I recently spent two nights in Havana, Cuba - part of a bigger holiday which included LA, Las Vegas, NYC, Mexico City and Cancun. This report will focus on the return leg from Havana to Cancun.
Date: 22 June 2012
Aircraft: Tupolev 204-100E
Flight: Havana to Cancun
Duration: 1 hour 20 mins
After two interesting days in Havana it was time to fly back to Mexico. My friend and I were staying at the Parque Central Hotel in old Havana, which is about a 40 minute taxi ride to the airport. Having read reviews of Cubana Airlines (long delays on some flights) we decided to arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to departure.
Some photos of José Martí International Airport (Terminal 3):
Our taxi driver dropped us at the arrivals hall in Terminal 3 (this section of the airport was built in 1998 so it is comparatively modern to the rest of the airport). We walked towards the Cubana check-in desk and saw that our flight had been delayed by one hour. We joined the long check in line:
After about 20 mins and having moved only a few meters, I walked up to the front and saw that only two staff were working - perhaps it was lunch time? The thing about Cuba is you have to be patient - very patient. After about 1 hour we got to the check-in desk and within a few minutes had our boarding passes. Having payed our departure tax, we decided to kill some time and check out the restaurant.
|The airport restaurant had a certain 1970s charm|
After a decent steak and chips, we went through immigration - surprisingly, this only took about 10 minutes. Security took a bit longer but all fairly orderly. After a quick drink at the bar we headed to the boarding gate. Oh no - another 1 hour delay. Perfect opportunity to take some shots of the wide-body that was due to depart for Buenos Aries.
After 1.5 hours, boarding for our flight was finally called. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good photo of our TU 204 parked at the gate, but here are a few from the economy cabin:
|TU 204-100E Economy Cabin|
|TU 204-100E Economy Cabin|
Shortly after takeoff, drinks and light refreshments were served. There was a choice of soft drinks and either rum or vodka. I had a diet coke. The snack consisted of crackers. Not too bad for a 1 hour flight.
The flight itself was uneventful and we made a smooth landing at Cancun International Airport, 2.5 hours after our scheduled arrival time.
Overall, it was a fairly good experience on Cubana considering the cheap airfare. It was my first time on a Russian-built airliner and I was very impressed with the TU 204. It was modern, clean and the cabin noise was comparable to Boeing/Airbus. The only downside were the delays (lack of explanation from ground staff) and the cabin crew - while they were efficient they certainly weren't the friendliest - not a smile in sight.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my first trip report. Feedback is most welcome!