6 Things to Know Before You Fly Cayman Airways

Here's what to know (including the airline's safety record) before choosing to fly with Cayman Airways.
View from the window of a Cayman Airways flight (Photo: Christine Sarkis)
View from the window of a Cayman Airways flight (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

It may be the national airline of the Cayman Islands, but Cayman Airways still manages to fly under the radar for most travelers. The small carrier has plenty to recommend it, though, including a strong safety record and recently expanded nonstop service from cities around the U.S. With direct service from around the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean, the airline puts a remarkable Caribbean vacation destination within easy reach of more travelers. 

What to Know about Cayman Airways

I flew for the first time on Cayman Airways on a direct nonstop flight from Los Angeles. Before I went, I didn’t know a ton about the airline, so I did a ton of research before boarding. If you’re considering a flight to a destination served by Cayman Airways, here are five things to know about the airline to help you decide if it’s the right one for you.

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1. Cayman Airways Has a Good Safety Record

Cayman Airways has had a perfect safety record since its inception in 1968. On international routes, the airline started out flying 727s in the 1970s and 737s in the 1980s, and today Cayman Airways flies a new fleet of 737 MAX 8s. The new aircraft is the latest version of an aircraft type the airline has been focused on for the last 40 years.

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2. It’s One of North America’s Oldest Airlines

As the flag carrier for the British Overseas Territory, Cayman Airways’ focus on getting people to, from, and around the Cayman Islands has meant it doesn’t have a wider reputation. But the airline has been in operation since 1968, making it one of North America’s oldest continuously operating airlines. And it has been flying routes from the U.S. since 1972, when it began service from Houston. 

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3. Cayman Airways Flies a New International Fleet

Cayman Airways flies an international fleet of four new 737-8s (Photo: Christine Sarkis)
Cayman Airways flies an international fleet of four new 737-8s (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

Cayman Airways’ new international fleet of four Boeing 737 MAX 8s debuted in late 2018. The aircraft has 32-inch pitch in economy seats and 38-inch pitch in business class. Long-haul flights include complimentary meals in both classes, as well as the airline’s signature Seven Fathoms Rum Punch (there’s also a non-alcoholic fruit punch option, which is also pretty good). 

4. It’s the Only Commercial Way to Fly to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman

Locals and visitors move pretty fluidly among the Cayman Islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Though most people fly to the biggest and most populous island of Grand Cayman (to the easy-to-navigate Owen Roberts International Airport), it’s a quick flight to the other islands, and a trip there offers a slower pace, beautiful scenery, and exceptional diving. Cayman Airways is the only carrier to connect the islands. It does so using smaller planes, both Saab 340 B+ and Twin Otter aircraft.

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5. Cayman Airways has Nonstop Service from 5 U.S. Cities, Including Los Angeles

Cayman Airways currently operates direct nonstop flights from Miami, Tampa, New York (JFK), Denver, and Los Angeles (LAX). The LA route is the newest, and for now remains the West Coast’s only nonstop service to the Caribbean. The only seasonal U.S. route is Denver, which operates between December and August; the rest fly year-round. Cayman Airways also flies to Cuba, Honduras, and Jamaica.

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6. Cayman Airways Also Flies Nonstop Routes from Elsewhere in the Caribbean and Central America

The airline also has service to and from cities in Cuba, Barbados, and Jamaica in the Caribbean as well as Honduras and Panama in Central America.

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Christine Sarkis
A traveling parent and longtime travel writer and editor, Christine Sarkis is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of FamilyVacationist. She is the former Executive Editor for TripAdvisor travel magazine SmarterTravel.com, she has spent nearly two decades finding and sharing the best places to go with an audience of enthusiastic travelers. Her stories have appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her expert advice has been quoted in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, Here & Now, Life Kit, and California Now. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008, and she is working on a travel memoir. Christine and her husband first met in Paris, and travel remains a big part of their shared experience. With their two kids in tow, they have piloted a barge down canals in France, befriended llamas in Peru, tended olive trees in Italy, and gone snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii. The family lives in California and loves traveling around the state. Their California favorites include Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.