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Language: Dutch | Currency: Bahamian dollar (ƒ) | Local time: (UTC-5:00) | Average flight time: 10.00hrs
During summer, Thomson Airways operates the UK’s only direct flights to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), which is named after the Netherlands’ former head of state.
A weekly flight leaves on Tuesdays from London Gatwick (LGW) between April and October – and sometimes until mid-November – while a newer Manchester (MAN) service departs every Monday from May to October.
The journey time on these direct flights to Aruba is about nine-and-a-half hours.
Thomson’s chartered flights sometimes have remaining seats, but these can be pricey, so it is often cheaper to fly indirect to Aruba via Europe. Crucially, this is also the only option for UK visitors wanting some winter sun and an experience of peak-season Aruba.
The European connection is with KLM, changing in Amsterdam Schiphol airport (AMS). KLM’s service from Schiphol to Aruba departs twice a week, on Thursdays and Fridays. Expect to be in the air for about 13 hours in total between London and Queen Beatrix Airport.
It’s also possible to fly via the USA, should you fancy a twin-centre city-and-beach trip. Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), Washington (IAD), Chicago (ORD), Philadelphia (PHL) and Orlando (MCO) all boast direct flights to Aruba, while both national carrier Aruba Airlines and American Airlines fly nonstop from Queen Beatrix to Miami (MIA).
The total journey time for these routes from the UK is approximately 13 hours, or 14 through Philadelphia or Chicago.
The lowest fares for Aruba flights are available in winter: between November and February, but outside of the festive period.
It tends to be slightly cheaper to fly to Aruba via the US than through Amsterdam with KLM, although it’s more time in the air. However, some fares involve long stopover times, so shop around carefully before booking.
Between spring and autumn (low season in Aruba), Thomson’s services from Gatwick and Manchester to Aruba are cheapest in late April and May (the Manchester service only begins in the first week of May), and then after mid September. That excludes the Easter school holidays (Gatwick route only), though. Deals are available year-round, but particularly common during winter.
Visas aren’t required for UK citizens staying in Aruba for less than 30 days; you only need to present a valid passport and proof of your return ticket home. Multi-country Caribbean permits are available for travellers considering an island-hopping trip.