SIBILLE From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 464 posts, RR: 3 Posted (1 year 11 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4013 times:
Here is a short report of my trip to Cayo Largo on January 12th 2012.
I booked the one day tour at Havana Park Central hotel. The total cost was 166 US$ (included airport transfer, flights, island and boat tour + food and drinks).
I was crossing my fingers to fly an An-26 but the morning flight was ATR-42 operated. I asked at the airport desk if it was possible to fly an An-26, they gave me two phone numbers (2030686 + 2030668).
The flight from Havana to Cayo Largo was 35 minutes.
In the morning, we visited the Marina and boarded the boat for a tour to Iguana islands, some nice places and arrived at Sirena beach at +/- 1 PM. There, we had food and drink. The guide told us to be back at the bar at 5 PM to go back to the airport for the flight back to Havana.
I asked him if it was possible to call the airport and know wich aircraft will operate the evening flight. I told him I wanted to fly an An-26 and was ready to buy a new ticket, even to Varadero (from where I could take a taxi back to Havana).
He introduced me to n old man who was a former An-26 pilot. That man told me there were two flight to Havana this day (my flight at 06:30 PM with an ATR and an other one at 06:20 PM with an An-26).
As soon as we get back at the airport, I asked the ground staff is it was possible to change my flight with the An-26 one. I was very lucky because there was one seat avaible on the An-26 and they gave me a new boarding car. I didn't pay any fee for that!
So, if you want to make that flight, call one of these numbers. The An-26 are still flying!
Here is the video
anfromme From Ireland, joined Feb 2012, 378 posts, RR: 11 Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2136 times:
We also flew from UPB to CYO recently (end of March). It was my wife's wish to go to Cayo Largo del Sur, and previous trip reports indicated that the ATR42 usually gets to do the honours on that route, so even she - with her latent fear of flying - wasn't too worried.
At the airport, there was initially no airplane at all - after our return flight, our impression was that they open that airport twice a day: once in the morning for three our four outbound flights, and again in the evening, for the return flights.
An ATR42-500 arrived first, so we thought everything was going to be as expected.
Then, a Cubana An-24 arrived, followed by an Aerogaviota An-26. The ATR42 was the first to leave - without us, as it was bound for Cayo Santa Maria. The Cubana An-24 left next, bound, as we were, for CYO. And lastly, we got to board the Aerogaviota An-26 (CU-T1406) via the rear ramp stairs. At that point, my wife was glad I'd done some research about the amount of cabin windows the An-26 has - there weren't any pre-assigned seat numbers, so she dashed to the airplane and grabbed a window seat. I have to say that the cabin was quite a dark place otherwise. The flight itself was short and sweet - and pretty loud, as we were seated just behind the engines. The flight attendand made her announcements without the aid of any PA system. A nice touch were the sweets and the coffee, served Cuban style, i.e. very strong and served in espresso-like shots.
Arrival in CYO was very all-inclusive-land indeed: a Cuban band and dancing couple positioned at the baggage belt was welcoming passengers.
The return flight a couple of days later was on an An-24 (CU-T1214). This time, we did get properly printed boarding cards with seat assignments. The aircraft was in full Cubana colours, but had Aerogaviota window curtains and seats inside. To round of the picture, the flight attendand was wearing a Cubana uniform. This evening flight was much less enjoyable - although I blame that on the pilot rather than the plane. He tried to do a taxi-and-take-off in one go, already increased throttle significantly - and then realised he was way off the centre line. So we got treated to some pretty hard braking action, stalling propellers and a sudden hard veer to the left. Followed by full throttle. Seemed like an interesting manouevre, I have to say.