Photo courtesy of spotter tim via Creative Commons
Anguilla-based airline makes Caribbean travel from AXA feasible
Looking to book day trips from Anguilla during your stay? Local airline, Trans Anguilla Airways, is offering a slew of scheduled services to allow locals and visitors enjoy a bit more regional sightseeing without breaking the bank. Last week, I sat down with TAA’s Operations Manager to get the full scoop on their flight offerings. St. Barths is one of their most popular services, but Statia, a newer scheduled offering, is also gaining in popularity for day trips. Read on to learn about some offerings to help round out your trip.
Photo courtesy of mario.cruz via Creative Commons
From Tuesday – Friday, TAA runs their scheduled service to St. Barths, Anguilla’s glitzy French neighbor to the south. Departing Anguilla at around 10AM, you arrive in St. Barths (SBH) about 12 minutes later. The return flight departs SBH at around 4PM, allowing for a full afternoon of exploring. If you’ve seen videos on the world’s most dangerous airports, you’ve likely seen the landing in St. Barths: exhilarating by most accounts, treacherous by some.
My question (I’m some of you are wondering the same): can you go on a Tuesday morning and come back on a Wednesday afternoon? Answer: YES. Provided there’s room on a scheduled charter, you can work out your own schedule within those parameters.
Cost: $105 each way + $35 SBH tax
One of Trans Anguilla’s newest offering is a day trip to Statia, allowing guests to see Anguilla’s tiny Dutch neighbor in a quickie 8 hour trip! Trans Anguilla is offering service to Statia on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Flights depart Anguilla around 9AM on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (arriving 22 minutes later) and head out a bit earlier (around 7:30AM) on Mondays. The return flight heads back from Statia at around 4PM, allowing for a solid day of exploring the little island. Wondering what to do in Statia? Get inspired here.
Cost: $96 each way
Photo courtesy of Airbg via Creative Commons
The Statia trip mentioned above is actually part of a larger trip: a trip from Anguilla to St. Kitts. The plane heads out in a triangle, leaving from Anguilla, stopping in Statia and heading to St. Kitts as its final airport before making its way back to Anguilla. The schedule is the same as the schedule for Statia, but drop off and pick up times will naturally be slightly later in St. Kitts.
Keep in mind, while these make sense as a day trip of sorts (taking the morning flight out and heading back in the afternoon), you could also jump on the afternoon flight to Statia or St. Kitts for an overnight stay.
Cost: $249 roundtrip inclusive of tax out of St. Kitts (exclusive of Anguilla’s departure tax)
Photo courtesy of morris811 via Creative Commons
By many accounts, 2 – 3 days in Nevis is plenty to get a taste of the island and experience a bit of its plantation setting. When I found out that St. Kitts was part of a regular service, I had to inquire about Nevis. As luck would have it, trips to Nevis make up a small bit of their regular service offerings.
Their service to Nevis is limited but is perfect for a weekend getaway. The flight from Anguilla departs on Friday afternoon around 2:30 or 3PM. A flight from Nevis to Anguilla happens on Sunday afternoon at around the same time allowing for two full days; a good amount of time to get a taste of Nevisian culture.
Cost: $125 each way
I know what you’re thinking: a private charter is going to cost you a pretty penny. Surprisingly, it turns out that charters are much more affordable than you’d think. In addition to the scheduled services they offer, Trans Anguilla has traditionally been a charter service, offering private charters to groups of up to nine people (fewer if there’s a lot of luggage in tow). Here’s a quick rundown of private charter services:
- St. Maarten: Fly direct from SXM to AXA or vice versa for $425. It’s a quickie seven minute flight in lieu of a twenty minute ferry and makes for a great option if you’re not a fan of the ferry option (especially when seas are a bit rougher). To put that into perspective, a shared private ferry costs between $55 and $85 per person. For a family of 5 taking this private charter with Trans Anguilla, it ends up being about $85 per person. Plus, you’re on your own time frame. And it’s your own plane. Pretty awesome.
- St. Barths: If the scheduled service isn’t your thing, you can charter a plane to St. Barths with your group for $800 each way. If you have 6 – 8 people, you’re looking at $100 – $135 each (+$35 SBH tax), not much more than it would be for a scheduled service. Besides the obvious awesome factor of chartering a plane for a trip to St. Barths, you also get the benefit of picking the time that works for you. If 10AM isn’t your thing, nab a flight in the afternoon (anytime before sun sets).
- Nevis: Since the Nevis service is limited to Fridays and Sundays, a private charter is the perfect solution for groups looking for alternate days from Anguilla to Nevis. The private charter rate is $880 each way. Again, if you have 5 – 7 people, you’ll end up paying the same amount (or slightly more) than the scheduled service price with the benefit of a flight time that fits into your travel schedule.
- Virgin Gorda: $1275 each way (private charters only)
- Tortola: $1300 each way (private charters only)
- Antigua: $1500 each way (+ $37.50 tax if you’re opting for a one-way and staying in Antigua for one-plus night; private charters only)
During our conversation, I asked to focus on the sub-$1500 charters as those would likely be the biggest draw for our guests. When traveling beyond our immediate neighboring islands, there are a few regional airlines that fly to further Caribbean destinations at a reasonable price. I can’t vouch for their reliability, but in terms of cost, long-distance private charters can add up. If money’s not a big factor when you’re planning Caribbean travel, do know that Trans Anguilla does fly as far south as St. Lucia with private charters (roughly $4000 for that distance).
One of the added benefits of flying on these little island hoppers? You’re never flying over 3500 feet and many times you’re even closer to the ground than that (1500 – 2500 feet). So, that aerial tour of the islands that you wanted? Call this a twofer. As we embark on some of these journeys from Anguilla, we’ll be documenting the experience and sharing photos of the flights and destinations. Stay tuned!
Have any of you used Trans Anguilla Airways before? What flights are you most excited about?