There's Now a Direct Flight Between the Caribbean and the West Coast

American Airlines also added direct service to Anguilla from Miami

Relaxing on hammock after a beach day in the Caribbean - Cayman Islands
LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

This November, upgrades are confirmed from two different airlines—Cayman Airways and American Airlines—for direct travel between the U.S. and the Caribbean, including the launch of the only commercial non-stop route between the West Coast and the Caribbean.

Beginning Nov. 5, Cayman Airways, the national flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, will begin operating weekly non-stop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California and Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) in Grand Cayman. Currently, the closest direct route operated by Cayman Airways is out of Denver.

"The department of tourism and my ministry have been working closely with Cayman Airways for many months to bring this route to fruition [because] Los Angeles is a ripe market for expansion and provides us a strategic gateway to the West Coast," Kenneth V. Bryan, the Cayman Islands Hon. Minister for Tourism and Transport, told TripSavvy.

"As global travel continues to increase in 2022, we recognized a need for a direct, accessible flight. Visitor statistics support our decision as visitors from California represent more than four percent of our annual stayover visitors from the United States."

Bryan is sure the convenience of the new flight will increase those numbers and ultimately help the Department of Tourism achieve its 2022 goal of earning at least 50 percent of the tourism accommodation revenue banked in 2019. (Anyone who has regularly endured the too-short faux redeye-long layover combo or the costly add of two extra PTO days typically required to reach their adventure in the Caribbean would likely quickly agree that this is a game-changer.) They also suspect it might make the destination more accessible to Asian and Australian customers.

"We believe this will have a significant impact on the amount of West Coast visitors to the Cayman Islands as it allows travelers to spend less time in transit and more time experiencing our renowned beaches, luxury resorts and villas, attractions [including Stingray City, diving a shipwreck, and Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park], and our culinary scene," Bryan continued.

Offered year-round, one of the planes from Cayman's new fleet of Boeing 737-8s will depart LAX on Sundays and return from the island on Saturdays. The flight, which will be offered at an introductory fare of $399, is approximately five and a half hours long, making it roughly 15 minutes shorter than a non-stop to Hawaii from the same airport.

Long a popular spot for nature and travel documentaries, Bryan also hopes the ease of getting there from the Entertainment Capital Of The World stimulates more interest in using the archipelago as a filming location for narrative movies, TV series, and music videos. It recently played a part in 2021's "Red Notice" with Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It welcomed the production of a sci-fi feature starring Dennis Quaid, Isabelle Fuhrman, David Thewlis, and Josh Hutcherson called "Littlemouth" this past summer.

"This flight also provides an avenue to connect the Cayman Islands Film Commission with decision-makers in Hollywood to grow our nascent film industry and ultimately bring great benefits to our local economy," Bryan speculated.

Aerial View Of Sea And Buildings Against Sky
Shawn Walters / EyeEm / Getty Images

Meanwhile, further east in paradise, American Airlines is also making it easier and quicker to get from mainland America to Anguilla by expanding the frequency of its direct service from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Anguilla's Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) throughout the busy festive season. From Nov. 3 to Dec. 17, the airline has scheduled eight weekly flights, doubling fall's four. From Dec. 18 to Jan. 8, 2023, the number will bump to 11 flights a week between the Florida city and the coral isle dotted with 33 beaches.

"The success of American Airlines' non-stop service to Anguilla speaks to the demand for our destination and the strength of our tourism product. In less than a year, we moved from two flights a week to eight," explained Kenroy Herbert, the Anguilla Tourist Board chairman. "This service has opened up new markets for Anguilla, the U.S. West Coast, Canada, and South America."

Minister of Tourism Haydn Hughes added, "Expanding direct air service is critical to growing business as easy and convenient direct access is a key consideration for travelers. [It] is proving to be a game changer for our island, and we are confident that additional carriers will follow."

Introduced in 2021, it was the first commercial air service from the mainland U.S. to Anguilla. Before that, visitors who couldn't afford private plane price tags had to fly into Saint Martin and then take a ferry or boat service, which made for a long exhausting day and was often cited as a reason people chose to visit other nearby islands instead.

"Flying directly into Anguilla means that within half an hour of their arrival, visitors can be on the beach enjoying their vacation," says Director of Tourism Stacey Liburd. "It shortens the journey significantly, and this is a huge benefit, particularly for families traveling with kids, a major market for Anguilla."

Article Sources
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  1. Cayman Airways. "Enjoy Nonstop Flights From Grand Cayman to Los Angeles, California (LAX)." Accessed Oct. 26, 2022.

  2. Visit Anguilla. "American Airlines Will Expand Service to Anguilla, Starting November 2022." Sept. 23, 2022.