Commercial Flights and all to the island

Johnny-O!

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Most of you know that auxiliary cities are being served by US airlines for commercial flights to Cuba. Havana still has yet to be determined. There was some news this week, most charter companies that were serving Cuba will stop operation 10/29/16. Of the 8, two will remain. Who the players are is not certain. Some charters have already stopped service as local Miami passengers are not profitable, to stay afloat they needed to sell those overpriced $4000/week packages. Added to that, for the travel industry this is one of the slowest times of the year. So if you are planning travel around Halloween time (or afterwards) be careful who you chose as you might get stuck down there, having to buy a one way ticket to get out. John
 

Johnny-O!

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On this weekends trip I found out some more tidbits of info. Two Charters: Xael and Island Travel owe Cuba the most money and are slow to pay, so they seem the most risky for travel. ABC who uses exclusively American, will not have the use of their planes after Thanksgiving. They will be scrambling for planes and there aren't too many providers willing to jump in with the next 6 weeks of uncertainty. Jet Blue had the 1st commercial flight 8/31 to Santa Clara, most getting there for $200/RT. It is said that disagreements with the Government of Cuba over additional landing fees has forced JB to cancel some of their flights since that 8/31 flight. Very bad timing for this train wreck as the Havana providers have not been established flying dates. That will likely be November but could be later. Silver is quoting Ft Lauderdale-Varadero $350 RT at Christmas time including all taxes, on a 34 seat plane. John
 
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Johnny-O!

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Most are quoting around $200 RT from Miami in January for the countryside cities. A bargain if you can travel at that time. Only downside is you will miss the playoffs. John
 

Johnny-O!

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This week the charter companies are quoting under $300RT, some as low as $220 (HavanaAir) if you fly weekdays MIA-HAV. John
 

Johnny-O!

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20160925_143827.jpg Went by the American check in this weekend. They have this sign there, looks like it is all self check in. You even weigh your own bag and print your tickets/tags
 

Johnny-O!

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American this week was $325 with ABC Charter. These planes are on time and don't usually have any hiccups. Island Travel Charters has said they will end operations 10/31. I bought for my family's Christmas vacation online through Southwest $149 RT (Ft Lauderdale-Havana). Two free checked bags (up to 50 lbs). Not bad at all. John
 

Johnny-O!

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On the $149 flight with Southwest it says medical insurance is included. However, on the breakdown of the costs of the flight it is not noted anywhere. You can also click onto the Cuban insurance companies terms and policies and it is in Spanish (no English). Without using a lawyer to go over it with a fine toothed comb it seemed like a lot of doubletalk and no specifics (terms, limits). John
 

Johnny-O!

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American was $255 RT this week with ABC charter. On the way down the plane was less than half full but on the way back 90%+ of capacity. Rumors still running around about the cease of use of the CUC in December but could not get a clear answer from anyone or details. The weather was great this weekend, low humidity, breezy. John
 

Johnny-O!

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$198 RT from NY is a steal. JetBlue uses roomy 320's, has TV, Wi-Fi on board. I think they allow one free checked bag. Pull the trigger. John
 

tone-ny

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Johnny would a day trip work or is it to much trouble?
 

Johnny-O!

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A 24 hour trip is hard enough. Too much time spent getting to and being in the airport. The way the flights are set up you wouldn't have much time in Cuba. Ideally if there was a 7am flight out of Miami and an 11pm return that might work. As it is the flights are 8am-3pm with American out of Miami, so if you get any further it would make it more impossible. So as it is now you'd have to stay at least one night. Maybe in 6 months they'll add the later flights. John
 

Johnny-O!

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Went American with ABC Charter again this week, they are holding at a steady $255RT until their last day of operation (November 28). The flight was full both ways, lots of University and Press on the plane. Once again the weather was outstanding. Word is that Delta, United and American will use Terminal 3 in Cuba, while it is uncertain whether the others will use Terminal 2 or 3. John
 

Johnny-O!

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Island Travel charters this week was $260 and they will be out of business 12/15/16. American, Delta, Jet Blue, SouthWest are going into Terminal 3. United and Frontier are going into Terminal 2. United has a weekly Houston flight (Saturdays), and daily from Newark. The Newark flights are sometimes going fairly empty. If you fly SouthWest out of Ft Lauderdale and Frontier back into Miami (two one-ways) you can do the trip for as low as $125 RT. SouthWest is the only airline that checks in two free 50lb bags and does not charge for the carry on. All the others can have fees for checked/carry-on bags and seat assignments. John
 

Johnny-O!

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As more airlines are added, its seems that Southwest has the best pricing and the only one that offers two checked in bags free and no charge for carry on or seat assignments out of the Ft Lauderdale/Miami area. Spirit comes in with a low ball ticket price but charges $129 to check in two 50 lb bags, $55 for a wheeled carry-on and $9 seat assignment (each way)....pricey. After January 9th most ticket prices look to be $150-$160 RT from Miami/Ft Lauderdale. There is a lot of chaos in Terminal 3, bags slow to get off the plane (2-3 hours) and the return flight is just as problematic. A good option might be Varadero RT or two one ways; going into Varadero on the 1st leg an coming out of Havana on the second leg. They don't have to be purchased with the same airline, I know several that have done this. The legal holidays are already showing price increases for 2017. Enjoy your trip! John
 

bfreebern

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This is looking more and more tempting. I wonder if I can sell the wife on a "beach" vacation and get some cigar tours in, as well.
 
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