By Alexander Britell
There’s not enough air conditioning. There’s no Wi-Fi. Or there’s nowhere to eat once you go through security. Or there is somewhere to eat, but it’s overpriced and, well, terrible. Or the airport staff are unnecessarily rude.
These are some of the things we feel when traveling in certain Caribbean airports, big or small.
And while some countries have looked forward and opened state-of-the-art terminals (like Antigua and Nassau, and soon, hopefully soon, St Vincent), at far too many Caribbean airports these complaints tend to linger.
That’s why it was such a shock when I arrived at a tiny airport on the island of Cayman Brac.
There was air conditioning. There was Wi-Fi — fast Wi-Fi! There was even an outdoor observation deck to watch incoming flights! Even better, the security officers were actually friendly – rare not just for the Caribbean but just about anywhere in the world.
Cayman Brac’s Charles Kirkconnell International Airport even had a bar-restaurant called the Rainbow Cafe and even some shopping.
For the first time — perhaps ever — I was a bit disappointed when they called the flight to board for Little Cayman.
But the remarkable thing is that this is, yes, a small airport.
But it has big dreams.
Miguel Martin, airport manager, told me the plan is to make this little airport an international-standard place.
While it currently serves around four flights a day from Grand Cayman (along with short jumps to and from Little Cayman), the idea is to receive international flights from Miami in the not too distant future. That means direct flights to the Brac, on the very long 6000-foot runway.
“That’s our plan — we have the infrastructure, we recently met TSA requirements, so we can do international flights to and from the US,” he told me.
That could include both flights to the US and to Cuba.
How refreshing, when too many airports in the region leave a less than sweet taste for many travelers to the region.
And how refreshing that this airport continues to want to get better.
This may be a small airport, but it’s the best small airport in the Caribbean. And one of the best — period.
Did I mention the Wi-Fi?