American Airlines cuts Cuba fares as it prepares to launch flights

HIGHLIGHTS

$298 to fly from Charlotte to five cities in Cuba, before taxes

Visa still needed to enter Cuba

Charlotte flights connect through Miami

Screen shot 2016-06-30 at 7.11.12 AMAmerican Airlines is temporarily cutting fares on its planned flights to Cuba as it prepares to inaugurate the commercial routes in September.

Under the discount, travelers can book a round trip from Charlotte to any of five Cuban cities for $298, before taxes. The flights would connect through Miami.

American won federal approval for the flights earlier this month. The cities are Cienfuegos, Holguín, Camagüey, Santa Clara and Varadero. American is still awaiting federal approval to fly to Havana, the capital.

Other carriers including Delta, United, JetBlue, Southwest and Frontier Airlines also received permission to fly to various Cuban cities.

Travelers from Charlotte would still have to fly through Miami because there is no direct flight scheduled to Cuba. In March, American applied to fly nonstop from Charlotte once a day, year-round. The government might take a decision on that application this fall.

The current sale applies to flights from Sept. 7 to Nov. 15. The last day to buy tickets at the discounted price is July 11.

Travelers from the U.S. will still need a visa to travel to Cuba. To qualify for a visa, travelers will need to fall under one of 12 authorized categories such as family visits, professional meetings, educational and religious activities, among others.

Currently, only charter flights operate between the U.S. and Cuba. American is the largest charter flight operator to Cuba. American’s scheduled commercial flights would be on an Airbus A 319, taking about 2 1/2 hours to cover a distance of 847 miles, according to its application.

Departures from Miami and transfers from New York or Philadelphia cost $198 before taxes. For flyers from Los Angeles and San Francisco, the price is $398.

By Siddharth Vodnala, The Charlotte Observer

June 28, 2016

 

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