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Flying charter to Cuba

Flying charter to Cuba

Old Nov 3, 11, 4:50 pm
  #1  
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Flying charter to Cuba

I'm a U.S. citizen who will be going to Cuba legally on an exchange visit, and our group is going on C&T charters, which I understand is mostly for Cuban emigres who want to go visit relatives.

Has anyone flown them before? They have just or will soon start service out of ORD, and we will be on one of those flights.

How is seating, service, etc.?
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Old Nov 6, 11, 8:01 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
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I have been flying regularly between La Habana and Miami and the charter flights to Cuba is a different experience.
First of all, almost all passengers would be Cuban Americans going home for a visit and taking large amount of luggage, in fact that is how these charter companies make their money, 2 dollars per pound over anything over 44 lbs in total luggage. also they would charge you 50 dollars us tax which is normally included in the ticket but they may not. if you dont have visa that would be another 50 dollars for the tourist card which is only normally 20 usd.
Recently Cuba has opened up and there are many charter flights but the character of them wouldnt change until commercial flights are in place, ojala, in the future.
Dont expect anything, occasionally if it is a larger plane and since i fly frequently they would upgrade me if i know the agent in Miami but in La habana expect nothing. In flight service would be minimal, perhaps it is the shortness of the flight from Miami from ORD you may have a full service. But remember this is a charter service and their objective is to make as much money as possible.
You will not arrive in the International Terminal but in Terminal 2 which is reserved for cuban americans come home and the immgration can be slow and if you are singled out for customs inspection, that can take some time. all in all cuban officials are present but remember you represent a country which has not been all that good to them, so they are right to hold some resentment against gringos coming to visit. Having said that an average cuban loves USA and you are visiting one of the nicest places to go, dont expect too many amenities but the warmth of the people would make up for it.
I am in the USA at the moment and will be flying out of Miami in a few days time to get back to La Habana and the academic work.
Best wishes
Yehuda
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Old Nov 6, 11, 8:13 am
  #3  
tcl
 
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On the way back, expect US Customs to go through your luggage for cigars and other Cuban souvenirs. Technically they can hold you even if they find a Cuban postcard.

Cuba is gorgeous and is one of my favourite places to visit. Enjoy your time there
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Old Nov 13, 11, 8:03 pm
  #4  
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Cool

Are there any reasonably priced "exchange" programs to Cuba? It would be great to visit, but the companies I have seen are charging usurious prices.
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Old Nov 14, 11, 10:27 am
  #5  
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I can't speak to exchange programs in general. I'm going on an exchange between the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota and the Episcopal Church of Cuba. Part of our group is staying in a working convent in Havana, and part of the group is going to work on an organic farm near Florida. Since we're not staying in standard tourist accommodations, that keeps the costs down.

Someone I know is going with a group sponsored by a museum in Philadelphia.

There's also a program called Talk Cinema (a curated series of sneak previews of independent and foreign films), which offers tours to film festivals, including Havana.

But both of these are more expensive than my trip.

Most large cities have some sort of Cuban cultural organization, so you might ask around there.
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Old Nov 14, 11, 12:29 pm
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Thanks, ksandness!
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