The Caribbean remains one of the most popular holiday destinations for residents of the U.K. and Ireland, notably the islands that are (or formerly were) part of the Commonwealth. Here is information on the airlines that offer flights between Great Britain, Ireland, and the islands of the Caribbean.
British Airways has more flights to more destinations in the Caribbean than any other U.K. airline. Service includes flights from London/Heathrow to Nassau, Bahamas, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, and Grand Cayman, as well as service between London/Gatwick and Bermuda, Kingston (Jamaica), Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, Grenada, Trinidad, and Tobago. Their newer flights include Montego Bay, Jamaica, Punta Cana, and the Dominican Republic.
Virgin's owner, Sir Richard Branson, owns a private island home in the British Virgin Islands, and Virgin Atlantic has a growing presence at airports around the Caribbean, including service between London/Gatwick and Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Havana, Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Tobago.
Not every Caribbean destination has direct service, so U.K. travelers bound for the Caribbean should also compare routes and prices on flights on U.S. airlines like American, Delta, Continental and US Airways that serve U.K. airports and offer connecting flights between U.S. cities and the Caribbean. American Airlines, for example, is the largest airline in the Caribbean and offers flights from Heathrow to Miami, one of its main hubs for Caribbean connections. American flights to New York/JFK connect to Bermuda, while Continental flights from Gatwick and Edinburgh to New York/Newark connect flights to Trinidad, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Delta Air Lines connects Heathrow and Manchester to the Bahamas via Atlanta.
First Choice/Thomson Airlines
First Choice's merger with Thomson to form a combined tour company and Thomson Airlines, with direct and charter seasonal service to Aruba, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Mexican Caribbean.
Thomas Cook Airlines
Tour operator Thomas Cook also operates its own airline, with seasonal service to Caribbean destinations like Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Cancun, Mexico.
Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines offers codeshare service between London Gatwick and Bridgetown, Barbados with British Airways, with connections to Port of Spain, Antigua and St. Maarten/Martin, and codeshare connections with British Airways in Europe and beyond.
Air Jamaica operates codeshare flights with Virgin Atlantic between London Gatwick and Montego Bay and Kingston, with connecting flights throughout the Caribbean.
In some cases, you may need to book an inter-island flight depending on your desired destination. The most major of the inter-island airlines is Liat, but as with most inter-island flights, it has very sporadic flight schedules. We recommend working with tour operators to make sure your airfare is scheduled according to your travel needs for your Caribbean trip.
Travelers should also bear in mind that inter-island flights can be extremely costly, so for more affordable travel, stick to islands that offer direct flights.