How to Fly to Antarctica?

Flying to Antarctica is easier than you think!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Can you fly to Antarctica?

Yes, you can fly to Antarctica! Logistically speaking, the 7th continent is one of the most isolated places on earth, and specialized resources are needed to operate in the region. Our expeditions are carefully and thoughtfully planned out. Permits are secured in advance, and aircraft and ships with crews and staff have to be brought to the region for the short Antarctic season. But, flying to Antarctica and the Antarctic air-cruise is something Antarctica21 pioneered. From our more economical air-cruise expedition, the Antarctica Express Air-Cruise, to our most popular Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise, there is something for every type of traveler looking to experience Antarctica. 

Below you will find the five most common questions about flights to Antarctica.

  1. Why should I fly to Antarctica? Most cruise ships cruising to Antarctica sail over the Drake Passage. This trip is a long two day and often stormy crossing that many travelers avoid when getting to Antarctica. Flying instead of sailing over the Drake Passage allows you to reach Antarctica quickly and in comfort. You also save your vacation time and the possibility of getting seasick while crossing the Drake. Read more about our flights here.
  2. What kind of plane will I fly on to Antarctica? Our direct flights to Antarctica are operated by DAP Airlines, who have over 25 years of experience flying in Antarctica and have been our partner since 2003. The planes we fly to Antarctica are the BAE 146-200, the AVRO RJ 85, and the AVRO RJ 100. These 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.
  3. How long is the flight to Antarctica? Antarctica’s flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, takes 2.5 hours, pretty quick considering Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations in the world. Our air-cruises carry a maximum of 75 people, ensuring comfort on your flight and lots of personal space on your expedition ship. If you are looking for more convenience, you can also check out our Preferred Seating benefit here.
  4. Where does the flight take off from to get to Antarctica? Most of our expeditions to Antarctica start in Punta Arenas, Chile. All of our flights to Antarctica also begin here. To get to Punta Arenas, you can go through Santiago, Chile, from pretty much any location in the world. The flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas takes about 4.5 hours. We suggest a short stopover in Santiago and have developed some mini-travel guides to help you find your way in this city too. Check them out at the bottom of our Antarctica Travel Tips page.
  5. What should I expect when I land in Antarctica? Our flights to Antarctica land on King George Island, there is where you start your time in Antarctica. There is no airport, and the weather can vary. It is about a one mile walk to the shore to get to your expedition vessel and then a quick zodiac ride to the ship, all part of the adventure. Our team will be with you every step of the way. From your arrival in Punta Arenas to your walk to your expedition ship, our experts will make sure you enjoy every part of your trip. To learn more about our team, take a look here!

Are you interested in flying to Antarctica? Check out our expedition video overview here!

Sailing to Antarctica: More On The Drake Passage

Most cruises to Antarctica sail The Drake Passage. This passage is an unpredictable body of water where the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans meet. The crossing here is variable at best. And at worst, it is the stuff of folklore. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship can be an experience, good and bad. It takes at least two days to sail across it, assuming somewhat calm waters. Spending those two days at sea can be an opportunity to get to know your crew and fellow shipmates; however, the four days at sea (to and from Antarctica) can chip away at vacation time. If the weather does not cooperate, you can have a delayed arrival in Antarctica, or you might have to leave the continent ahead of schedule to avoid incoming storms. For those with sensitive stomachs, seasickness is a definite possibility. This issue can change excited and happy travelers to be distressed and uncomfortable. Read more about the Drake Passage here

Flying to Antarctica: What Makes Antarctica21 Different

  1. Small Groups & One Flight: We operate a single flight to Antarctica, which is important due to the changeable Antarctic conditions. There is no waiting on a 2nd group´s arrival.
  2. Priority Flight Window: Antarctica21 has flight priority at the Punta Arenas airport, which means we fly when there are the best conditions for crossing to Antarctica. 
  3. Home in Punta Arenas: Antarctica21 is the only company formed and based in Punta Arenas, Chile. Since 2003, we have created an important network of local suppliers and services that make our Antarctic operation as smooth as possible. We can respond and quickly adapt our travel plans depending on the ever-changing conditions in Antarctica. 

Learn more about how flying to Antarctica works here

Our aircraft to fly direct to Antarctica, on King George island. Photography by Mathew Farrell on an Antarctic Air-Cruise on board Hedridean Sky.
Plane landing in Antarctica, on King George island. Photography by Mathew Farrell on an Antarctic Air-Cruise on board Hedridean Sky.
Antarctica21 flight landing in King George island, Antarctica. Photography by Ana Rekus, on a Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise.
Antarctica21 flight landing in King George island, Antarctica. Photography by Anais Rekus, on a Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise.
Antarctic flight landing in Antarctica. Photography by Carlos Machuca on a Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise.
Antarctic flight landing in Antarctica. Photography by Carlos Machuca on a Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise.

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Ready to Start Planning?

Antarctica is like no other place on earth, and we would love to welcome you there. Complete this short form to receive a customized quote from our team and start planning your Antarctic fly-cruise adventure today.