JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU) announced Friday that their commercial route to Cuba would start on August 31, 2016. The airline intends to remove the high costs of flights to the island and make it easy to travel to the country. Customers will be able to buy the tourist visa as part of the booking process.
The first route is between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Santa Clara-Abel Santamaria Airport (SNU), which is about 3 hours east of Havana. The total cost of the trip is $99 each way including Cuban Government-Required Health Insurance, and the total cost of a round trip could be like $204 including all taxes and fees.
Flights beginning in August will depart Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the daily service will start on October 1, 2016, according to JetBlue press release.
Low costs are not the only attractive aspect of JetBlue’s services to Cuba. The airline said that the $99 ticket to the island includes at least one free checked bag, up to 50 pounds, in all its fares to Cuba. Additionally, JetBlue reminds its passengers that standard carry-on regulations still apply, which means one carry-on and one personal item.
But for JetBlue one airport is not enough and more Cuban destinations will be available since November. Flights from Fort Lauderdale to Camagüey-Ignacio Agramonte Airport (CMW) will depart on November 3, and flights to go to Holguín- Frank Paris Airport (HOG) will begin on November 10.
The CEO and Director of Aviation for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said it is an honor to partner with BlueJet to launch the important inaugural service to Cuba after more than a half a century of rough relations with the country.
Obama’s efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba created a race between airlines and JetBlue was the winner
President Obama restored regular airlines services to Cuba on February 2016 as part of a strategic plan to conciliate relationships with countries like Iran and Cuba. The green light had a high number of airlines racing to be the first one to fly to Cuba.
JetBlue is getting to the island before its competitors Silver Airways and American Airlines. Both airlines will fly to Cuba on September, Silver Airways September 1 and American Airlines the second week of September.
Despite the travel restriction to Cuba have loosened in 2015, Americans still need to complete an affidavit because going to the Caribbean island for tourism purposes is not allowed by U.S. regulations. To travel, passengers have to fulfill a form and give 12 reasons of approved travel from the U.S. Department of Treasury, which include visiting family, educational activities, research purposes, or humanitarian aid.
The affidavit will not be a problem because JetBlue offers its customers to fill it online with a few clicks. Even though travelers also need a day-of-travel Cuban tourist visa (Tourist Card), JetBlue does it again and makes it possible to buy the document at the check in for $50.
Travelling to Cuba before 2015 could be an expensive trip. Tickets cost between $400 to $700 for a less-than-an-hour flight.
Also ….. JetBlue, Cuba Travel Services announce direct charter flight from New York to Havana https://t.co/2QFVOPGu3W
— Gabriel Elizondo (@elizondogabriel) May 5, 2015