Details on American’s flights to Havana?

While checking whether my flight out of Tampa this evening will have Wi-Fi (it doesn’t), I couldn’t help but wonder what the story is behind this flight to Havana, Cuba, which ironically enough does have wifi:

I assume it’s a charter based on the flight number, though anyone know the details? Just kinda curious.

And if anyone’s flying American this weekend, see you somewhere along the way! All my upgrades cleared at the upgrade window, and I’m ready for my shrimp appetizer. šŸ˜‰

Filed Under: American
  1. I was on it last year and It is chartered by ABC Charters. Passengers clapped when we landed in Havana after the 40 minute flight as it was mostly Cubans visiting their relatives and I think they were happy to be back momentarily in their homeland. Passengers also clapped when we landed back in Miami as I think everyone was happy to return after seeing the poverty of Cuba.

    The average passenger probably had eight checked bags as they were bring supplies to their relatives which was everything from car parts to the kitchen sink.

  2. The clapping when a plane lands is widespread across the ex-communist world as well, in my experience.

    That said, I flew to Havana on the Cubana flight…and if you’d seen the plane they still use, you’d be clapping on landing as well! Also, the unlimited Havana Club on board encourages clapping šŸ˜‰

  3. markJ:

    How did you get on the flight? We are considering a trip to Cuba, and it would be much easier to take this flight (I assume legally?) than fly to Cancun, and then fly Cancun to Cuba (potentially illegally?).



  4. OK, I went to the FT thread and found out a lot more…

    Looks like a flight from CUN or GCM is the easiest way to go. Although not legal.

  5. Do not travel to Cuba without a license from OFAC at the Treasury Department. The fines are quite steep.

    There are also licensed tour groups that offer people-people exchanges as well. That appears the best way for one to legally go to Cuba who does not meet the OFAC criteria for an individual license.

  6. Nobody has been, as far as I know, fined by Treasury since Obama took office for tourism in Cuba. There are tons of Americans going there every year without being on a tour. From the Bahamas, for instance, there is no exit visa, so it’s almost impossible that you will be “caught”.

    The official OFAC tours are priced ridiculously for a country where bottles of Havana Club cost three bucks.

  7. Its an election year, so with Obama u might be save, he most likely wrote off the Miami Cuba6ns already. But if he looses then this will be you last chance, legally or illegally for at least 4 years. This will be a big issue to rally the Miami Cubans in 2016 if a Repub wins in 2012, it always is. Just one or two poor suckers will get chosen to be made examples of as happened in 2004 and under GW before that.

  8. These flights are very expensive, 270-450 usd usually. Total rip off, big money makers for everyone.

    People often clap on flights with lots of Spaniards too.

  9. Over 500,000 US citizens travel to Cuba each year without permission, mostly via Mexico, Canada and the Caymans. None are fined. But you won’t do so on a US jet as those tickets can only be bought by people with family travel permits from the US. I’ve seen up to three AA 737 at Havana as well as UA, CO etc. These charters are daily and very popular. The new cultural echnage visas are quickly becoming popular in the US, but you have to go as part of a tour group.

    Finally, clapping on landing is standard throughout Central and South America.

  10. OFAC is giving out very few specific licenses now. Many, MANY people can now go under a general license. Not for tourism, but for educational travel, religious work, etc.

    I flew a charter out of Miami in February. Boarding pass said American Eagle, plane was American Eagle, etc., but the flight crew treated it as a charter. Pilot was walking up and down the aisle before the flight, people went to cockpit to take pictures, etc.

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