Cayman Airways – One of the Eight Best Airlines for 2015?

Sir Turtle on Plane

I am a fan of our national carrier, Cayman Airways – who wouldn’t love an airline that gives out free rum punch and allows not just one but TWO FREE checked bags (or truck tires, as the case may be – story later) – but, really, one of the 8 GREAT AIRLINES for 2015?!!  Really?!!!

This was considered newsworthy on the Cayman Islands’ local news in early October and, well, this I had to read more about.  Turns out that Richard Bangs of travel blogging fame (he is also an author, videographer and currently hosts two shows on PBS), identified Cayman Airways as one of eight airlines that he found “exceptional”.  We are all familiar with the exotic ads for the likes of Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates but….Cayman Airways?!  Huh?

Richard calls it the “Bird of Paradise”.  He lauds the free rum punch (there is also fruit punch for those of you who do not imbibe alcohol), the two free checked bags and the lack of an ordinary airport in Grand Cayman (not all of us agree about this part but….).  The article is accompanied by a youtube video (taken in 2012) and after watching, I fell in love with my adopted country all over again.

And now the truck tire story….we were coming home from our first trip out of Grand Cayman after moving here in 2007.  As many do when they get “island fever”, we had spent a long weekend in Miami, shopping (and eating) ourselves until we couldn’t move.  We cleared immigration and were waiting for our luggage, very excited as Cayman Airways allows two free checked bags and we had been on a spending binge (there isn’t a lot of shopping available on an island with less than 55,000 people).  Customs generally allows each resident to bring in CI$350 (about US$417) of goods duty free and we were making the most of our first opportunity.  The luggage started spilling out onto the conveyor and out popped two truck tires!  An older man calmly picked them up and rolled them over to the customs line and, after presenting his receipts, carried on out of the airport!  Since duty is usually 22% on goods brought in from overseas, this man had just saved himself quite a bit of money.  No freight charges (Cayman Airways let him use his two checked bag allowance for the tires) and no duty!  Smart man!  These weren’t the only non-luggage items that came off the conveyor (regularly seen are televisions and vacuum cleaners) but were still the oddest…what do you think another carrier would have done?

So, if you are coming to Grand Cayman through any of New York, Dallas, Chicago, Tampa or Miami in the United States….give it a go; as Richard says, take the Bird of Paradise (Cayman Airways also flies to Havana (Cuba), Montego Bay and Kingston (Jamaica), Le Ceiba (Honduras) and Panama).

It will also be of some comfort to those “nervous nellies” who don’t like to fly (e.g., my son) that Cayman Airways has a perfect track record!

And, if you need another reason to try it out, who can resist an airline that has a pirate turtle as its official mascot?  Sir Turtle greets every passenger when you embark and disembark from a Cayman Airways’ plane.  And now that I’ve written this, I can suddenly see why it’s on the list….go Cayman Airways!

Sir Turtle