A Flight to Cuba Costs Less Than $60 Right Now
Money December 2, 2016
A few short months after a mad rush by airlines to blanket Cuba with
flights from the U.S., the number of departures is being scaled back due
to weak demand. What’s more, prices for the Cuba flights that remain are
often phenomenally cheap—cheaper even than the supposedly short-lived
promotional rates airlines rolled out when service was first introduced.
JetBlue, American Airlines, and other carriers enthusiastically jumped
into the Cuba market in late summer, launching the first commercial
flights there from the U.S. for the first time in half a century.
Previously, the main way Americans traveled to Cuba was via charter
flights, typically priced at $700 and up. But in early 2015, the Obama
administration eased travel restrictions to Cuba for Americans, and
eventually the government agreed to allow the reintroduction of regular
commercial flights between the two countries.
Demand was expected to be extremely high, what with travel options to
Cuba being so limited—and expensive—for decades. American Airlines and
JetBlue introduced flights to the Cuban capital of Havana just last
week, bringing their total number of Cuban destinations to six and four,
respectively. Delta Air Lines joined the party more recently, launching
daily flights to Cuba (Havana) for the first time since 1961 from
Atlanta, Miami, and New York City on November 30. Low-cost Spirit
Airlines entered the fray a day later, with two daily flights between
Fort Lauderdale and Havana.
But it looks like traveler demand isn’t keeping up with the newly ample
supply of Cuba flights. Bloomberg reported this week that American
Airlines—which has a key Miami hub, and has long prided itself on
service throughout the Caribbean and South America—is cutting flights to
Cuba. Starting in mid-February, American will scale back the number of
daily flights to Cuba from 13 to 10.
Overall, low demand is the reason the airline is slashing service, but
the explanations for why demand is so low are varied. They include
concerns that communist Cuba, long cut off from the U.S. and its
lucrative tourists, doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to handle
huge American crowds. Some may also be worried that the upcoming
inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump, who has been an outspoken
critic of normalized relations between the countries, will complicate
Americans’ plans to visit Cuba.
In any event, airlines are having an exceptionally difficult time
filling seats on Cuba-bound flights. Naturally, this means it’s an
exceptionally great time for finding cheap seats on Cuba-bound flights.
Earlier this week, a JetBlue sale put freshly launched flights to Havana
on the table for only $75 one way from Fort Lauderdale. Spirit Airlines
is offering that same Fort Lauderdale-Havana route for slightly less,
starting at only $72. A quick search also turned up flights between New
York (JFK) to Havana on JetBlue in mid-January for as little as $102 one
way, and the total for a round trip was just under $250 including all
taxes and fees.
American travelers booking flights to an airport other than Havana can
snag even cheaper fares. Southwest Airline’s website is showing flights
from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba, for as little as $57 one way
on midweek, non-holiday departures. And JetBlue routes from Fort
Lauderdale to Holguin, Cuba, are going for only $54 one way in early
January, or a total of just $114 round trip after all the mandatory
taxes and fees are added in.
Source: A Flight to Cuba Costs Less Than $60 Right Now –