With plenty of direct flights from North America and Europe, traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands is easy, which makes it all the more popular. Traffic to these islands is bustling, as the hub of activity for transportation to the British Virgin Islands, which do not have airports large enough to accommodate large international jets.
The two main airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands are St. Thomas' Cyril E. King Airport near Charlotte Amalie or St. Croix's Henry E. Rohlsen Airport near Christiansted. Almost all of the international planes with tourists heading to both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands will make their first stop at one of these two airports.
Located on the southwestern side of St. Thomas, the Cryril E. King Airport has a seven thousand foot runway, and 11 gates. As of the fall of 2014, this airport was still working on a renovation project which would make it a place worthy of a first impression. The first leg of the project included expanding the bathrooms and creating a more welcoming atmosphere with fresh paint, lovey stonework designs, and plants throughout. The next phase of the project includes bringing the baggage claim indoors where passengers can wait for their belongings in the air conditioning. The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, meanwhile, is on the southwestern side of St. Croix, and after a recent $42 million renovation, has a 10,000 foot runway and 181,000 square foot terminal.
Regardless of which airport you fly in to, you'll find that booking your ticket is much like you would see elsewhere. Schedules are submitted months in advance, with flights opening up on daily basis, and prices fluctuate just as often based on numerous factors. One factor is the proximity to the flight date as well as the season. You'll almost always spend more to fly during the peak tourist season. In order to save on air travel, always book round-trip tickets, look for flights that depart mid-week, and if you can, travel during the off-season. Keep in mind that when you do find deals, they can come with a catch. Many specially priced tickets are non-refundable, and if you want to change the date and time of your flight, you'll likely incur a hefty fee.
Traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands is relatively easy, as many flights from the U.S. reach this trio of islands. Many flights from the United States travel nonstop to the Virgin Islands, most specifically St. Thomas, and sometimes on to St. Croix. Travelers will land at either St. Thomas' Cyril E. King Airport near Charlotte Amalie or St. Croix's Henry E. Rohlsen Airport near Christiansted.
|Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA||FLL||Spirit Airlines|
|Miami, FL, USA||MIA||American Airlines, WestJet|
|Miami, FL, USA||MIA||American Airlines|
It is true that you are unlikely to find a direct flight to the US Virgin Islands from Europe. However, all that means is one connection in another island. If you plan it right, this lets you visit more than one island during your vacation, such as Puerto Rico.
If your in the Caribbean, it will be hard not to find a flight to the USVI. There are dozens of daily flights, so if you can make it to an international airport, you will likely be able to find a flight leaving that day or the next.
|Anegada, British Virgin Islands||NGD||VI Airlink|
|Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda||ANU||LIAT|
|Basseterre, St. Kitts||SKB||LIAT|
|Gustavia, St. Barthelemy||SBH||Tradewind Airlines|
|Isla Verde, Puerto Rico||SJU||Air Sunshine, Cape Air, Jet Blue, United Airlines|
|Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis||NEV||Air Sunshine|
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||Air Sunshine|
|Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda||VIJ||Air Sunshine, Seaborne Airlines, VI Airlink|
|St. Croix, US Virgin Islands||STX||Cape Air, Seaborne Airlines|
|The Valley, Anguilla||AXA||LIAT|
|Vieques, Puerto Rico||VQS||Air Sunshine|
|the BVI, British Virgin Islands||EIS||VI Airlink|
|Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda||ANU||LIAT|
|Isla Verde, Puerto Rico||SJU||Jet Blue, United Airlines|
|Roseau, Dominica||DCF||Coastal Air|
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||LIAT|
|St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands||STT||Cape Air, Seaborne Airlines|
|Vieques, Puerto Rico||VQS||Cape Air, Seaborne Airlines|
|Christiansted, St. Croix||SSB||Seaborne Airlines|
|Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas||SPB||Seaborne Airlines|
|Anegada, British Virgin Islands||NGD||VI Airlink|
|Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda||ANU||LIAT, Winair|
|Basseterre, St. Kitts||SKB||Winair|
|Dominica||DOM||Air Sunshine, BVI Airways, Phoenix Airways, Winair|
|Gustavia, St. Barthelemy||SBH||Winair|
|Isla Verde, Puerto Rico||SJU||American Airlines, Cape Air, Seaborne Airlines, United Airlines, VI Airlink|
|Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis||NEV||Air Sunshine, Winair|
|Simpson Bay, The island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten||SXM||Air Sunshine, BVI Airways, LIAT, VI Airlink, Winair|
|St. Eustatius, Saint Eustatius||EUX||Winair|
|St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands||STT||VI Airlink|
|The Valley, Anguilla||AXA||Winair|
Ferries are a relatively easy way to reach some of the more out of the way islands. Ferries leave from St. Thomas' Charlotte Amalie and travel to the nearby St. John's Cruz Bay and the more distant Fajardo in Puerto Rico. Therefore, travelers can fly to Puerto Rico and then take a ferry to their final destination within the Virgin Islands.
Americans who are unfamiliar with an airline can consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which ranks carriers based on service, safety, and performance. Contact the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave., SW, Washington D.C., 20591 or online at www.faa.gov.
In recent years airports have enhanced their security procedures as a reaction to increased terrorist activity. These changes are especially noticeable within the U.S. and, as an addition to the regular baggage screening procedures, there are now more security checks. Such checkpoints will screen both luggage and passengers, while additional security teams are stationed to search travelers who trigger detector alarms.
Carry on luggage regularions have also been tightened and, while most passengers are aware of many changes, there are a few important things you can do to help smooth the process. A full list of regulated items is available from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Web site,www.tsa.gov/public/index.jsp, or call 1-866-289-9673 in the U.S.
Another security change is the introduction of random passenger inspections, in which security personnel perform a complete search of both traveler and carry on baggage. Because of the additional security measures, passengers should plan to arrive at most airports one hour before domestic flights and two hours before international flights. In more crowded airports, add an addtional hour to these times.
There is a checklist many travelers may wish to complete to help avoid any security troubles.
The carry-on limit is one carry-on bag plus one private item such as a briefcase, laptop case, or purse per passenger. A laptop case is not considered a personal item unless it contains a laptop.
Avoid wearing metal objects such as heavy jewelry, steel-toed boots, or bulky belt buckles, since these items could set off the checkpoint detectors.
If you have any metal surgical implants, it's wise to bring a note from your doctor to avoid a long meeting with an airport official.
Pack food and beverage containers in your carry-on bag as opposed to your checked luggage because some food items may activate the bomb-detection machines.
Do not take wrapped presents with you. If the package sets off a detector, security officials will be forced to unwrap, and may damage, the present.
Always have your government-issued photo ID on hand - this is required for security clearance. U.S. domestic flights do not require children under the age of 18 to carry a photo ID; however, the adult accompanying or checking in with them must present one.
Remember that you will only be allowed to pass through security with a ticket for travel. An official confirmation page for an e-ticket will suffice. Make sure you have your ticket or e-ticket confirmation page and your ID before you get to the airport (Non-ticketed persons can only pass through if accompanying a child or an elderly or disabled person).
Confirm your flight before heading to the airport.
Despite all of this, in 2013 Cyril E. King International embarked on a major effort to make getting through customs an easier, more streamlined process. To do this, King International now offers TSA Pre-Check. This means that frequent fliers that have been approved by TSA may receive expedited screening benefits which include leaving on their footwear, belts, jewelry, and other personal items as they go through security.
Despite these rules, you will find your flight to be an easy one - with the hardest part being the anticipation.
Charter planes are the other option when choosing to fly. However, this alternative is not for everyone. With smaller planes and bumpier rides, charter planes can make some people uncomfortable. However, those who do not mind a little turbulence will probably love the fact that they can personalize routes and schedules. Most charters, depending on how private your flight is, may even take a scenic route over some beautiful aerial views of cities and landscapes, so do not be afraid to ask.
View the following chart to help you reach a regional air charter service.
|(787) 276-5669||Cyril E King Airport - 2.9 mi. (4.7 km) West of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(787) 276-5669||Henry E Rohlsen Airport - 5.5 mi. (8.8 km) East of Frederiksted||St. Croix|
|(340) 778-9177||Henry E Rohlsen Airport - 5.5 mi. (8.8 km) East of Frederiksted||St. Croix|
|(340) 777-9177||Cyril E King Airport - 2.9 mi. (4.7 km) West of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-7335||Cyril E King Airport - 2.9 mi. (4.7 km) West of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(284) 495-1747||Cyril E King Airport - 2.9 mi. (4.7 km) West of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 714-3000||The US Virgin Islands|
|(340) 642-3000||Cyril E King Airport - 2.9 mi. (4.7 km) West of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
As you can see, flying into the US Virgin Islands is relatively easy, no matter where in the world you are. Numerous direct flights from the US, and plenty from the Caribbean means whether you are in Europe or South America, you are at most two or three transfers from the US Virgin Islands.
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