Since Cyprus is a small island, the vast majority of visitors come by air. There are two airports in the south of the island: a small one in Paphos, and a larger, recently modernised one in Larnaka. There are several different airlines who operate flights to Cyprus from the UK and elsewhere, including some budget airlines which operate direct flights, and others who provide more flexibility if you would prefer a stopover.
Gone are the days when travel agents were the best place to find good prices. Sites such as Expedia are not always good value, either. If you want to find the best value flights, you will have to spend some time looking at the different flight operators’ websites, preferably with flexible dates so that you can check the varying options for different days of the week. School holidays times – including British half term breaks – tend to make the prices soar.
Note too that many airlines have both ‘economy’ priced seats, and super-economy too, which often sell out quickly. If you find a good value flight on the dates you want, it is best to book it immediately since even a few hours’ delay can lead to all those seats being taken, and only higher priced seats being available.
Important: Make a note of what is included in your flight and what is extra – some airlines include checked luggage in their basic fare; some provide meals and drinks; some charge extra for paying by credit card; some do not tell you the airport tax costs until you are about to finalised your transaction. A flight which appears excellent value at first glance may turn out to be quite expensive when you take into account the ‘extras’. Read the airline terms and conditions too, to find out whether flight dates can be changed if necessary, and whether there is a refund if you have to cancel. You may want to take out flight insurance if this is likely to be a problem.
Below are links to some of the airlines which we or friends have used to come to Cyprus from the UK, in recent years. They are not the only options; if you have other recommendations, please let me know. If you are flying from somewhere other than the UK, you may sometimes find that it is better value to book a flight to London, and then a separate one to Cyprus rather than taking a direct flight.
Direct flights to Cyprus from the UK
British Airways – if money is no object, BA may be your best option. Meals provided, reasonable comfort, excellent staff, and direct flights most days. Occasionally there are good value offers, but generally they are not particularly good value to Cyprus.
Monarch – a no-frills airline which has rather cramped seats and no free food or drink, but is usually on time or even a little early. You have to pay extra for checked luggage, and can buy some drinks or snacks on board; you can also take your own food and drinks, if bought after going through security at the airport. They fly from Birmingham, London and Manchester.
EasyJet – another no-frills airline with similar policies to Monarch. They fly from various airports in the UK including London Gatwick and Stansted. A bonus is that while checked luggage is limited to the usual 20kg, and hand luggage has to be within a certain size, the only weight restriction for hand luggage is that the passenger must be able to lift it.
Direct charter flights (peak times of year only)
Thomas Cook – mostly package flights, usually just available during the summer and other holiday periods. You can book just flights with them as well as entire holiday packages, which can be excellent value if you choose an off-peak time when they are still operating. Note that your flight may be filled with noisy holidaymakers!
Thompson – similar to Thomas Cook, this airline offers package deals, or seats on charter flights at certain times of year.
Flights via other European countries
Lufthansa – flights via Germany (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich or Zurich), with varying length stopovers. They provide meals and drinks, and are reasonably comfortable. Prices vary enormously, however; sometimes they can be excellet value, sometimes extremely expensive. If you use this airline, do check that your connections in Germany arrive and leave from the same airport!
KLM – flights via Amsterdam, with friendly staff and reasonable service. Often not particularly good value to Cyprus, however.
Austrian Air – flights via Vienna. Reasonably comfortable, friendly staff, basic meals. Can sometimes be good value.
Aegean Air – flights via Athens, which is not as close to Cyprus as many people imagine. Again, prices and times vary.