On our beach trip to Jamaica, we flew in and out of Sangster International Airport. Read our Montego Bay Airport review to get a feel for what it was like.
This was the first time we’ve had a chance to visit Jamaica. MBJ (Montego Bay Jamaica) is a pretty small airport as you might expect for an island like Jamaica.
Landing in Montego Bay
We had beautiful, sunny weather as our Southwest flight from Orlando approached Jamaica. Our 737 came in directly over Montego Bay at 1:30 pm local time.
btw, Jamaica is on Eastern Time, same as Miami and NYC.
We were treated to spectacular views of the water and the coast line. We were also able to see the contrast between the coast and the steep hills which are just inland from the airport.
Immigration, Customs & Security
After deplaning, we walked through several minutes of yellow walled corridors to get to the customs and immigration area. Sorry, no photos or videos were allowed once we got this far.
From what I’ve learned, the line for immigration can really be hit or miss. If you arrive at the same time as several other flights, the line can be very long. On the other hand, if there are not any other flights right when you arrive, I expect you can get through very quickly.
Our wait was about 50 minutes once we wound through the yellow maze.
Club Mobay VIP Arrival Service
Club Mobay offers a VIP “Meet & Greet” arrival service that will allow you to skip the immigration lines. They charge $50 per adult and $25 per kid (2-12 years old) for a fast track, “hassle-free” arrival process.
If you are likely to arrive at a peak time like the middle of the day, I think it can really be worth it. How much is a stress free start to your Jamaican vacation worth to you? The idea of gambling the cost of their VIP service versus the stress involved with standing in line for an hour or so might be a good trade off as you start your island vacation.
Baggage claim was small and efficient.
However, we found the chaos once we claimed our bags and tried to get them through customs. Definitely not our worst experience but it was just crowded and unorganized. For example, it was not clear which baggage scanner lines were open and which lines were closed for us to go through.
On the positive side, there were free baggage carts at the Montego Bay airport if you had much baggage. Fortunately, Sandra and I were traveling light as we try to do on all of our travels.
Hotel Arrival Lounge
As we were staying at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, we didn’t have to deal with transportation. Hyatt and several other resorts in Jamaica have lounges in the airport where you can go to upon arrival.
The Hyatt lounge in the airport checked us into the resort and arranged round-trip transportation. They also scheduled our pre-departure Covid tests which required for reentry into the USA.
The Montego Bay Airport had the crazy transportation area that I’ve come to expect at many small destination airports. Lots of aggressive vendors trying to get your attention for whatever they were selling.
But we just followed our Hyatt transportation concierge to our shuttle bus past all of the vendors.
The departures terminal at the Montego Bay airport is really small. There was almost no line at the Southwest counter. We quickly passed through security, and the duty-free shop area.
And then we’re in the departures terminal.
There’s only a handful of gates so once you make it through security, you’re probably only a 2 to 3 minute walk from your gate even if you’re at the very far end of the terminal.
The Southwest gates were to the left which took us down toward a Starbucks and Jimmy Buffett‘s Margaritaville restaurant.
Restaurants and Food Court
The other end of the departures terminal contained more souvenir shops, the Club Mobay VIP lounge and the airport food court.
The food court has a good handful of international brands like Domino’s, Wendy’s and Quizno’s Subs. You’ll also find local flavors at places like Island Deli.
But the highlight of the airport restaurant options was definitely the Jamaican Bobsled Cafe.
You can even get a picture in one of the original Jamaican Bobsleds used by their Olympic team!
Montego Bay Airport Lounge
There’s a great little lounge on the east end of the departure terminal.
The Club Mobay VIP Lounge is a comfortable place to spend some time as you wait for your flight out of Montego Bay.
When I catch up with writing, you can read our full Club Mobay Lounge review here.
Bottom Line: Montego Bay Airport
If you’ve never been to Jamaica, I think you’ll enjoy the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. It’s a small airport which you can get through very quickly and has everything you need in order to start and end a great vacation in Jamaica.