morning connections to this flight!!!

Kimfair
05-10-2012, 04:41 PM
We also have taken to staying in Atlanta the night before to save stress on the tight connections. the first time we went to Bonaire, we didn't and had an Amazing race moment running through the airport to just barely make our connection. Second trip to Bonaire, we stayed in Atlanta overnight (one of the local hotels w/shuttle service), and it was a breeze. We're doing the same this year as well.

Joyfull
05-10-2012, 05:38 PM
When we made our reservations with Delta, we were told we could check our luggage direct to Bonaire. When we arrived at the Westchester County airport in NY, they said we could not do this. "security does not allow passengers to leave their luggege when they leave the airport". We were very upset until a helpful skycap told us about the storage facility. Delta workers never mentioned it to us. Joyce

gbf
05-10-2012, 06:07 PM
Don't get too high on Delta. We think it is the best route to Bonaire, and it has always worked out for us.

But I would, under no circumstances except the direst of dire emergencies, depend on a close Saturday connection when Bonaire is on the other end. Just when you think they're great they'll do it to you.

I'm a Delta Million-Miler and I wouldn't trust them with that short connection. Maybe on a business trip, but not going to Bonaire.

Go Friday night. Start your vacation a day early. Have a couple of beers at the hotel.

Take the stress off.

I didn't know about the baggage storage deal. Good get...

edit: to -> too

kob
05-15-2012, 03:08 AM
Jeff & Judy -- we just booked our flights to BON thru ATL on Delta for October (CLE - ATL - BON). Delta has recently changed the schedules so that there is now about 1-1/4 hour connect in ATL. When it was 45 min, it was risky. Feel a lot better now about 75 min. You can now also get back BON - ATL - CLE on Delta on the same day. Delta thru ATL is our preferred route when it works.