Can you fly to Antarctica?

A comprehensive guide to flights to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile. Join us on a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness expedition reaching the Last Continent in 2 hours, then cruise the majestic Antarctic Peninsula.

Decoration A21

Are there flights to Antarctica?

Yes, you can fly to Antarctica! The 7th Continent is one of the most isolated places on Earth, and specialized resources are needed to operate in the region.

At Antarctica21, we carefully and thoughtfully plan out all our expeditions. We secure the permits in advance, and we bring the aircraft and ships, with their crews and staff, to the region for the short Antarctic travel season, during the Austral summer.

We pioneered the Antarctica fly-cruise program in 2003 and we’ve operated more Antarctic flights over the Drake Passage than all other expedition companies combined. We have done it alongside DAP Airlines, our official Antarctica flight partner with over 30 years of experience flying to Antarctica and Patagonia.

Why choose a flight to Antarctica?


Want to know more?

If you have questions, we’re here to help plan your trip of a lifetime and customize your journey!

Flight or Cruise?

Flying to Antarctica

To travel to Antarctica, you must cross the Drake Passage, that fickle body of water where the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans meet. The sea conditions in the Drake Passage are highly unpredictable and often stormy. Flying over the Drake Passage allows you to avoid those storms and reach Antarctic grounds quickly and comfortably.

A jet outfitted with special kits for Antarctic operation flies you over the weather. It takes you from South America to your ship awaiting you in Antarctica in just two hours as you enjoy some in-flight hospitality.

Antarctic flights operate based on weather conditions, so you should be aware that changes in your itinerary are possible. If your flight to Antarctica is delayed, an engaging program of activities in Chilean Patagonia is offered as you enjoy meals and comfortable accommodation on land.

Image of Flight

Cruises to Antarctica

Regardless of the mode of transportation, traveling to Antarctica involves accepting a degree of uncertainty. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship can be an epic and harrowing experience.

Assuming somewhat calm waters, it takes at least two days to sail from South America to Antarctica. Spending those days at sea can be used to get to know your ship and your fellow shipmates—however, those four days round-trip at sea chip away at your valuable travel time.

Also, if the seas are stormy, the ship’s speed will be reduced, and your arrival in Antarctica will be delayed. Similarly, if stormy seas are expected on the way back from Antarctica, your ship must leave the White Continent ahead of schedule to avoid incoming storms. This uncertainty and the common sea sickness often caused by heavy seas can turn your excitement and happiness into stress and discomfort.

Image of Cruise

Ready to choose?


Save on Ocean Nova

Set sail with us and save up to $2,000 per person on selected Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise departures, our most popular expeditions. Book now to secure an exclusive Antarctic Travel Credit!

Video preview

Antarctica21's Air-Cruise Model

Since 2003, Antarctica21’s innovative approach to Antarctic air cruises has offered wilderness adventures that combine a 2-hour flight from Punta Arenas -in the Chilean Patagonia– to the Antarctic peninsula. Here, our expedition vessel awaits guests for an incredible journey with a comfortable, quick, and intimate travel experience packed with adventure.


How to Get to Antarctica? Four Options to Fly & Cruise


Ready to Start Planning?

Explore the Last Continent with us. Complete this short form to receive a personalized quote from our expert team.

Antarctica21 testimonials


’’Expedition leader and staff more than exceeded my expectations – so qualified, intelligent, passionate and patient. By the end of our few days, they felt like old friends. I’ll really miss them and the environment they created for me and my family.’’

Lucy M. – Traveler from USA

Classic Antarctica Expedition, December 2021


‘’Hoping to return again in 2023-2025. Truly mesmerizing, absolute joy – life-changing experience.’’

Ryan B – Traveler from USA

Classic Antarctica Expedition, December 2021


‘’An outstanding experience made possible by everyone involved. Would and will recommend A21 to friends and family.’’

Kevin T. – Traveler from USA

Classic Antarctica Expedition, December 2021

Decoration A21
The Antarctic Flight Guide, Antarctica21

Download the Ultimate Guide

This essential guide includes:

  • Insider information on flights to Antarctica
  • The pros and cons of sailing and flying to Antarctica
  • Weather information and detailed flight statistics
  • Expert tips to consider before booking

Doing research for your trip? You can’t miss this guide!

What kind of planes fly to Antarctica?

DAP Airlines, our partner since 2003, with over 25 years of experience flying in Antarctica, operates all of our direct flights to Antarctica.

The aircraft were manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace, which later became part of BAE Systems. They are high-wing aircraft with short runway requirements, which means they are particularly suited for Antarctica.

The planes we fly to Antarctica are the BAE 146-200, the AVRO RJ 85, and the AVRO RJ 100.

Flight to Antarctica
Fly with speed and comfort to Antarctica
Boarding the aircraft for a direct flight to Antarctica

Our Antarctica Flight Advantages

Icon of We Specialize in Small Group Expeditions

We Specialize in Small Group Expeditions

Our flights and ships carry less than 76 passengers. This means one flight and small groups to enjoy sea and land excursions. All guests can go on land at once, with no waiting times!

Icon of Quick Flights & More Time Exploring

Quick Flights & More Time Exploring

Our air-cruises take you over the Drake Passage and to Antarctica on a short two-hour flight. We skip the two-day ship crossing and quickly immerse you in the beauty of the Seventh Continent.

Icon of We Have Flight Priority at the Punta Arenas Airport

We Have Flight Priority at the Punta Arenas Airport

We fly to Antarctica only in the best available conditions. If weather conditions only offer one opportunity on the day of our scheduled flight, that space is reserved for us.

Icon of Punta Arenas is Our Homebase

Punta Arenas is Our Homebase

Antarctica21 was formed and is based in Punta Arenas, Chile. We have created a strong network of local suppliers and services that make our operation as smooth as possible and allow us to respond quickly and adapt our plans depending on the ever-changing conditions in Antarctica.

Antarctica Flights FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions to learn more about our air-cruise flights.

The flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, takes up to 2.5 hours. That’s pretty quick if you consider that Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations in the world. Our air-cruises carry a maximum of 76 guests, ensuring comfort on your flight and lots of personal space on your expedition ship.

Depending on your air-cruise itinerary, you will be using Punta Arenas (Chile) or/and Ushuaia (Argentina) as your Antarctic gateway.

Many international airlines land daily at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez airport. From there, several airlines connect the capital of Chile and Punta Arenas with a 4.5-hour flight.

Many international flights also land daily at Buenos Aires’ international airport, Ezeiza. Connections to Ushuaia are available from Ezeiza and the domestic Aeroparque airports. Overland transportation by bus between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia on a 12-hour journey is also an option.

We suggest a short stopover in Santiago, and as an aid, we have developed some mini-travel guides to help you find your way in this city. You can check them out at the bottom of our Antarctica Travel Tips page. You can also explore Chilean Patagonia, including Torres del Paine National Park and Punta Arenas. Here is our guide to combining both destinations in one trip.

Our flights to Antarctica land on King George Island, where you’ll start your time in Antarctica. There is no airport on the island, and the weather can vary. Once you get there, you will have a one-mile walk to the shore and then a quick zodiac ride to get to your expedition ship, all part of the adventure. From your arrival in Punta Arenas to your walk to your expedition ship, our experts will make sure you enjoy every bit of your trip.

To learn more about our team, take a look here!

Can Antarctica Flights Have Delays? FAQs

Yes, flight delays can happen, like any other flight. However, in Antarctica Mother Nature decides, and the air-cruise operation is weather-dependent. We do everything we can to ensure that your flight is on time.

Even though the odds of experiencing a delay are low, travelers must prepare for the possibility.

Our passengers’ and crews’ safety is the number one priority on our flights and expedition cruises. Therefore, we continuously monitor the weather and adjust our plans if needed.

Since we first started our operation in 2003, and until our most recent season ended in March 2023, we have operated 274 flights to Antarctica. Here is the breakdown of those flights:

  • 236 flights left on the scheduled day.
  • 21 left the day before the scheduled day.
  • 38 flights had a one-day delay.
  • 12 flights operated with a two-day delay.

In the history of our company, three flights were delayed beyond Day 4.

Since 2003, only three flights have been delayed beyond two days. That’s the point beyond which would impact half of the Antarctic expedition. We have only experienced one flight delay where clients could not fly to Antarctica.

Once, our clients sailed back to South America instead of flying. Unfortunately, this is when we would interrupt the trip and extend a full refund.

A Contingency Plan is in place for those cases when weather conditions require modifying the flight date from the itinerary between Punta Arenas and Antarctica.

The purpose of this Contingency Plan is to provide our passengers with a flexible travel experience that adapts to the weather conditions and to provide a refund of the cruise fare in case that weather conditions prevent clients from reaching Antarctica. Even though the likelihood of delay or interruption is slim, we are well prepared.

Expedition: Antarctic Express Air-Cruise

In case of a delay on the return flight to Punta Arenas from Antarctica, the passengers on board will continue cruising to nearby places until the flight to Punta Arenas is authorized. Full board and all excursions are included. No refund will be extended for any reason whatsoever.

Expeditions: Classic Antarctica Air-CruisesPolar Circle Air-Cruises, and Antarctica Express Air-Cruises

Outbound flights to Antarctica: Between Day 1 and until 2 p.m. on Day 4, every effort will be made to transport our passengers to Antarctica, considering their safety and the safety of the aircraft. If those efforts are not successful, the next daily program will be applied:

  • Day 2 · We provide guided tours to historic and wildlife interest sites in Punta Arenas. We include all meals and accommodation at the same hotel on Day 1 of the itinerary.
  • Day 3 · We provide guided tours to historic and wildlife interest sites in Punta Arenas. Included are all meals and accommodation at the same hotel as Day 1 of the itinerary.
  • Day 4 · If by 2 p.m. Antarctica21 is unable to transport passengers to Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted. We will provide accommodation with breakfast in a 3-star hotel in Punta Arenas. No other services or meals will be included. Antarctica21 or, if applicable, the traveler’s booking agent will refund each passenger 100% of the cruise fare paid for the expedition.
  • Day 5 · Group airport transfers are provided. No other services or meals are included.

If the flight to Punta Arenas moves forward, our passengers will disembark the ship and fly to Punta Arenas up to one day earlier than indicated in the itinerary. We will provide accommodations at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar on arrival.

All other inclusions will remain per the original itinerary.

If the flight to Punta Arenas from Antarctica is delayed, our passengers on the ship will continue cruising until the return flight is authorized. Full board and all excursions are included.

The trip will end at the Punta Arenas airport. No refund will be extended for any reason whatsoever.

If your flight from Antarctica to Chile is delayed, your tour will extend, including onboard activities, excursions, and meals.

Our primary goal with the contingency plan is to provide an engaging and comfortable travel experience while adapting to the weather – it is, after all, an adventure experience!

Ready to Start Planning?

Antarctica is like no other place on Earth and we invite you to explore it with us. Complete this short form to receive a customized quote from our team and start planning your Antarctic air-cruise today!