We’re really excited to announce that we just became the first online travel agency to book flights to Cuba for U.S. travelers!
UPDATE: On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 CheapAir became the first online travel agency selling direct flights to Cuba for qualified U.S. citizens. Departing daily from Miami International Airport and on a more abbreviated schedule from Tampa and New York’s JFK, this new option is the most convenient and most direct way to travel to Cuba. Havana is accessible via all three U.S. originating airports and Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Holguin, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba are all destinations serviced via Miami.
Earlier this year, as part of the plan to lift embargo restrictions, the United States government relaxed the longstanding policy against travel to Cuba and made it easier for U.S. citizens to visit. Since that time, we’ve seen a surge in requests to travel there, so we put our heads together to figure out how we could make the whole process easier for those who qualify.
From a technical standpoint, Cuba creates a big challenge. There are still no airlines that fly from the U.S. to Cuba – either directly or with a connection. The only way to get there, other than a charter flight, is to buy a ticket to a third country like Mexico, Canada, or the Bahamas and then buy a separate ticket from there to Cuba with an international airline that offers service. This is a tedious exercise for a consumer because it requires you to go to separate sites and toggle back and forth in an attempt to piece together an itinerary that will work.
This is the kind of problem our development team loves to tackle. While we couldn’t make the requirement for two separate tickets any less complicated, what we could do is build a system to do all the work for you! Now you can let CheapAir figure out the connections that work from your city and book the separate tickets behind the scenes so you can take care of it all in one seamless transaction! We’re proud of the work our team did to build this in just a few short weeks. That’s something no one else has done!
To be sure, traveling to Cuba is still very different than traveling most anywhere else. First off, and very importantly, it remains illegal for many people to travel there. The government lists 12 reasons for which you are authorized to go to Cuba – journalism, humanitarian work, and to see family members are all on the list. These 12 are the only acceptable reasons. Before making your purchase with CheapAir you will be required to indicate which applies to your travel situation. Unfortunately, a week on a Cuban beach isn’t on the list!
There are other reasons traveling to Cuba at this point isn’t for the faint of heart. See our blog post covering what you need to know about travel to Cuba that describes some of the realities. It’s important to be aware of these challenges.
For now, we are only able to process bookings to the capital, Havana, but we are open to adding other destinations in the future.
All of the limitations notwithstanding, we’re excited to make it easier for those who are authorized to go to Cuba to do so without a lot of confusing and frustrating legwork. We’ll do the heavy lifting so qualified travelers can experience the beauty of the land and hospitality of the Cuban people first-hand.
I come from Poland and I would like to go from Flordia – KEy West or Miami on 18th / 19th January – is its possible?
Hi Sylvia, Yes this is entirely possible. At the moment the only documents you need are those required by the Cuban government (the tourist card and Cuban health insurance). You can buy the Cuban health insurance when you land in Havana (they have a desk at the airport) and it’s just a few USD a day. You can obtain the tourist card on your own before you depart by reaching out to the Cuban consulate in your home country, or you can consult with the airline from which you purchase your tickets (some of the U.S. airlines do have procedures for assisting).
Hello, I am european and I would like to travel to Cuba from Miami(directly) and I have ESTA Visa, and back to USA to after back to Europe, that is possible?
Thanks in advance
Hi Loretta, Yes. As a foreign national you are not subject to the restrictions that a U.S. citizen would have for Cuban travel.
Hi, I am EU citizen and currently live in USA with US permanent residency status. Can I travel from Miami to Havana and what documents do I need for that. Thank you.
Hi George, you need the same documents as U.S. citizens. At the moment, if you are planning to travel to Cubam this article might come in handy: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/how-to-travel-to-cuba-without-a-tour-group-in-8-easy-steps/. You do need to abide by the same rules as all U.S. citizens. Good luck to you.
I want to ask if I book the tickets to HAVANA on your website from Miami. How can I get the visa because I know your website does not offer the option for visa?
Hi there, in some cases our partner charter company does offer visa (Cuban travel card) assistance. If you email [email protected] and mention the flights you are considering, they should be able to tell you if it is a flight that will offer visa assistance. Good luck to you.