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Flights to the Caribbean: New routes under the sun

Did you read Best Caribbean hotels with airport views by the award-winning aviation and travel expert journalist Melanie Reffes? Here Melanie is presenting information about new flights and routes to destinations in the Caribbean.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2020 held court from January 21-23 at the Baha Mar Convention Center in Nassau.  More than 1,000 movers and shakers from the airlines, resorts and tourist boards convened at the largest tourism trade event on the Caribbean calendar this year held in The Bahamas.

Organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in collaboration with Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, the conference welcomed American Airlines as a Gold Sponsor and Copa Airlines and InterCaribbean Airways as Silver Sponsors.

Better in the Bahamas

Flying to The Bahamas is easy breezy courtesy of new flights between the US and the capital city of Nassau.

new flights to the Caribbean, Bahamasair
Bahamasair is the national carrier of The Bahamas. Credit: Melanie Reffes.

New flights to the Caribbean by airline

JetBlue is adding a second daily flight from Boston to Nassau in the peak spring break travel months of March and April. United Airlines is introducing a new non-stop Saturday-only flight from Denver to Nassau in March and Southwest is also adding a seasonal Saturday-only route from Houston to Nassau in June.

Baha Mar is a 3-resort complex in Nassau Credit Ed Wetschler
Baha Mar is a 3-resort complex in Nassau. Credit: Ed Wetschler.

On Grand Bahama Island walloped by Hurricane Dorian in September, Canada’s Sunwing Airlines resumed nonstop Saturday flights from Montreal and Toronto through April.  The national carrier Bahamasair is back on track with scheduled flights between Freeport and Fort Lauderdale and Silver Airways is also flying between Freeport and Fort Lauderdale. 

As rebuilding of the airport continues, check-in has been relocated to the Fixed Based Operation Building (FBO) at the Grand Bahama International Airport.

Going Dutch in Curacao  

flights to Aruba on Aruba Airlines

Aruba Airlines, the flagship carrier of Aruba launched nonstop flights from Miami to the Dutch island of Curacao 4 times weekly on Mon., Wed., Fri. and Sat.  As a bonus for passengers, 2 checked bags are permitted without a cost.  Part of a wider expansion for the airlines, service to Medellin and Barranquilla, Colombia will start later this year. 

Aruba Airlines is the flagship carrier of Aruba Credit Twitter
Aruba Airlines is the flagship carrier of Aruba. Credit: Twitter.

French connection to Guadeloupe

JetBlue announced it’s first-ever nonstop flight from New York’s JFK Airport to Guadeloupe.  Expected to start in February, the seasonal service will operate 3 times weekly as the only flight from the northeast US to the French island.

Window seat to Saint Lucia  

Saint Lucia welcomed the inaugural nonstop American Airlines flight from Chicago with a water cannon salute St. Lucia Tourist Authority
Saint Lucia welcomed the inaugural nonstop American Airlines flight from Chicago with a water cannon salute. St. Lucia Tourist Authority.

American inaugurates new Caribbean flights from Chicago

Saint Lucia welcomed an inaugural nonstop American Airlines flight from Chicago with a water cannon salute and a tarmac serenade courtesy of a local steel pan band.

“We are pleased to welcome Chicago residents to Saint Lucia, where they can experience our renowned cultural experiences, bask in our perfect weather and enjoy a warm welcome from our local residents,”

said Hon. Dominic Fedee, minister tourism,

“American Airlines passengers can now fly direct to Saint Lucia from Chicago, Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the airline.”  

Jade Mountain in St. Lucia is the most popular luxury resort on the island Credit Jade Mountain Resort
Jade Mountain in St. Lucia is the most popular luxury resort on the island. Credit: Jade Mountain Resort.

The nonstop Saturday service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) departs at 8:20am Central Standard Time (CST) arriving to the Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) at 3:50pm Eastern Caribbean Time (ECT). On the return, AA1910 departs from UVF at 4:47pm ECT, arriving ORD at 9:20pm CST. 

No passport needed 

With no passports needed for US citizens, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands– both with status as a U.S. territory – are popular hot spots for a winter getaway. 

new flights to the Caribbean, San Juan Airport
Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is the largest airport in Puerto Rico. Credit: Discover Puerto Rico.

American Airlines launched a 2nd daily flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan.

“This route has the potential to expand our market in the central and western areas of the continental U.S. and solidifies our position as the Caribbean’s air hub,”

noted Carla Campos, executive director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company. 

Frontier Airlines also added a new route to the island. Beginning April 23, the low-cost carrier will add daily flights from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to San Juan. 

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, St Croix will see a boost in the summer with the launch of an additional daily American Airlines flight from Miami. The new flight on board a 172-seat Boeing 737 aircraft will be offered from June 4 to August 17.

Land in the lap of luxury 

Tradewind Aviation flies luxury charter flights from San Juan to Anguilla Credit Tradewind Aviation
Tradewind Aviation flies luxury charter flights from San Juan to Anguilla. Credit: Tradewind Aviation.

Anguilla and San Juan

For a small island with a small airport, Anguilla has a big personality. Across the channel from St. Martin, the British isle is easier to get to with the relaunch of Tradewind Aviation’s shuttle flights from San Juan to Anguilla’s Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport four times weekly thorough April 13.  Serviced by a fleet of Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12s with air conditioning and plenty of luggage space, the flights are popular with luxury travelers.

In Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt is a popular resort booked by Tradewind Aviation flyers Credit The Reef by CuisinArt
In Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt is a popular resort booked by Tradewind Aviation flyers. Credit: The Reef by CuisinArt.

San Juan

Upping the ante, there’s a private lounge at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan offering gratis sips, snacks and Wi-Fi for Tradewind passengers. For exclusive convenience, interline agreements with United Airlines, British Airways and American Airlines means travelers can book itineraries on a single ticket checking bags all the way through to Anguilla. 

Island hopping    

Caribbean Airlines announced new service between Kingston, Jamaica’s Norman Manley Airport and the Owen Roberts International Airport in the Cayman Islands. 

Caribbean Airlines. Credit Caribbean Airlines.
Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737. Credit: Caribbean Airlines.

The twice-weekly nonstop flight will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays until March 28.  Grand Cayman marks Caribbean Airlines’ 22nd destination with plans for additional flights from Jamaica to Barbados.

Delta Air Lines is adding a new route from New York to the Cayman Islands. The seasonal service will take off June 13 on Saturdays through Aug. 20 between John F. Kennedy International Airport and the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman.

“We thank Delta for continuing to serve the Cayman Islands, and look forward to bringing even more travelers from the tristate area to experience our sun, sand, sea and Cayman vibe, “ 

said Rosa Harris, director tourism, Cayman Islands.

Up, up and away to the Dominican Republic

Frontier Airlines will launch 3 new routes to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic from Miami and Newark. The Miami service will start on April 23; part of what will be Frontier’s new base in Miami, eventually home to 100 flight attendants and 30 pilots. The Newark flights begin on March 10. 

new flights to the Caribbean, Las Americas Unternational Airport, Dominican Republic
Las Américas International Airport (SDQ), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Credit: VINCI Airports.

“Frontier is among the fastest growing airlines in the U.S. and we are excited to introduce 25 new routes including expansion in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico , “

said Daniel Shurz, senior vice president of commercial, Frontier Airlines, 

“we recognize the demand for affordable air travel in these communities and are proud to bring our brand to these sought-after destinations.” 

About the Author

Melanie Reffes is an island girl at heart. Born in Manhattan, she now lives on the sunny island of Montreal and covers the Caribbean for a variety of publications including Montreal’s The Suburban; largest English-language weekly in Quebec, USA TODAY TRAVEL, USA TODAY 10BEST, Captain Jetson Aviation & Travel, CaribbeanTravel.com and MarryCaribbean.com. She is also the nominating judge for the seven categories in the BEST of the Caribbean annual readers poll in USA TODAY. A journalist with a boatload of writer awards under her belt, Melanie’s affection for the Caribbean started young when her family vacationed in Puerto Rico. Melanie holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto. You can find her via Twitter @Reffes1, Instagram melanietravel2019, Facebook melanie.reffes and LinkedIn melaniereffes.

Nelanie reffes, Captain Jetson contributing journalist
Melanie Reffes

Featured Image: JetBlue flies to many airports in the Caribbean. Credit: JetBlue

What do you think about the availability of great new flights to the Caribbean? Please submit your comments or questions here.

Suggested reading: Up, up and away: Plane spotting in St. Maarten.

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