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LostLuggage
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Air travel to Cuba - how?

Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:48 pm

Howdy A.net,

I'm hoping to finish my US trip later this year with a visit to my bucket list destination of Cuba. I'm a UK citizen and would be traveling on the Cuban Tourist Card scheme, however the logistics of getting from the States to Cuba seem harder than I first realized.

Tourism is apparently not a valid reason to travel on US-Cuba flights, so despite a valid Tourism Card I wouldn't be able to take a IAD-ATL-HAV or DCA-MIA-HAV flight as originally intended.

Now, does anyone have experience being in this situation? I'm assuming any itinerary originating in the US and ending in Cuba would be invalid (eg. IAD-PTY-HAV), but how about multi-city itineraries? Would IAD-PTY, PTY-HAV also not be permitted if on the same ticket? Am I looking at having to fly to a 3rd country and onwards to Cuba on a separate ticket?

Any and all advice appreciated, as always!
 
opticalilyushin
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Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:30 pm

An interesting question. I am not sure if they would stop you if you booked (as your example) IAD-PTY-HAV, but at face value I can't imagine they would. The restrictions seem to be more to do with direct flights between the 2 countries. You could just do what most Americans do to get to Cuba, fly to another country on 1 ticket, and onwards to Cuba on a separate ticket. I would advise to either book with a reliable airline or allow a stop of a day or so at the other country (and there are many nice places to stop in the Caribbean etc...or even Canada)
 
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longhauler
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Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:49 pm

Air Canada has a large operation from Canada to Cuba. And while a lot of tickets are sold through YYZ to HAV (for example) from many international countries on one PNR, one can not fly from the US to Cuba on one reservation. However, the YYZ-HAV-YYZ daily flight is timed so that just about any connection is possible. Less so to the leisure destinations in Cuba.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:51 pm

Indeed a self-transfer in a third country is the easiest way. There are flights to Cuba from Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas or the Dominican Republic for example. On those flights, tourism is a valid reason as the US government has nothing to say about them. And they won't deny you a flight to any of those countries. However I would advice you to take plenty of time in between flights, it's not uncommon for flights in that part of the world to be delayed.
 
Kilgen
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:56 am

Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:32 am

LostLuggage wrote:
Howdy A.net,

Now, does anyone have experience being in this situation? I'm assuming any itinerary originating in the US and ending in Cuba would be invalid (eg. IAD-PTY-HAV), but how about multi-city itineraries? Would IAD-PTY, PTY-HAV also not be permitted if on the same ticket? Am I looking at having to fly to a 3rd country and onwards to Cuba on a separate ticket?

Any and all advice appreciated, as always!


Did you try to book via copaair.com? I was curious and tried IAD to HAV and it did not complain about getting 2 separate tickets (as it is the current case with Venezuela which will notify you that you need to do 2 separate bookings) and offered me several options.
 
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LostLuggage
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Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:15 am

Kilgen wrote:
LostLuggage wrote:
Howdy A.net,

Now, does anyone have experience being in this situation? I'm assuming any itinerary originating in the US and ending in Cuba would be invalid (eg. IAD-PTY-HAV), but how about multi-city itineraries? Would IAD-PTY, PTY-HAV also not be permitted if on the same ticket? Am I looking at having to fly to a 3rd country and onwards to Cuba on a separate ticket?

Any and all advice appreciated, as always!


Did you try to book via copaair.com? I was curious and tried IAD to HAV and it did not complain about getting 2 separate tickets (as it is the current case with Venezuela which will notify you that you need to do 2 separate bookings) and offered me several options.


Yep there are plenty of suitable itineraries on there and are as simple to book as a flight to anywhere else. Unfortunately the price doubles when booking IAD-PTY, PTY-HAV as opposed to IAD-PTY-HAV. I'm concerned with what could happen when they see Havana as my final destination upon checking in at Dulles (are they going to prevent me traveling and consequently make me overstay my US visa? Madness).
 
MAH4546
Posts: 25657
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 1:44 pm

Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?o

Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:20 am

Select “support of the Cuban people” as the reason. Board the plane. Done.

Nobody checks, nobody cares. You even apply for the tourist card at the airport, it will be approved on the spot.

Don't waste time with a ridiculous out of the way routing. Thousands of people do this everyday. The number two source of tourists for Cuba, after Canada, is the U.S.
a.
 
Kilgen
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:56 am

Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:02 am

LostLuggage wrote:
Kilgen wrote:
LostLuggage wrote:
Howdy A.net,

Now, does anyone have experience being in this situation? I'm assuming any itinerary originating in the US and ending in Cuba would be invalid (eg. IAD-PTY-HAV), but how about multi-city itineraries? Would IAD-PTY, PTY-HAV also not be permitted if on the same ticket? Am I looking at having to fly to a 3rd country and onwards to Cuba on a separate ticket?

Any and all advice appreciated, as always!


Did you try to book via copaair.com? I was curious and tried IAD to HAV and it did not complain about getting 2 separate tickets (as it is the current case with Venezuela which will notify you that you need to do 2 separate bookings) and offered me several options.


Yep there are plenty of suitable itineraries on there and are as simple to book as a flight to anywhere else. Unfortunately the price doubles when booking IAD-PTY, PTY-HAV as opposed to IAD-PTY-HAV. I'm concerned with what could happen when they see Havana as my final destination upon checking in at Dulles (are they going to prevent me traveling and consequently make me overstay my US visa? Madness).


If you are hesitant, here is another solution. Copa has a free stop over in PTY called Visit Panama: https://www.copaair.com/en/web/us/ask-ana?id=1878&interfaceID=2&question=What%20is%20%22Visit%20Panam%C3%A1%22%3F&requestType=

The only thing is that you cannot book and pay that via the website. You do the reservation in the website, select the 24 hour hold and then you need to call the call center so that they can do the proper fix. The price will be the same as the IAD-PTY-HAV flight.
 
Kilgen
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:56 am

Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:03 am

duplicate
 
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LostLuggage
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Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:49 pm

Re: Air travel to Cuba - how?

Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:22 pm

As an update: I've been reliably told that Cuba tourist cards can be purchased at the gate of Cuba-bound flights from PTY for $20. As simple, straightforward and cheap as that.

Kilgen wrote:
If you are hesitant, here is another solution. Copa has a free stop over in PTY called Visit Panama:


Unfortunately this wasn't available in combination with their cheapest promo fare class (L) even with the 24-hour fare-lock. Some good luck meant I was able to book a flight with an 18-hour stopover on a sub-$150 ticket anyway.

Appreciate all the help, folks!

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