Last October I sadly posted about American Airlines canceling their long running JFK-Barbados flight – American Axes One of my Favorite JFK Routes – Caribbean Left with Just a Few Flights. I lamented that this was one of my favorite JFK-Caribbean flights on AA for a bunch of reasons:
- Barbados always seemed to be less touristy than the other Caribbean locals with direct NYC based flights (less US tourists anyway…very big with the UK). Friendly locals,beautiful uncrowded beaches, and a great Hilton as well.
- Award availability was fantastic. My family of four flew Dec 24th returning December 30th two years ago, all on MileSAAver awards at35K. We’ve done that to several other Caribbean location each and every year on AA for 11 years now!
- Since award availability was so fantastic, there was always Avios availability as well. I was able to avoid a NYC blizzard last year and escape to Barbados last minute using an AAdvantage MileSAAver award booked via British Airways Avios. The total cost was $47.50 in taxes and only 12,500 Avios points (instead of 17,500 AA miles) each way!
That left AA with non-stop Caribbean service from JFK to only Antigua (ANU), St. Kitts (SKB) once per week, Port-au-Prince (PAP), San Juan (SJU), St. Maarten (SXM), and St. Thomas (STT). A far cry from the days when we’d sit down at the table and look at AA’s “Where We Fly” map to pick our next Caribbean winter vacation spot, always a new destination.
In any case, Delta yesterday announced the launch of their flights from ATL and JFK, though they will only be operated twice per week. Here’s that press release:
Barbados and Delta Air Lines (DAL) today announce a collaboration on new nonstop service this winter to the Caribbean island. Travelers from the Eastern and Central regions of the U.S. now have a new reason to head to the sun-drenched island, with nonstop flights beginning on December 4, 2014, twice weekly between Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown and both New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where connections to cities across the United States are available.
Flights will operate Thursdays and Saturdays, and two flights will start simultaneously, one from New York into Barbados and then onto Atlanta; and then a second one originating in Atlanta, traveling to Barbados and on to New York.
Available for purchase now, round-trip flight times from JFK and ATL to Bridgetown, Barbados are as follows:
The two spacious Boeing 737 aircrafts have a seating capacity of 160, consisting of 16 business class seats, 18 economy comfort seats and 126 economy seats on each flight. The 737 offers travelers amenities including complimentary personal television programming with 18 free channels from DISH Network, comfortable leather seats and up to 4 more inches of legroom with Economy Comfort.
Not unsurprisingly award availability is a bit different than AA’s. There is absolutely no Saver award availability for the entire schedule loaded in economy or first.
Well, at least a direct NYC flight to Barbados that is redeemable with points has returned. The majority of my SkyMiles were obtained on the cheap, so I could consider a standard award for 55K miles depending on how bad I want to escape winter. Note that JetBlue currently operates JFK-BGI as well and flights can be redeemed using TrueBlue points…though I don’t have many.