Dominica is a beautifully untamed island that features some of the most rugged terrain and spectacular, abundant wildlife in the Caribbean. But, because of its mountainous geography and cliff-covered coastline, it is also one of the most inaccessible islands in the Caribbean, and few non-stop flights are available from the United States and other popular originations. Still, air travel is the most convenient way to reach this eco-paradise.
Two airports are located on the island: Melville Hall Airport and Canefield Airport. Melville Hall is the older and larger of the two airports and is about an hour and a half from Roseau, the country's capital. Canefield, which accommodates small aircrafts mostly offering courier services, is only a 15-minute drive from the capital. Travelers can contact Melville Hall Airport at 767-445-7051 and Canefield Airport at 767-449-1242 on the island. When planning your travels, it is important to know which airport you will fly into so you can schedule your hotel check-in time, pick-up times, and fares accordingly.
When booking airline arrangements, you will receive the best deal if you purchase a round-trip fare instead of a one-way fare because round-trip tickets are almost always less expensive. Also, if you avoid flying during peak times, which include weekends and mornings, you will save on your trip to Dominica. Many of the airlines that fly into Dominica are so small that they don't list all of their flights with travel agents or through on-line travel vendors. If you don't find a flight that suits your specific needs, contact your airline of choice directly to get the full schedule.
No direct flights from North America or Europe are available because both of the island's airports are too small for large aircraft to land. Travelers flying to Dominica must catch a connecting flight to the island. Most visitors pick up their connections from St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Barts, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Barbados, as well as from other smaller islands in the Caribbean.
See the following chart for scheduled air service from airports in the region. Even if there are no flights directly from your favorite airport, a connecting flight from another airport could be a great option.
|Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda||ANU||LIAT|
|Castries, Saint Lucia||SLU||LIAT|
|Isla Verde, Puerto Rico||SJU||Air Sunshine, LIAT, Seaborne Airlines|
|Pointe a Pitre, Grande-Terre||PTP||Air Antilles Express, LIAT, Winair|
|Santiago De Los Caballeros, The Dominican Republic||STI||LIAT|
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||Air Sunshine, BVI Airways, LIAT, Winair|
|St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands||STT||Air Sunshine|
|St. Vincent, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||SVD||LIAT|
|the BVI, British Virgin Islands||EIS||Air Sunshine, BVI Airways, Winair|
|Castries, Saint Lucia||SLU||LIAT|
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||Hummingbird Air|
|St. Croix, US Virgin Islands||STX||Hummingbird Air|
|St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands||STT||Hummingbird Air|
|the BVI, British Virgin Islands||EIS||Hummingbird Air|
You'll notice that all of these airlines are not huge names on the international scene. Up until April of 2013, the better-known American Eagle offered flights to Dominica from Puerto Rico, but this service was replaced by Seaborn. In addition to the airlines listed above, you may also hire a small charter plane to get you to the island.
If you are serious about 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|
|(284) 495-1747||V.C. Bird International Airport - 3.5 mi. (5.7 km) East-Northeast of St. John's||Antigua|
|(664) 491-3434||John A. Osbourne Airport - Montserrat||Montserrat|
|(877) 359-6732||Grantley Adams International Airport - Charnocks||Barbados|
|--||ET Joshua Airport - St. Vincent||St. Vincent|
Because of recent terrorist activity, airlines have increased security measures pertaining to passengers and their baggage. Before boarding, you will pass through additional security checkpoints, which can prevent unwanted problems but can also slow you down. All passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least one hour prior to the flight's scheduled departure. For international flights, try to arrive at least two hours prior. These tips will help your journey through airport security go more smoothly:
Contact the airport before leaving home to see if your flight is on time.
Keep your government-issued I.D. in an easily accessed area of your carry-on because you may be required to show it more than once for security clearance.
To get through security gates, you must have proof of your ticket. Non-ticketed persons will not be allowed to pass unless accompanying a child, an elderly person, or a person with a disability.
Travelers should avoid wearing metal objects such as steel-toe boots, heavy jewelry, or bulky belt buckles because these items could set off the metal detectors at security checkpoints.
People with metal surgical implants should bring a doctor's note to avoid hold-ups at security gates.
Regulations on carry-on luggage are also stricter, and passengers are no longer permitted to bring items such as metal scissors, razors, and other sharp metal objects aboard aircraft. For a complete list of regulated items, visit the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Web site (www.tsa.gov/public/index.jsp) or call 866-289-9673.
Passengers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item. Personal items include purses, briefcases, and laptop cases, but the laptop case must contain a laptop.
If you're traveling with food or beverages, it may be easiest to carry on these items rather than check them because some food products could set off bomb detectors and security devices. Also, avoid bringing wrapped gifts because if they set off a security device, they will have to be opened and could be damaged in the process.
Many vacationers find that following a few simple procedures and hopping a connecting flight to Dominica is an easy and convenient way to reach this unspoiled island.
It may be hard when booking your final flight to Dominica, but you should choose an airline you're familiar with when possible. If you're unsure about an airline's reputation, contact the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which ranks airlines on safety, service and performance. You can reach the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave., SW; Washington D.C., 20591 or via the Internet at www.faa.gov. If you have specific questions or concerns, you can contact FAA regulators about issues or problems:
|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||800-322-7873|
|Transportation security and baggage screeners concerns||866-289-9673
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