Air travel is one of the most popular ways to reach the island of Curaçao. After years of playing second-fiddle to Aruba's international air traffic, Curaçao has come into its own with a newly renovated airport and a growing list of direct and nonstop flights from around the Americas. This means that flying into Curaçao is easier than ever.
In the past, travelers flew to Curaçao via many other nearby international airports. Travelers can still choose from these routes or choose to fly to Venezuela or the nearby islands of Aruba or Bonaire to catch a ferry to Curaçao. Now, with recent upgrades to the local airport, many airlines offer direct flights straight to the island.
Hato International Airport (CUR) is the airport in question. It is located in Plaza Margareth Abraham, not far from the capital of Willemstad, and is comprised of a runway that measures over 11,000 feet long and two-story building that offers direct jet access to gates for up to five airplanes at a time. There is also additional parking for up to 12 smaller aircraft. Within the airport itself there is a modern automated baggage handling system, a VIP lounge, a food court, and a shopping mall. Add to this the free WiFi, and you'll begin to see why more and more passengers have been planning to fly direct since the revamp. All in all, Hato International now accommodates about 1.6 million passengers each year. For your transportation needs once you arrive, you can rent a car+ on-site, taxis are always readily available, and there is a long-term parking garage. To contact the airport by phone, call 599-9-888-0101.
Capitalizing on the large amount of air traffic in recent years, Curacao introduced a new passengers facility fee as well as a landing fee in December of 2012. A flat $6 fee is charged as a landing fee to each passenger, while those traveling to Bonaire are charged $10, to Aruba and St. Maarten are charged $20, and those traveling to any other destinations are charged $39(USD).
This table indicates which airlines are flying from the states as well as which airports they fly from. The online booking services don't necessarily show the best options so it can be helpful to see at a glance which airlines offer direct flights to this airport.
|Miami, FL, USA||MIA||American Airlines, InselAir|
The following table indicates airline companies that have direct flights from locations in Canada.
|Montreal, Canada||YUL||Air Canada|
See the table below for a complete list of air service from regional airports. If you can't get a flight directly from your preferred airport, making a connection through another airport might be a fine option.
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||InselAir|
|Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago||POS||LIAT|
Be sure to look at this table if you want to call some of the regional air charter companies.
|(297) 582-7215||Palu Di Boonchistraat 14 - Oranjestad|
|(297) 587-9197||Mkco 17 F - Gatu|
Travelers unfamiliar with an airline or its reliability are encouraged to do a bit of research. Travelers from the U.S. can consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA ranks carriers based on safety, service, and performance. Contact the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave., SW; Washington D.C., 20591 or via the Internet at www.faa.gov. For more specific issues, contact the FAA at the following phone numbers:
|Air Travel Service Problems||202-366-2220|
|Aviation Safety Hotline||800-255-1111|
|Aviation Consumer Protection Division||202-366-2220|
|Questions about FAA-monitored consumer issues||866-TELL-FAA (866-835-5322)|
|Transportation Security and Baggage Screeners Concerns||866-289-9673|
Travelers should keep in mind many safety-related regulations, including what may be carried onto a plane.
Travelers may now be stopped to participate in random passenger inspections of both themselves and their carry-on luggage. This and other security measures can greatly increase the amount of time it takes to reach your departure gate. These regulations may come as a surprise to vacationers that are not accustomed to air travel. Those who don't travel often will want to remember a few tips to help speed their process to the gate.
Don't forget to arrive at the airport at least one hour before U.S. domestic flights and two hours before international flights; travelers at the busiest airports, such as Miami, L.A., and New York's JFK airport, should add another hour to these arrival times. To be on the safe side, it's always best to call before you leave home to make sure your flight is on time.
When going through a security checkpoint, be sure to have your passport and boarding pass ready. Only ticketed passengers may pass through a checkpoint, unless accompanying a young child or an elderly or disabled passenger in need of assistance. It is recommended that you check with the specific airline and inquire as to their conditions. All U.S. domestic passengers including those under the age of 18 need passports.
It's best to dress carefully for a flight. Traveling through the security checkpoints may include detailed searches if you set off the highly-sensitive metal detectors. Because of this, travelers are advised to avoid wearing metal belts, steel-toed boots, and other larger metallic items. Travelers with metal surgical implants may want to bring a note from their doctor to help avoid a long discussion with airport security.
Packing is another endeavor to treat with care. If you're planning to bring food with you, it is best to pack them in checked luggage. No liquid beverages are allowed through security; you may purchase drinks once you have passed. Avoid packing or carrying wrapped presents onto the plane; airport security will need to unwrap any that look suspicious. Further, carry-on items are now limited to one carry-on item and one personal item. Personal items include purses, briefcases, and laptop cases that contain a laptop.
In the U.S., the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has tightened the restrictions on what passengers may carry onto a flight. Items like nail clippers, scissors, and razors are not permitted to be carried onto a plane. For a full list of these restricted items, travelers may visit the TSA Web site or call 866-289-9673 in the U.S.
With these airline regulations in mind, travelers should be able to enter and exit the island of Curaçao with ease.
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