Just a few thoughts about traveling off island and returning to the states. I make it a habit to call and confirm my flight either the day before or the morning of, just because you never know with all the rain we get if there is some kind of delay or schedule change. I try to get to the airport two hours before my flight’s departure time. At the Dominica airport there are a couple of lines you have to be processed through. You have to check in, then stand in line to pay departure tax (around 59 Ec per person). Next, and a newer procedure, is getting cleared by an immigration officer in an additional line. From there you go through security. Dominica does do the pat down at random-at security and at the boarding gate. There is now A/C, TVs, and free wi-fi in the departure/gate areas, which is nice. However, there are no vending machines/food at this time within the area. There is a little snackette a short walking distance from the airport. If you leave to get food you will have to go through immigration/security all over again. (Update Jan. 2012-there are now vending machines in the airport as well as a little diner to get food before you go through security). Keep in mind that they now announce over the loud speaker that they expect you to be seated in the departure area 45 minutes before your flight is scheduled to leave.
I pack light, always bringing two suitcases mostly empty. That way, I can fill my suitcases with goods I need to bring back to Dominica. Remember that once you hit San Juan, you have to get your bags and go through customs, then drop them off at the designated spot for connecting flights.
Getting to the airport can cost you anywhere from 40 EC to 150 EC depending on who you use. It is best to get a group together and split the fare. Alexis and A1 taxi do trips to the airport. There are also some independents who set up near the shacks before finals exams to begin signing people up. They tend to have the cheapest rates.
Hope you all have a great trip home for the holidays!