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Update: Since this post was originally published, AA has updated its site to allow travelers to book tickets on all of its Cuba routes. Previously, tickets to Santa Clara and Varadero were not bookable.
Late last week, the Department of Transportation approved routes for several US airlines — including American Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver, Southwest and Sun Country — to begin service to Cuba. As of last week, Havana (HAV) routes had not been awarded, just those to Camaguey (CMW), Cayo Coco (CCC), Cayo Largo (CYO), Cienfuegos (CFG), Holguín (HOG), Manzanillo (MZO), Matanzas (VRA), Santa Clara (SNU) and Santiago de Cuba (SCU). Now, it looks like flights to Cuba are actually bookable with American Airlines.
AA will operate several daily round-trip flights to Cuba, including:
- Beginning September 7, 2016:
- Cienfuegos (CFG; one daily flight from MIA)
- Holguin (HOG; two daily flights from MIA)
- Beginning September 9, 2016:
- Camaguey (CMW; one daily flight from MIA)
- Santa Clara (SNU; two daily flights from MIA)
- Beginning September 11, 2016:
- Varadero (Matanzas; VRA; two daily flights from MIA)
It’s interesting that only some of these cities are bookable so far — all but Santa Clara (SNU) and Caradero (VRA) appear to be as of this writing. Note that pricing for the bookable flights is quite expensive. It also appears that you can only book round-trip flights so far, not one-way tickets.
You can fly on the inaugural flight between Miami and Cienfuegos for $488 round-trip.
It looks like seating on most of the flights is wide open right now, as you can see below. Note that the 24-hour free hold option is available for flights to Cuba — TPG Contributor JT Genter is holding an itinerary.
When booking, AA will generate a popup, reminding you of the approved reasons one is allowed to travel to Cuba, including family visits, religious activities, support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, educational activities and people-to-people exchanges.
It’s worth noting that you can apply 500-mile upgrades — or free upgrades for AA Executive Platinum members. There don’t appear to beat award redemption options for these flights as of yet, but stay tuned, as an AA representative confirmed that AAdvantage members can earn and redeem AAdvantage miles on flights to Cuba.
TPG Senior Editor Kaeli Conforti recently returned from the first cruise to Cuba in 50 years and raved about the time she spent in Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Havana, especially how welcoming the Cuban people were. TPG himself has also been to Cuba several times and loved it — after his first trip, he already planned on revisiting. And now, with flights open for booking (at least on American Airlines), it seems visiting Cuba is well within the reach of travelers.
As of this writing, AA is the only airline that’s released its flights for booking. Stay tuned for complete details, especially when the Department of Transportation releases the full list of approved flights to Cuba, including to Havana.
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