Traveling to Sint Maarten by Airplane

This tiny island's international hub of transportation is located on the Dutch side of the island

Photo credit: © daxdeluxe

While there is one small airport located in St. Martin, most tourists will arrive on the Dutch side of the island at the Princess Juliana International Airport. Capable of handling large planes and international air traffic where L'Esperance Airport in St. Martin is not, touching down in St. Maarten will be St. Martin tourists’ first experience navigating between both sides of the dual-nation island.

Regardless of if you plan to stay full time in St. Maarten, or travel immediately to the French side of the island, most international visitors will fly into the Princess Juliana International Airport. As the hub for all international flights to most of the Eastern Caribbean, this airport is the second largest in the region. Located approximately 10 miles northwest of Philipsburg, tourists will find transportation, dining, and entertainment all within easy reach. You can contact the airport at 599-545-5757 for further details.

There are a variety of airlines serving Princess Juliana International Airport, and travelers should research air carriers and flight timetables that work best for them. Nonstop flights.

Flying to Sint Maarten from the US

Before you fly to the Caribbean, it is important to research air carries and check which flights work for your needs. Most major airlines fly into Princess Juliana, and you can even find nonstop international flights fairly frequently, especially from the United States and Canada.

If you're traveling from the U.S. the following list can aid the planning process. Not all flights you will see displayed on the internet are good options so it can be helpful to know which airlines actually provide direct service to this airport.

Princess Juliana International Airport U.S. Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA FLL Spirit Airlines
Miami, FL, USA MIA American Airlines

Flying to Sint Maarten from Canada

Flights from Canada can, understandably, prove to be a bit longer than those from the US, and are less common. Still, finding a direct flight from Toronto can be cheaper (thought might not always be) than having to make transfers.

Air Canada generally handles these flights; call them at (888) 247-2262.

Flying to Sint Maarten from Europe

Other cities and many European countries may have to take a connecting flight to another U.S. City, or via San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Flying to Sint Maarten from the Caribbean

As a major regional hub; flying into Princess Juliana should prove very easy if you are already in the Caribbean. There are a number of airlines, large and small, that have daily trips to Sint Maarten.

Look below for a listing of scheduled air service from other Caribbean airports. If there are no flights from an airport near you, connecting through a regional airport might prove to be an excellent option.

Princess Juliana International Airport Caribbean Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda ANU Air St. Maarten, LIAT
Barbados BGI LIAT
Basseterre, St. Kitts SKB LIAT
Dominica DOM Air Sunshine, BVI Airways, LIAT, Winair
Dominican Republic SDQ InselAir
Gustavia, St. Barthelemy SBH St. Barth Commuter
Isla Verde, Puerto Rico SJU Air Sunshine, Jet Blue, Seaborne Airlines
Kingston, Jamaica KIN Caribbean Airlines
Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis NEV Air Sunshine
Pointe a Pitre, Grande-Terre PTP Air Antilles Express
Roseau, Dominica DCF Hummingbird Air
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands STX Hummingbird Air, LIAT
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands STT Air Sunshine
The Valley, Anguilla AXA Anguilla Air Services
Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago POS Caribbean Airlines
Willemstad, Curacao CUR InselAir
the BVI, British Virgin Islands EIS Air Sunshine, BVI Airways, Hummingbird Air, LIAT, VI Airlink, Winair
L'Esperance Airport Caribbean Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Gustavia, St. Barthelemy SBH St. Barth Commuter
Martinique FDF Air Caraibes
Pointe a Pitre, Grande-Terre PTP Air Antilles Express, Air Caraibes

Entry Requirements

Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, travelers from areas in the Western Hemisphere, including the Caribbean, United States, and Canada are required to show a passport to enter the United States. Those vacationing to the Caribbean should travel with a valid passport and also must show proof of a return ticket when entering the country. European and Canadian citizens must also have valid passports and return tickets.

Preparing for Your Flight

Travelers can expect transit times through an airport with increased passenger and baggage scrutiny. Passengers may experience an increased number of searches, and must go through a greater number of checkpoints before they finally are allowed to proceed to their gate. Common sense measures can be taken by air traffic passengers in order to reduce their waiting time while in the airport.

  • Flight numbers and seat assignments should be confirmed by passengers a few days in advance of your flight. This is especially important on charter flights, and passengers should also check on bag and weight restrictions.

  • Passengers who have secured flight reservations electronically, may expedite their check in process by online check in or by using one of the many electronic ticket kiosks now made available by many major airlines.

  • In order to check in and fly to international destinations, passengers should always carry their passport and boarding ticket. These items are required for passage through a number of checkpoints in the airport, so keep them easily accessible.

  • Passengers must limit their carry on baggage to one carry on item, and one personal item, which may include a purse, briefcase, or laptop computer case. Liquids, aerosols and gel toiletries must be contained in 3.4 ounce bottles, or less, in a one quart or smaller sized clear, plastic zip type bag. These items will need to be placed on the screening belt.

  • There also weight restrictions on checked baggage and some airlines may charge fees for items like golf clubs or bicycles. Gifts packed in all luggage should remain unwrapped, as airline and airport security officials may need to search the bag. Some food in checked baggage may trigger bomb detection devices.

Passengers going through the primary carry on and traveler screening area can also do a number of things to make their progress through the area more smooth. Random searches are sometimes conducted and passengers should cooperate with the usually friendly airport staff.

Travelers should avoid wearing bulky jewelry, belt buckles, or shoes with metal parts while going through metal detectors. Jackets, coats, blazers, and many types of shoes must be taken off and put through the conveyor belt. Watches, change, jewelry, keys, cell phones and other metal objects that may set off detection devices should be placed inside of your carry on baggage prior to moving through the screening area.

Camcorders and laptop computers should be removed from cases and those who have metal surgical implants should contact airport officials and also receive a doctor's note. Finally, pack items, such as razors, and nail clippers in checked baggage rather than your carry on. For a full list of prohibited items, visit the Web site of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at or call 866-289-9673.

Princess Juliana Airport, serving both St. Maarten and St. Martin, is a busy, modern airport, making it easier for travelers from abroad to visit the tiny island that is home to two separate countries.

If you're evaluating the option of an air charter, you can reserve one from these regional companies:

Charter Operators
Name Phone Location
Epelem Flying Services (721) 544-5240 Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay
Fly BVI Pickup Service from SXM (284) 495-1747 Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay
Islander Charter Service (721) 544-5304 9-C Peridot Road - Pelican Key
Melmik Aviation (721) 547-0725 Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay
Menzies Avation Group (721) 545-2570 Princess Juliana International Airport - 1.0 mi. (1.7 km) West-Northwest of Simpson Bay

Frequent travelers tend to have a preference when it comes to which airlines they like to fly. Traveling aboard an airline that you know and trust is important, however, this is not always possible when you are flying overseas. In this case, it is especially important that you research carries. You can check with the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States (FAA) to receive their extensive list of air carrier reputation rankings. These rankings measure performance, safety, and service, among other things. Visit, or contact them at 866-835-5322. If you're looking to contact the Aviation Consumer Protection Division or looking to report air travel service problems call 202-366-2220.

Fortunately the FAA has found that both St. Maarten and St. Martin are in compliance with the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program. This is based on the country's aircraft operations and standards, so you know that flying here will be as safe as it gets.

In fact, In an effort to enhance the security and safety of all who work and travel through the Princess Juliana International Airport, air port officials began rolling out a plan in 2013 to create one of the most secure and sophisticated security systems in the Caribbean.  Thanks to the installation of modern, weather-tested cameras that capture images from over 80 percent of the airport grounds, all who pass through St. Maarten via plane can be sure that their safety is a top priority. 

Entry Requirements

Once you touch down in St. Maarten, you will have to travel through customs before your real vacation can begin. In accordance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, travelers from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere (this includes the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean) are required to show a passport before they may enter the United States. This is also true of St. Maarten. Vacationers are required to show a valid passport and proof of a return or onward ticket before being released from customs. Guests who plan to stay for longer than three months will need to obtain a visa.

Travelers should also note that when they leave St. Maarten, they will be required to pay a departure fee of $33(USD), or NAf. 59.40. Most airlines include the departure fee in the price of their ticket, but it is wise to have the money on hand just in case you run into an instance where it is not.

With these tips in mind, you'll find your flights to and from St. Maarten are easy and convenient ways to travel.


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