doulasc
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Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:42 pm

I have read on airchive.com when a charter flight lands in Havana(or anywhere in Cuba) from the US the flight crew staff can not exit the aircraft to go into the terminal to use the restroom,buy food form one of the food vendors or browse the gift shop. The aircraft does not take on fuel,stock for the galley,or get the lavatory tanks serviced.No overnight stay,the plane must leave the same day. If the charter flight is from say New York the plane would have to make a fuel stop in Florida on the way back.
 
winstonlegthigh
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:33 pm

Didn't even know that flights from US to Cuba were happening. That said, That'll show 'em! What better way to let someone know that they're not your friend than forbidding them from flipping through an over-priced Sports Illustrated magazine in your gift shop? What's next- inviting everyone else in the 3rd grade to your birthday party except for them?
Never has gravity been so uplifting.
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:37 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
I have read on airchive.com when a charter flight lands in Havana(or anywhere in Cuba) from the US the flight crew staff can not exit the aircraft to go into the terminal to use the restroom,buy food form one of the food vendors or browse the gift shop

They fail to consider Guantanamo Bay a.k.a. GITMO Several years ago I had the opportunity to fly a weekly scheduled ATA 738 from UGM http://flightaware.com/live/airport/MUGM to Naval Stations JAX and Norfolk and thereafter to to MDW.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:40 pm

Quoting winstonlegthigh (Reply 1):
That said, That'll show 'em! What better way to let someone know that they're not your friend than forbidding them from flipping through an over-priced Sports Illustrated magazine in your gift shop

Wrong end of the stick there its your government that places those restrictions on your citizens not Cuba !

It is against the law (without express permission from the US treasury ) to spend any money in the Republic of Cuba.
It also a criminal offence to travel to Cuba without express authority through many do so via Mexico and Canada.
 
kpitrrat
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:48 pm

Quoting winstonlegthigh (Reply 1):
That said, That'll show 'em! What better way to let someone know that they're not your friend than forbidding them from flipping through an over-priced Sports Illustrated magazine in your gift shop?

OP is talking about US flight crews going to Havana.

Yes that is what an embargo is all about. You do not give the country business.

Getting on a flight to Havana you have to have a very legitimate reason to be going there. Educational work, missionary/volunteer work, or have family living there among a few.
 
FlyHossD
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:02 pm

Quoting kpitrrat (Reply 4):
OP is talking about US flight crews going to Havana.

It's been years ago now, but I did a few trips to HAV. As I recall, the crew was allowed off the airplane and into the terminal. We departed about an hour after arrival.

I was told by other crews that you could purchase a few things in the terminal - say, 2 or 3 cigars - and bring them back to the U.S. However, I didn't attempt it.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
winstonlegthigh
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:05 pm

Quoting kpitrrat (Reply 4):
Wrong end of the stick there its your government that places those restrictions on your citizens not Cuba !

To clarify, that's the gist of what I meant- I glanced through the OP's post and took it as Cuban flights that stopped over in the US. I'm well aware that no one can top the US when it comes to pettiness.

[Edited 2013-07-31 10:07:09]
Never has gravity been so uplifting.
 
s4popo
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:06 pm

Quoting winstonlegthigh (Reply 1):

There are plenty of daily flights to Cuba. See Sun Country Airlines, Sky King, and World Atlantic Airlines. In addition to these three, AA also offers flights. Tickets must be purchased through travel agencies specializing in these charters.


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RP TPA
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:33 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
can not exit the aircraft to go into the terminal to use the restroom
Quoting kpitrrat (Reply 4):
You do not give the country business

Obviously, we may be talking about another type of "business" here.
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:58 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):

Did you also know the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires all international trash be collected and burned. It cannot enter a U.S. landfill. It must be incinerated within a short amount of time after arriving on U.S. soil. The expense is goofy, something just shy of a $1 a bag.

If a U.S. flagged carrier or the military fails to abide by the rule it cost them thousands of dollars in fines. In the military a call goes out to for a special vehicle to pick it up the rubbish on the Tarmac. The aircraft commander must sign the trash was disposed of in a approved manner.
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greenair727
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:05 pm

^I never knew that about "foreign trash". What's the rationale behind this?
 
miaami
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:12 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
I have read on airchive.com when a charter flight lands in Havana(or anywhere in Cuba) from the US the flight crew staff can not exit the aircraft to go into the terminal to use the restroom,buy food form one of the food vendors or browse the gift shop

Not true. Crews frequently get off the aircraft and go inside the terminals.
 
bohica
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:30 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
No overnight stay,the plane must leave the same day.

I'm sure consideration is taken if the airplane develops a technical issue while in Cuba.

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
If the charter flight is from say New York the plane would have to make a fuel stop in Florida on the way back.

Says who? Depending on payload, type of plane, WX, etc, it is possible to round trip the fuel from NY to Cuba. Also there is nothing that says a charter from NY has to return to NY. Depending on the airline the plane may fly to another city in it's route network and then do a revenue flight from there.
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:39 pm

Quoting greenair727 (Reply 10):
I never knew that about "foreign trash". What's the rationale behind this?

All trash from international flights into the US has to be incinerated. The trash carts are marked with big orange stickers that say "International Trash." Flight attendants take great delight in removing them and placing them on one of our colleagues back when they are working.

The purpose is to prevent the unintentional spread of disease and insects into US agricultural markets.
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Rafabozzolla
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:45 pm

A bit off topic...

If I am not an US national, can I freely travel to Cuba from the USA?
 
rfields5421
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:46 pm

Quoting greenair727 (Reply 10):
What's the rationale behind this?

I would expect many countries to have the same policy.

There are many places where absolutely no agricultural products can be brought in by airline passengers - or severe restrictions. The trash from such aircraft would of course have to be incinerated soon after arrival.

Milk is a huge no-no to import into most countries.

I've had customs at NRT confiscate ice cream in dry ice from the Philippines.
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:16 pm

Quoting greenair727 (Reply 10):
^I never knew that about "foreign trash". What's the rationale behind this?
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 13):
The purpose is to prevent the unintentional spread of disease and insects into US agricultural markets.

I was getting ready to write to keep vermin at bay.

Along the same lines Hawaii although U.S. soil has agriculture an quarantine on quite a few plant things which are not allowed on a plane or brought back to the U.S. mainland.

Not knowing any better I purchased some banana leaves and sword fish in PPG connecting through HNL. I was required to get the swordfish inspected and certified for transport that it was in fact what the package said it was

The canned Wahoo I brought back not a problem. I had to run around PPG to track down the one and only inspector on the island. When all was said and done the banana leaves were not on the quarantine list. I think they were having a little fun with me.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:34 pm

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 14):
If I am not an US national, can I freely travel to Cuba from the USA?

There are a very limited number of flights from Florida to Havana, mainly for former Cuban nationals to visit family and friends. Most Americans go either through Canada or Mexico City to get there. But then you have to be very careful--a Cuban stamp in your passport will raise eyebrows and for US citizens it is a crime to spend US money in Cuba.

That being said, after over 50 years maybe it is time to rethink this whole embargo thing? We went halfway around the word to depose a tyrant and we can't get rid of the one ninety miles off our coast.
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Viscount724
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:07 pm

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 14):
If I am not an US national, can I freely travel to Cuba from the USA?
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 17):
Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 14):
If I am not an US national, can I freely travel to Cuba from the USA?

There are a very limited number of flights from Florida to Havana, mainly for former Cuban nationals to visit family and friends. Most Americans go either through Canada or Mexico City to get there. But then you have to be very careful--a Cuban stamp in your passport will raise eyebrows and for US citizens it is a crime to spend US money in Cuba.

An AC A320 from Montreal to Varadero, Cuba diverted to Orlando on July 6 due to a disruptive passenger. I was curious whether the U.S. authorities would be interested in the identity of any U.S. citizens that may have been on that flight during its stop in the U.S. before continuing to Cuba.

Following from the Transport Canada daily occurrence report.

FAA: TSOC advised of a passenger transported for treatment after an Air Canada Airbus A320 (ACA1662) from Montreal, QC (CYUL) to Varadero, Cuba (MUVR) reported a passenger suffering from an anxiety attack and attempted to open an emergency exit. The aircraft diverted to Orlando, FL (KMCO). Cockpit was secured and passenger was compliant.
 
SPQR
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:28 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):

They probably already know who is on the plane as I think (someone correct me if im wrong) manifests have to be submitted to the US before any international overflights of American soil
 
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RWA380
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:30 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 3):

It also a criminal offence to travel to Cuba without express authority through many do so via Mexico and Canada
Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 5):
I was told by other crews that you could purchase a few things in the terminal - say, 2 or 3 cigars - and bring them back to the U.S. However, I didn't attempt it
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 17):
--a Cuban stamp in your passport will raise eyebrows and for US citizens it is a crime to spend US money in Cuba.

Cuban visas are offered on separate cards that just slip into your passport, which is taken back upon departure. Furthermore I have seen US money exchange hands with merchants and accepted at hotels, the Cuban people are nice and like westerners. I did not know it was illegal to spend US currency, but I do know, anything a F/A would pick up at a store in the terminal, would not be legal to bring back home. Nothing made in Cuba is welcome in the USA. And yes, this is the doing of the US and not Cuba. There are a handful of departure points to Cuba from the USA. MIA is the largest market.
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Viscount724
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:55 pm

Quoting SPQR (Reply 19):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):

They probably already know who is on the plane as I think (someone correct me if im wrong) manifests have to be submitted to the US before any international overflights of American soil

Yes, I forgot that all flights that pass through U.S. airspace have to provide advance passenger lists.
 
HNL
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:15 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 21):

Yes, I forgot that all flights that pass through U.S. airspace have to provide advance passenger lists.

Note to self. Travel to Cuba via Mexico or other Caribbean island.
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RDUDDJI
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:29 pm

I was on a cruise ship last week North of Cuba and we came across a burned out raft, most likely from Cubans trying to make it to the US. By maritime law, the ship was required to investigate the disabled craft to see if help was needed. No one was on board the raft. I spoke to the Captain later, and he said refugees are a very common occurrence in that area and that they've picked some up before en route to CZM (where they were detained by MX customs and likely deported). I guess I didn't realize that was still prevalent.

Quoting HNL (Reply 22):

Note to self. Travel to Cuba via Mexico or other Caribbean island.

But don't get caught. I believe there are significant penalties.
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GentFromAlaska
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:56 pm

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 23):

Very exciting,. It sounds like the what you were experiencing was the AMVER program or Automated-Mutual-Assistance-Vessel- Rescue-System (be it a raft) it is still a maritime vessel. AMVER came about as a result of the Titanic sinking 101 years ago.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
dtw2hyd
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:01 am

Quoting HNL (Reply 22):
Note to self. Travel to Cuba via Mexico or other Caribbean island

Or you can just get Cuba Travel License

http://www.treasury.gov/services/Pages/Cuba-Travel-Licenses.aspx
 
Maverick623
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:42 am

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 14):
If I am not an US national, can I freely travel to Cuba from the USA?

Technically, yes.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 20):
I did not know it was illegal to spend US currency

The only offenses are US citizens spending money without a license, and importing anything from Cuba without a license. The former are handed out sparingly, the latter are pretty much never given. They are both civil offenses, in that you won't serve any jail time... but the fines are pretty hefty.
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vhtje
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:18 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 17):
But then you have to be very careful--a Cuban stamp in your passport will raise eyebrows

With respect, I am not certain that is true, at least for non-US passport holders. I have a Cuban stamp in my passport from 2009 and I have been in and out of the US many times since then - even living off and on in Chicago for 5 months during 2011 - without anything except a polite welcome. The Cuban stamp has never been mentioned.
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trijetsonly
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:08 am

Last time when I was in Cuba, I was asked during immigration weather I want to have a stamp in my passport or not. They didn't tell me why they asked me but I can only imagine because other countries may not like to see a Cuban stamp in the passport.

Anyway, I think it's really funny, that the main currency for tourists on Cuba is the US Dollar. When I was there, everything was payed with Dollar and even the change I was given were Dollars. I had to pay extra to get the colourful Cuban Pesos as a souvenier.

All in all I experienced Cuba as the most easy-to-immigrate coutry that I have ever visited (of around 60 coutries I have visited at all).
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vfw614
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:45 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):
I was curious whether the U.S. authorities would be interested in the identity of any U.S. citizens that may have been on that flight during its stop in the U.S. before continuing to Cuba.

Given the revelations of the past few weeks, do you really think that an US agency must rely on an onboard check to find out who is travelling to Cuba on a certain plane?
 
RyanairGuru
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:56 am

Quoting vhtje (Reply 27):
With respect, I am not certain that is true, at least for non-US passport holders. I have a Cuban stamp in my passport from 2009 and I have been in and out of the US many times since then - even living off and on in Chicago for 5 months during 2011 - without anything except a polite welcome. The Cuban stamp has never been mentioned.

It's only for US citizens. The American Government can't do anything [legally] to impede the free flow of citizens of other countries.
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pvjin
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:14 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 23):
I guess I didn't realize that was still prevalent.

That probably has to do a lot with the law which allows any Cuban "refugee" to easily obtain permanent resident status in the US, unlike all the millions of Mexicans who have entered US territory illegally and often coming from far worse living conditions than these Cubans do.

If that was possible for those Mexicans too I'm sure many times more of them would be coming every year than currently do.

Quoting Trijetsonly (Reply 28):
ast time when I was in Cuba, I was asked during immigration weather I want to have a stamp in my passport or not. They didn't tell me why they asked me but I can only imagine because other countries may not like to see a Cuban stamp in the passport.

Hmm interesting, I wonder if I could get a stamp into my passport if I asked?

I would love to collect stamps from Cuba, Iran and North Korea to my passport and then enter the US and see how the officials at the airport react.
"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." - Voltaire
 
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RWA380
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:24 am

Quoting pvjin (Reply 31):
I would love to collect stamps from Cuba, Iran and North Korea to my passport and then enter the US and see how the officials at the airport react.

No you don't, the patriot act here in the USA, could detain you indefinitely if they wanted to, or felt they needed to, even without charging you with a crime. A stamp from Iran or North Korea would likely get you a trip to a small enclosed room somewhere before you officially enter the country.

Most people who visit North Korea from the US, do the same thing they do with those Cuban visas, you get a passport sized card that you slip into your passport, that is returned upon departure from Pyongyang.
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pvjin
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:34 am

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 32):
No you don't, the patriot act here in the USA, could detain you indefinitely if they wanted to, or felt they needed to, even without charging you with a crime.

Yeah I guess they could but would they, after all imprisoning foreign nationals without any evidence of them causing any danger to anyone isn't exactly good for foreign relations? I doubt being an ethnic Finn who has been in these three countries would make they think I'm a threat to their country, most likely entering the country with those stamps would just result in some hours of questioning I would imagine.

Though really in the near future there are so many other places I find more interesting and are also cheaper to travel into than the US that most likely I'm not going to touch US soil any time soon.

[Edited 2013-08-01 04:39:30]
"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." - Voltaire
 
dtw2hyd
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:01 pm

Quoting pvjin (Reply 31):
I would love to collect stamps from Cuba, Iran and North Korea to my passport and then enter the US and see how the officials at the airport react.

Then you will get one way free ride to different part of Cuba.
 
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pvjin
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:20 pm

Quoting DTW2HYD (Reply 34):
Then you will get one way free ride to different part of Cuba.

Really? Then the US government doesn't seem to be that different form the North Korean one at all.

Oh well, in any case I'm glad I live in the free world and not in some oppressive rogue state that prevents me from traveling to whatever place I want and with whatever passport stamps I happen to have.

[Edited 2013-08-01 05:23:52]
"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." - Voltaire
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:27 pm

Quoting DTW2HYD (Reply 34):
Then you will get one way free ride to different part of Cuba.

Oh stop being ridiculous. No one gets sent to Gitmo just because of a North Korean or Cuban stamp in their passport.
International Homo of Mystery
 
dtw2hyd
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:18 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 36):
Oh stop being ridiculous.

A ridiculous question calls for ridiculous answer. US is not imposing any restrictions on foreign nationals visiting any other country.

A sovereign country can deny entry to a foreign national for any number of reasons. A visitor has no right to demand entry.

Coming back to topic

With Department of Treasury Cuban Travel License even US Citizens can travel to Cuba.

US Citizens can get Iranian visa.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1142.html

US Citizens can Kish Island(Iran) for 14 days without visa.

I don't know US Citizen visa details for DPRK, but people seem to travel to Pyongyang frequently. Just in recent past CNN teams, Google Chairman, New Mexico governor, some NY Symphony orchestra visited North Korea.

People get in trouble only when they avoid legal route and try a misadventure.

[Edited 2013-08-01 06:48:45]
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:22 pm

Quoting DTW2HYD (Reply 37):
A sovereign country can deny entry to a foreign national for any number of reasons.

Correct. Implying that they'd get a "one way free ride to different part of Cuba", inferring Gitmo, is simply irresponsible.
International Homo of Mystery
 
Koosi
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:41 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 32):
A stamp from Iran or North Korea would likely get you a trip to a small enclosed room somewhere before you officially enter the country.

North Korea? Maybe. Iran? I doubt that. There are people entering the U.S. with stamps from Iran or Cuba every day with no issues at all. Hell, even people with Iranian passports. Not to mention immigration officers don't normally go through every single stamp in your passport.

Quoting pvjin (Reply 33):
Though really in the near future there are so many other places I find more interesting and are also cheaper to travel into than the US that most likely I'm not going to touch US soil any time soon.

Good. I don't think most Americans are interested in spoiled European kids lecturing them about their own country anyway.

Quoting pvjin (Reply 35):
Really? Then the US government doesn't seem to be that different form the North Korean one at all.

Oh well, in any case I'm glad I live in the free world and not in some oppressive rogue state that prevents me from traveling to whatever place I want and with whatever passport stamps I happen to have.

 
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 36):
Oh stop being ridiculous. No one gets sent to Gitmo just because of a North Korean or Cuban stamp in their passport.

  
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:02 pm

Quoting vfw614 (Reply 29):

Given the revelations of the past few weeks, do you really think that an US agency must rely on an onboard check to find out who is travelling to Cuba on a certain plane?
Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 30):
It's only for US citizens. The American Government can't do anything [legally] to impede the free flow of citizens of other countries.

The law is on the books but I do not think it is zealously enforced. And no, the US cannot stop persons from a third country to enter Cuba.

It brings back something I said earlier--this embargo has outlived its usefulness. Time to bring down the barriers and let normal trade take place. Major hotel chains have plans drawn to make Cuba a major tourist and cruise destination. It is a win-win situation for everyone. Creates jobs, growth opportunities for American businesses and helps the Cuban people. My guess is that they are just waiting for old Fidel to go to his great reward before acting.
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flymia
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:11 pm

The Miami-Cuba market is a lot bigger than most people think. Plenty of airlines try to get the charters and on any given day there are over 10 flights a day to Cuban cities from just MIA. Other airports have Cuban charters too like FLL, JFK and TPA. Not to the extent that MIA has them though. It is also no longer that difficult to get permission to travel to Cuba. Look at Jay-Z and Beyoncé traveling there. They have no legitimate reason for going to Cuba. People easily make up reasons and go.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 17):
There are a very limited number of flights from Florida to Havana, mainly for former Cuban nationals to visit family and friends.

I would not call it a limited amount of flight. Just today August 1st there are 10 departures from only MIA to Three different cities in Cuba. During certain times of the year there can be as many as 15 or more round trips a day between MIA and Cuban cities. It is also not just HAV there are flights to the other cities in Cuba from MIA. Other airports like JFK, TPA, FLL usually just have flights to HAV.

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 14):
If I am not an US national, can I freely travel to Cuba from the USA?

If you have no immigration status in the U.S. I don't think you can. But you are free to go to any other country and fly to Cuba.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 20):
I did not know it was illegal to spend US currency

It is not, if you get permission to travel there.

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 30):
It's only for US citizens. The American Government can't do anything [legally] to impede the free flow of citizens of other countries.

Right, unless those nationals are going to or from the U.S. of course.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
thrufru
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:14 pm

As someone who operates these flights on a fairly regular basis, I'll give you the low-down of how it works for us. I fly 737-800's primarily from MIA to about half a dozen cities in Cuba and have done so for the past 5 years. With the exception of HAV where they have a dedicated terminal for aircraft arriving from the US, we use the same terminals as any other airline operating in Cuba.

All services are available to any aircraft arriving into Cuba. However, we generally don't avail ourselves to most of them. Our standard practice is to fuel through prior to departing the US. The problem sometimes arises though, where this is not possible. People travelling to Cuba have a tendency to take a tremendous amount of baggage with them (and none coming back). As a result of that, and if we are flying into a smaller city with a short runway, we can find ourselves payload restricted out of the US which would necesitate uploading fuel upon arrival in Cuba.

Additionally, we are always cleaned by Cuban staff. They're great, friendly, efficient and all seem to have a sweet tooth! Most of us really enjoy talking to them and in addtion to offering them a Coke while they clean, we try to bring some candy for them. They're really keen on the mixed bag of Hershey's miniatures and Jolly Ranchers. Go figure! The soda's they drink on the plane as they're likely to be confiscated when they're searched upon exiting. The candy lasts about a nano second...

In regards to catering, it's available, but never taken by us as turns from MIA or most nearby US cities only offer limited beverage services.

When it comes to exiting the aircraft and entering the terminals, that is permitted, too. What isn't though, is spending money. US crews aren't prohibited by the Cubans, but by the US laws in place from doing so. In all honesty, with the exception of cigars or rum, there's not really that much to buy. Most of the terminals (in that they generally only serve doemestic operations with the exception of the US originating ex-pat charter flights) have very limited offerings to begin with. The last time I went into the terminal building in Holguin, I thought I was stepping into a time machine. They had postcards, but they were all at least 30 years old. The few magazines they had were socialist propaganda and the books they offered were all about Che Guevara, Castro or some other luminary of the revolution. About the only thing people "obtain" would be a Cuban Coffee. Those don't cost anything, as they're given in a gesture of friendship and goodwill, however, most folks will give a small gift in return...

It is our company procedure to always have a flight mechanic on board, too. He is capable of handling most issues that would arise on such a trip. In the event that the problem can't be handled in Cuba, the company will procure a ferry permit to allow the aircraft to be returned to the US post haste. Unless one of the engines isn't working, it's pretty much a go. Well, even with one of the engines out (back on the 72)...

The length of ground time in Cuba is also kept to a minimum in all situations. Recently we participated in the Papal Visit by providing flights for the Archdiocese of Miami. Two crews operated MIA-SCU live and then brought the planes empty back to MIA. As the papal mass and the events in Santiago were concluding about 8 hours later, my crew and anther flew MIA-SCU empty to pick up the pilgrims and operate SCU-HAV and then again return empty to MIA. In terms of crew rest and duty day, it would have been perfectly fine to stay in SCU for the day, but that would have been considered a layover, so a lot of gas was unnecessarily burned for three empty flights instead of one.

Lastly, NBW (Gitmo) is a separate beast. Layovers are permitted there just as they would be at any overseas US military facility, but generally don't happen as flights there are usually conducted as turns. Additionally, crews don't normally stay on bases (with a few minor exceptions). Since travel between Gitmo and Cuba doesn't happen, it'd be kind of a challenge to get a local hotel. We have had RON's there but it's always been a MX issues that couldn't be solved with the parts on hand.

This by no means covers all operations from the US to Cuba, but it's how it works for us. Hope it helped to answer the question and enlighten.
 
fly2yyz
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:41 pm

Its incredible seeing all the American passports and finding out that pax are from the US on flights out of YUL/YYZ down to places like VRA, HOG, CMW. There were quite a few Japanese nationals as well that had delayed our YYZ-HAV the other day connecting from the NRT.
 
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pvjin
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:42 pm

Thanks for the explanation, that cleared things up a lot. I've been always wondering how USA - Cuba charter flights operate in practice, at least in your case it doesn't sound so different from regular operations like I thought it would be before.
"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." - Voltaire
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:43 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 32):
No you don't, the patriot act here in the USA, could detain you indefinitely if they wanted to, or felt they needed to, even without charging you with a crime. A stamp from Iran or North Korea would likely get you a trip to a small enclosed room somewhere before you officially enter the country.

Most people who visit North Korea from the US, do the same thing they do with those Cuban visas, you get a passport sized card that you slip into your passport, that is returned upon departure from Pyongyang.

come on don't be dramatic...

1,000s of Americans go to Iran each year. There are travel specials on it.
1,000s of Americans go to Cuba legally each month. Look at the flight board in Miami.
North Korea is a bit of a different story but a handful of Americans go there too.

Half the time CBP don't even page through the passports...
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
flymia
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:30 pm

Quoting thrufru (Reply 42):
This by no means covers all operations from the US to Cuba, but it's how it works for us. Hope it helped to answer the question and enlighten.

Thanks for the great info! Really gave a good "insiders" view on the Cuban ops.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
cschleic
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:30 pm

There are regular flights from Miami to Havana every day. Even American Eagle operates them. One of the MIA terminals is used specifically for Cuba flights. Here's a photo of MIA flight schedules on a hotel TV screen near MIA taken a few months ago.

MIA - Havana flight schedule
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:17 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 32):
No you don't, the patriot act here in the USA, could detain you indefinitely if they wanted to, or felt they needed to, even without charging you with a crime. A stamp from Iran or North Korea would likely get you a trip to a small enclosed room somewhere before you officially enter the country.

Most people who visit North Korea from the US, do the same thing they do with those Cuban visas, you get a passport sized card that you slip into your passport, that is returned upon departure from Pyongyang.

This type of drama and fearmongering has no place on this board. It's not illegal in the slightest for Americans to visit the DPRK. Nor is it illegal to visit Iran. Nor is it illegal to visit Cuba in many circumstances.

Please do some research before espousing such incorrect information.

Also, if you don't want them looking at your passport, Global Entry is the way to go.

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
cschleic
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RE: Flights From US-Cuba Today.

Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:41 pm

Quoting thrufru (Reply 42):
As someone who operates these flights on a fairly regular basis, I'll give you the low-down of how it works for us

Thanks for the detail. Very interesting.