Flights to Antarctica






Antarctica in a Day: Antarctic Flights

You can take a flight to Antarctica and visit the region in as little as one day.

Instead of crossing the Drake Passage from South America to Antarctica by ship—a journey of approximately 50 hours—you can opt to make the journey by plane, bypassing 500 miles of potentially rough sea.

Between October and March, flights to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile get passengers to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands (and vice versa) in approximately 2 hours.

If you’re short on time but longing to visit the Antarctic, contact LANDED about flights to Antarctica and our One-Day Antarctic Program. Between October and March, you can take a flight from southern Chile to King George Island, visit cultural and natural sites in the Antarctic region, and return to Chile on the same day.

Roundtrip flights to Antarctica start at US $6,660 per person. Overnight programs start at US $7,870 per person.

Antarctica Express Sample Itinerary

The itinerary for the express Antarctica programs follows this plan:

  • Early morning flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile—Fly over the Straits of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego and the Darwin Mountains, Cape Horn, and the Drake Passage. Times vary with weather conditions. Flight time is approximately two hours.
  • Land at Frei Station, King George Island in the South Shetland Islands—Visit to Villa Las Estrellas, the island’s colorful Chilean town first populated by civilians.
  • Zodiac navigation to Ardley Island to visit the Gentoo Penguin colony (approximately 4,500 breeding pairs)—The island is also home to smaller populations of Adelie Penguins and Chinstrap Penguins, as well as petrels, skuas, and terns.
  • Continue by Zodiac to the Collins Glacier—Take in Antarctic views from the sea.
  • Lunch or Snack—Depending on the time of flight arrival.
  • Visit the Russian Orthodox Church— Located at Bellingshausen Station in Collins Harbor (Russia).
  • Flight from Frei Station to Punta Arenas, Chile—Times vary with weather conditions. Flight time is approximately two hours.

Total time on King George Island with the Antarctica Express itinerary is usually around five hours.

All Antarctic activities and flights are subject to weather conditions. Because the programs are weather-dependent, passengers need to be mentally prepared for early or late departures.

When booking a flight to Antarctica, travel insurance is a must.

San Pedro Claver

Overnight Stay on King George Island

LANDED can also arrange an overnight stay at a camp on King George Island, located in the South Shetland Islands off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

These temporary ice camps offer accommodation on a private basis, or for groups of up to 16 guests. The shelters at these camps are basic but comfortable. Meals and transport (via Hagglunds or snowmobiles) can also be arranged.

During your stay, LANDED can arrange wildlife viewing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and Zodiac cruising.

San Pedro Claver

Antarctica Air-Cruise Combinations

Two companies now offer Antarctic flight-plus-cruise options, allowing travelers to fly over the Drake Passage, substituting a 2-hour flight to Antarctica for the approximately 50-hour journey by ship. Some programs offer flights in both directions, or you can fly in and take a ship back out.

Flights to Antarctica operate between the commercial airport in Punta Arenas (in Chile’s far south) and Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva (a Chilean base on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands). The “Frei Station” base serves some meteorological functions, but the 1300-meter gravel airstrip (Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin Airport; IATA: TNM) is its most noteworthy feature. The airstrip handles approximately 50 intercontinental Antarctica flights and 150 intracontinental flights per season.

Nearby research bases are operated by Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Russia, Korea, China, Poland, and Uruguay. Some Antarctica programs include visits to one of these neighboring bases.

LANDED Antarctica flights are aboard a powerful BAe (British Aerospace) 146: a four-engine jet aircraft with two pilots.

Once you’ve arrived in Antarctica by air, you can board a cruise ship for sailing in the calmer, protected waters between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Air Cruises

Antarctica Air-Cruise Sample Itinerary

Antarctica Air-cruise programs vary in length and itinerary. Some are as long as 21 days and include the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island.

An 8-day air-cruise program might have a plan such as this:

Day 1

Flight to Punta Arenas, Chile from Santiago (or after independent touring in Patagonia)

Day 2

Flight to Antarctica. Arrive at Frei Station and travel overland to the coast (some programs are on foot, others by specialized snow vehicle). Embark by Zodiac transfers to the ship. Begin navigation.

Days 3, 4, 5, & 6

Explore the South Shetland Islands and the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, with Zodiac and shore excursions.

Day 7

Return to the Frei Station airstrip for your return flight to Punta Arenas, Chile. Stay overnight at a hotel in Punta Arenas.

Day 8

Flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago (or begin independent touring in Patagonia or other locations in Chile).
Because flights to Antarctica are weather-dependent, passengers need to be mentally prepared for early or late departures.

Since air-cruise operations began in 2003, approximately 82% have left on time.

Another 14% of Antarctica flights operated either one day early or one day late. Roughly 3% flew with a delay of two days. Less than 1% operated three days late.

Approximately 1% of Antarctic air cruises were canceled (i.e. could not operate by 2 PM on Day 4).

San Pedro Claver

Fleet Options

BAe 146 Jet Aircraft

These muscular regional jets are designed for short landings and takeoffs on unprepared surfaces. Their engines are unusually quiet. Premium (window) seats can be purchased, and meal service is provided.

The BAe 146 regional jet has a maximum capacity of 72 passengers, with a maximum cargo capacity of 7,200 kilograms. Wingspan is 26.21 meters. It has a length of 28.6 and a height of 8.61.

On-board meal service is provided. Premium seats—window seats coveted by photographers—can be booked at request.

King Air 300 Aircraft

The Beechcraft King Air 300 is a twin-engine, turbo-prop aircraft, with a 16.6 meter wingspan and length of 13.15 meters. These regional aircraft are suitable for short landings and takeoffs on unprepared surfaces.

The King Air 300 has a maximum capacity of six passengers, in addition to its two pilots. The cabin is pressurized.

On-board meal service is provided. Premium seats—window seats coveted by photographers—can also be booked.

Usually, the luggage weight limit—the combined allowance of checked and hand luggage—is set at 20 kilograms (44 pounds) per passenger. This limit is strictly controlled; additional weight would change the operation of the Frei Station airstrip.

It is not possible to obtain a higher allowance by paying a fee. Instead, excess luggage can be stored in Punta Arenas. Laundry service is available onboard the ships, and the dress code on board is “Stay warm.”

When you fly, you’ll already be wearing your cold-weather gear; that gear will not be counted as part of your checked or carry-on luggage.

Helicopter Charter Flights and Tours

LANDED arranges private helicopter flights to and tours of Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, and the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctic.

Fleet options include:

Eurocopter AS 355
The Eurocopter AS 355 F2 helicopters have capacity for 5 passengers, not including the pilot. Maximum cargo capacity, with passengers, is 200 kilograms.

The BO-105 helicopters have capacity for 4 passengers, not including the pilot. Maximum cargo capacity, with passengers, is 200 kilograms.

San Pedro Claver

Scenic Overflight and Helicopter Flights

Scenic helicopter overflights and tours are available in these locations throughout Patagonia and Antarctica:

  • Darwin Mountain Range glacier overflight
  • Cape Horn overflight
  • Fly fishing helicopter day trips
  • From El Calafate, Argentina
  • Overflight of El Chalten, with views of Mount Fitz Roy
  • Overflight of the Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Overflight of Lago Argentino and Mount Buenos Aires
  • On the island of Tierra del Fuego
  • Fly fishing on Strobel Lake
  • From Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Day trip to the king penguin colony at Bahia Inutil
  • Overflight of Marinelli Glacier
  • Fly fishing day trips
  • Day trips to Cape Horn National Park

Start your journey today

At LANDED, we know booking a flight to Antarctica can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Should you need assistance beyond the information in this guide, feel free to reach out to one of our expert Antarctica travel planners at your convenience.

Albums & Stories

LANDED’s Top Wildlife Encounters

Explore LANDED's top wildlife encounters, from puma tracking in Patagonia to kayaking with whales in...

Responsible Tips for Conscious Travelers

Sustainable tourism is not just a buzzword; it's a commitment to making ethical choices that...

Travel to Antarctica with Kids

Visiting Antarctica as a family can be magical and meaningful. The landscapes, wildlife, and shared...

Antarctica Express: One or Two-Day Programs

Want to visit the Antarctic, but have limited time? Now, more than ever, you can...

Antarctica Travel Album

LANDED knows the best experiences, air-cruise, cruise, and lodge options for Antarctica. Let's talk about how you...

Antarctica Packing List

When traveling to Antarctica, the right gear makes all the difference. You’re headed to one...