New Direct Flights from the South to Somewhere Else

Nonstop trips to the Bahamas, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and more

A beach with blue water

Photo: tara donne

A view of St. Kitts across the Narrows.

The fewer the stops, the easier the travel. New direct airline routes have recently launched from airports around the South to the rest of the world. Here are a few highlights for a globe-trotter to note:

Atlanta or Miami to Saint Kitts and Nevis

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When the West Indies are calling, Delta’s ATL to SKB route operates Saturdays from December to August, while American Airlines offers a daily MIA to SKB route in the summer. Once you arrive at Bradshaw Airport in Saint Kitts, the boat ride to Nevis is quick. With a volcanic peak at its center, the thirty-six-square-mile island is home to thermal hot springs and the rum-based Killer Bee cocktail at Sunshine’s Bar & Grill. Book a room at the secluded Paradise Beach or at the Four Seasons, where the Nevisian Massage begins with a lemongrass and coconut milk foot soak, and where green vervet monkeys gather around the hotel’s pickleball court and perch on the fence to watch guests play. 

Atlanta to Copenhagen

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The Scandinavian airline SAS launched its service from Atlanta to Copenhagen in June, opening up a new European route for Southerners looking to cool off no matter the time of year. Copenhagen is a buzzy place for eco-conscious travelers, with notable bicycle use and free kayak rentals along the city’s famous canals for visitors who pick up trash. Stay at one of the many Danish hotels awarded Green Key designations, like Nimb, a boutique property that faces the lovely Tivoli Gardens. 

Atlanta to Curaçao

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Late last year, Delta began offering daily flights from Atlanta to Curaçao, making it easier than ever to experience this vibrant island paradise, which is also home to the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Caribbean. If you’re dreaming of a tropical escape, Curaçao’s pristine beaches, colorful coral reefs, and rich culture are perfect for a sun-soaked getaway. 

Charlotte to Calgary

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Mountain lovers can now easily head to Calgary in Alberta, Canada, which sits alongside the Canadian Rockies, Banff, and Jasper National Park. American Airlines’ weekly direct flights mean the Calgary Stampede (the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, which has been taking place every summer for over a century) is just a hop away. 

Raleigh to Paris

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We’ll always have Paris, but it’s not just Atlanta that can get Southerners there directly. Just in time for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Air France is offering a direct flight from Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to the City of Light. Strolling along the Seine, exploring historic areas like rue Crémieux (the most colorful street in Paris), or sipping fancy cocktails at Little Red Door just got a little easier for more of us. 

Charlotte, Miami, Atlanta, and Houston to Tulum

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Thanks to Tulum’s new—and first—airport, you can now get to the Yucatán Peninsula’s hottest destination from four Southern cities in under three hours. In March, Delta began offering daily flights from Atlanta to Tulum, while American Airlines debuted new routes from both Charlotte and Miami, and United Airlines launched weekly flights from Houston—perfect for Southern travelers wanting to explore ancient ruins, beach clubs, and arts and culture in this dreamy Mexican town. 

Miami to Bonaire

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Another balmy destination worth exploring is Bonaire via Miami on American Airlines. Starting this December, American will upgrade its current three-times-weekly winter service to a daily schedule. Additionally, the airline will offer two flights on Saturdays, resulting in eight weekly flights. Off the coast of Venezuela, the 112-square-mile Dutch Caribbean island is a playground for diving, birdwatching, and hiking. More draws: caves, lagoons, and a national park that’s home to donkeys, flamingoes, parrots, and lizards.

New Orleans to Puerto Rico 

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In May 2024, Spirit Airlines began offering nonstop flights from New Orleans (MSY) to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where U.S. citizens and permanent residents don’t need a passport to enter. (The U.S. territory can also be accessed by direct flights from other Southern airports.) Wander the colorful streets of Old San Juan, visit the historic El Morro fortress, and sunbathe on the shores of Isla Verde. For the adventurous, Puerto Rico boasts lush rainforests, bioluminescent bays, and world-class surfing. Savor traditional dishes like mofongo, and rest your head at Dreamcatcher by DW, which is linked to its sister properties in Wilmington, North Carolina. Dreamcatcher is San Juan’s only vegetarian boutique hotel, and it’s just a block from the beach.

P.S. There’s a new private terminal experience in Atlanta—called PS

photo: Galina Juliana

If you’re flying through Atlanta, start your journey with a visit to PS, a new private luxury terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Formerly known as the Private Suite, PS offers private TSA and Customs clearance. The terminal features work by local artists and a bar with caviar and champagne. Unsukay, the restaurant group behind Atlanta’s Roshambo and Muss & Turner’s, runs the dining program. In the next few years, PS plans to open two new Southern terminals in Miami and Dallas.