So you want to go to Cuba? We'd love to help you get there! Here's everything you need to know about how to fly to Cuba.
Five commercial airlines offer round-trip flights from the U.S. to Cuba. You can book the tickets directly with the airline. You can book directly from your home city to Cuba and most flights will include a layover because only a few cities offer nonstop flights at this time.
For example, you can fly from Pittsburgh to Havana with a stop in Fort Lauderdale on JetBlue for as low as $285 roundtrip. Or you could fly from NYC-JFK nonstop to Havana on JetBlue for as little as $300. Keep in mind that as of 2019, American airlines can ONLY fly into Havana.
If you choose this option you will have to certify that your trip falls into one of the following eleven categories at the time you purchase your ticket to fly to Cuba:
Most visits will qualify as Support for the Cuban People. Get more information on declaring your category (general license).
If you live close to the Canadian or Mexican border you may prefer to fly to Cuba from major cities in Canada or Mexico and taking ground transportation to that city. While it's certainly not necessary to add this extra step, you may prefer to do so if flights to Cuba from your home airport are more expensive than flights from Toronto or Mexico City.
The number one Canadian airline to book to fly to Cuba is Sunwing, which offers a fun bonus: a complimentary glass of champagne for all passengers. Sunwing flights from Toronto to Varadero begin around $400 roundtrip.
If you're near the border between Texas and Mexico, flights from Monterrey, Mexico to Cuba start around $360 while flights from nearby Corpus Christi, TX are usually in the $500 to $600 range. Hopping from Cancun to Havana is often a mere $200.
Charter flights allow you to fly to Cuba easily on your day of travel but there is a catch: they're difficult to book and expensive. For example, JetBlue offers charter flights to Havana, but only from New York, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa. You'll pay $800 or more round-trip (more than double the cost of a nonstop commercial flight from New York to Havana).
Once you decide to book a charter, you'll have to fight your way through the charter company websites in order to get a seat on these pricey flights. Charter companies only post their schedules a couple months in advance and don't have the convenient and advanced flight search tools we've become accustomed to with commercial airlines. You'll have to sift through their listings much like you would a bus schedule and then apply for a spot on the charter flight - quite the outdated process. Beyond that, each company has its own rules, some more complicated than others.
At this point, commercial flights are the best choice, but charters are an option if that's what you truly wish to do.
Here are a few companies that offer charter flights:
And for more on Cuba travel, check out: