How to fly to Cuba

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The first couple of times I visited Cuba, I was unable to fly directly as there were no direct flights to this beautiful country from the US. Starting in December 2016, several US-based airlines began service to Cuba eliminating the need for the previous convoluted route some of us had to take. Even more exciting, it won’t take you a lot of money to make your dream come true. I am going to show you how to fly to Cuba!

As of this writing, 8 US based airlines (Alaska, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United) fly to Havana from 9 US cities (Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Tampa). 4 of those cities are in Florida, of course, 4 on the East coast and 1 in the West.

In order to get the best prices, I suggest you use several sites to compare prices. I used Google Flights, Priceline, and the airline website. They were pretty close across the board especially if you are flexible with your dates as this will give you the best bang for your buck. Additionally, as always, booking in advance saves you money as well. So let’s start alphabetically with each airline, where they fly from and what it would cost you.

Alaska flies from Los Angeles (LAX) and will cost you ~ $352. (~ = approximately)

American Airlines flies from Charlotte (CLT) at ~ $418 and from Miami (MIA) at ~ $145.

Delta flies from Atlanta (ATL) at ~ $387 from Miami (MIA) at ~ $145 and from New York (JFK) at ~ $273.

Frontier flies from Miami (MIA) at ~ $125! If you include the carry-on fee, your total comes to $155. (Not sure how many people fly without carry on.)

JetBlue flies from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) at ~ $123, from New York at ~ $269 and from Orlando (MCO) at ~ $123!

Southwest flies from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) at ~ $148 and from Tampa (TPA) at ~ $148.

Spirit flies from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) at ~ $155.

United Airlines flies from Newark (EWR) at ~ $261.

As you can see, flying to Cuba from Florida is the most beneficial for your pockets and those in surrounding states can take advantage of this benefit. For example, Flying from Atlanta to Havana will cost you about $387 on Delta. However, if you drove to Orlando, the cost of gas would be about $90 to $140 roundtrip and then you can catch a flight on JetBlue for ~ $123! Potential savings are about $160 if you go this route. My sister and I will be doing something similar for Spring Break. We want to take the little one to Disney World… or is it Land, I never remember. Anyway, we want to take her to the Disney Theme Park in Orlando, so this will work out great for us. We shall drive to Orlando, sightseeing along the way, enjoy the park and then catch JetBlue to Havana.

So you’ve got your flight taken care of, now lodging! I am adventurous and have traveled frequently enough to know that I can secure lodging upon landing. This method hasn’t failed me yet however, Cuba presents a unique set of challenges. With airport internet most places I fly, it is easy to land and then take care of lodging. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, Cuba does not have this (dis)advantage. The adventurous alternative, however, is to trust your cab driver to take you to a Casa like I did on my second visit. Casas are rooms rented out by Cuban families in their homes for next to nothing. The biggest advantage for me was that my money was going directly to the people and secondly, you just can’t beat the home cooked meals they provide! While some Casas are listed on the internet, patience is required as with limited infrastructure, the owners are not always able to check their mail every day. Once you do make contact with a family, they are very gracious and will arrange almost anything for you including airport pickup and even visits out of Havana. Don’t worry. we’ll go over lodging more in the next post.

Visiting Cuba is one big adventure as it is nothing like anything you have probably seen, however, take it all in stride, be open minded and you will have the time of your life. So what are you waiting for, go and book that flight!

 

 

2 Comments on “How to fly to Cuba

  1. Booking a flight is simple. What about securing a visa? What kind of visa did you secure and how were you able to show proof to obtain that visa? I have read that tourist visas are not being distributed to American citizens but other kinds of visas are, for example visas for journalists, visas for students, visas for those providing humanitarian relief etc. what visa were you able to secure?

    • Sam, when I travelled, I never had an issue obtaining a visa. In Mexico City, I was given a form to fill out which listed 12 reasons for visiting. I was told it was a formality and only required of US citizens. Departing from Panama and the Cayman Islands, I paid $20 for the visa but was not required to fill out any forms. From the research I have done for flights out of the US, it is recommended that you check with each specific airline about their requirements as the visa may be provided at the check-in counter. It also appears to be more expensive to buy your visa in the US: $50.

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