If you’ve ever dreamed of really getting away from it all, now is your chance, thanks to SA Airlink’s brand-new route to Saint Helena — one of the world’s most remote locations. It's the island's first regularly scheduled passenger flight.
During the inaugural six-hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Saint Helena on Saturday, passengers enjoyed champagne and chocolates.
Saturday's monumental flight marked the very first time travelers were able to reach Saint Helena by air. Prior to this journey, the only way for visitors to enter and exit the British-ruled territory in the middle of the South Atlantic was by a two-week, round-trip boat voyage.
In fact, before SA Airlink launched this new route, Saint Helena’s airport was dubbed the world’s “most useless,” because of its lack of visitors and incredibly windy conditions.
“It is staggering that the Department commissioned and completed the St. Helena airport before ascertaining the effect of prevailing wind conditions on landing commercial aircraft safely at St. Helena,” a U.K. House of Commons committee wrote in a 2016 report on the airport.
So why risk the high winds and a perilous landing? As the Denver Post explained, the island of Saint Helena was the last place Napoleon called home.
After the French military leader was defeated at the battle of Waterloo, he was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena in 1815. It was there that he died in 1821. Napoleon's body was later exhumed and entombed at Les Invalides in Paris. But his empty grave in Saint Helena remains a popular tourist destination.
And since the island is “a long way from a long way," as Governor Lisa Phillips described Saint Helena, its environment has been perfectly preserved. This makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers willing to cross land and sea. Now, all you have to do now is fly to Johannesburg and board SA Airlink’s once weekly flight (and hope for calm skies).