Antigua, one of the British Leeward Islands, is known for the 365 white beaches that make up its coast. That alone makes Antigua a place to fly to any day of the year. Airlines offer direct and nonstop flights to its one major airport.
V.C. Bird International Airport, on the northern coast of Anguilla near St. Johns, is the primary hub for international and Caribbean entry into Antigua or Barbuda. Due to the steady increase in tourism to Antigua and Barbuda, the Ministry of Tourism decided to expand the size of V.C. Bird International Airport. Near the end of 2011, ground was broken just north of St. Johns to begin the construction of a new terminal. The terminal will be 165,000 feet long, and include three jet bridges, 20 immigration desks, and 26 check-in counters. The expansion is expected to be complete by September of 2014.
Flying into V.C. Bird International Airport from locations in the United States, Canada, and Europe is easy, with both non-stop and connecting flights servicing the island.
As you can imagine, most flights going into Antigua from the United States will be from cities on the east coast. Luckily, these big cities like New York, Atlanta, and Miami are major hub in the US, and it is very likely that your local airport has frequent (if not daily) flights to at least one of them.
If you live in the states the following table may be helpful. Not all of the flight combinations you will see listed on line are logical choices so it can be handy to see at a glance which airlines offer direct flights to this airport.
|Miami, FL, USA||MIA||American Airlines, United Airlines|
Antigua provides Canadian residents plenty of options to fly into the island. Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary all have direct flights to V.C. Bird International Airport.
The following chart indicates airline companies that schedule direct flights out of Canadian cities.
|Calgary, Canada||YYC||Air Canada|
|Montreal, Canada||YUL||Air Canada|
Generally, those flying to or from Europe will need to make at least one connecting flight on their journey. Some may choose to fly to London or Frankfurt, both of which have direct flights to Antigua. However, many will simply make a connecting flight in the United States or other Caribbean island.
If you will be flying from across the Atlantic this list is the one you need.
|London, United Kingdom||LGW||British Airways, Virgin Airlines|
Check the chart below for a listing of scheduled air service from other Caribbean airports. If you can't take a flight directly from your favorite airport, connecting through another regional airport might be a viable solution.
|Barbados||BGI||LIAT, Thomas Cook Airlines|
|Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda||BBQ||Antigua Barbuda Montserrat Air|
|Basseterre, St. Kitts||SKB||British Airways, LIAT|
|Castries, Saint Lucia||SLU||Caribbean Airlines, LIAT|
|Gustavia, St. Barthelemy||SBH||St. Barth Commuter|
|Isla Verde, Puerto Rico||SJU||LIAT, Seaborne Airlines|
|Kingston, Jamaica||KTP||Caribbean Airlines|
|Montserrat||MNI||Antigua Barbuda Montserrat Air, Fly Montserrat|
|Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis||NEV||LIAT|
|Pointe a Pitre, Grande-Terre||PTP||LIAT|
|Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands||PLS||British Airways|
|Punta Cana, Hispaniola||PUJ||British Airways|
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||Air St. Maarten, LIAT|
|St. Croix, US Virgin Islands||STX||LIAT|
|St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands||STT||LIAT|
|St. Vincent, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||SVD||LIAT|
|The Valley, Anguilla||AXA||Air St. Maarten, LIAT|
|Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago||TAB||British Airways|
|Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago||POS||LIAT|
|the BVI, British Virgin Islands||EIS||LIAT, Winair|
Research your options before booking your flight in order to get better deals. Round trip tickets usually represent significant savings for those travelers looking to fly two ways. Consider the times of the week and the duration of your stay as well. Often, weekend stays can also help a traveler save. Flying during the Caribbean off-season can also save passengers up to 50 percent on their airline tickets. Being flexible in your travel dates, booking far in advance, joining frequent flier mile clubs, or searching out last minute deals can also help you to reduce your fare while traveling. Consult internet vendors and individual airlines to find the best deals. Also, pay attention to taxes and fees. Antigua charges all travelers an airline tax of $93.75(USD), which is typically built into the cost of the ticket.
Taxis are available at the airport as well as throughout Antigua. Bus Service can be obtained from hotels. Many international rental car agencies are abundant; click here for details. Charter flights or boats can be arranged for travel to Barbuda other Caribbean islands.
There are also a number of charter planes in the area. Most are based in Sint Maarten, but the distance between that island and Antigua is negligible.
If you are considering an air charter, you can call one of these regional agencies:
|(268) 481-2401||V.C. Bird International Airport - 3.5 mi. (5.7 km) East-Northeast of St. John's||Antigua|
|(721) 544-5240||Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay||the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten|
|(284) 495-1747||V.C. Bird International Airport - 3.5 mi. (5.7 km) East-Northeast of St. John's||Antigua|
|(284) 495-1747||Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay||the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten|
|(664) 491-3434||John A. Osbourne Airport - Montserrat||Montserrat|
|(721) 547-0725||Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay||the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten|
|(721) 545-2570||Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay||the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten|
|(590) 590 27 54 54||Gustaf III Airport - St. Barthelemy||St. Barthelemy|
Passengers and baggage are subject to increased inspections and now go through more checkpoints before finally reaching the aircraft. While airport security officials have streamlined these procedures, passengers should expect to allow themselves more time to reach their flight. Passengers can take steps to make the airport screening and boarding process quick and painless:
Confirm flight schedules and ticket assignments with your airline in advance. Passengers flying chartered inter-island jets in the Caribbean should always confirm flights and research restrictions on bag numbers and weights.
Carry your boarding pass and passport in a safe, easy to reach location. Airport security officials with ask to see both at various terminal checkpoints.
Passengers with E-tickets may use electronic kiosks to quickly print tickets. People without tickets will not be allowed through security checkpoints.
Avoid wearing heavy or bulky metal objects such as belt buckles, jewelry or steel-toed boots that could set off metal detectors. Keep in mind that jackets and shoes must often be removed and put through metal detectors as well. Place change, jewelry and other valuable items in your carry-on baggage.
Avoid bringing prohibited items such as lighters, matches or razors with you. Restrictions on carryon luggage have increased in recent years.
Passengers are limited to one carryon bag and one "personal item." Personal items range from purses and briefcases to laptop cases that must contain a laptop.
Be prepared to remove video camcorders and laptops from their cases for security officials to inspect.
Doctor's notes for metal surgical implants will help avoid long meetings with airport officials.
Many airlines allow passengers to bring food and beverages aboard; however they must be purchased at the airline after passengers have gone through the security check.
Presents should be carried unwrapped, as they may be inspected and unwrapped by airport security officials.
Despite the increase in security concerns most travelers find flying to Antigua to be the quickest, most convenient way to reach their sunny destination.
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