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Time travel to the 50's with... AS286 LAX-HAV [The Journalistic Narration]

Time travel to the 50's with... AS286 LAX-HAV [The Journalistic Narration]

Old Mar 17, 17, 4:41 pm
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Post Time travel to the 50's with... AS286 LAX-HAV [The Journalistic Narration]

I started my adventure by driving by a fellow FT'ers house after work to pick him up. After utilizing off airport parking, we got to the First Class checkin desk. Good, both podiums were in use.

The second agent however disappeared immediately after that transaction, and we ended up with one agent and a passenger who seemed partially clueless. The passenger apparently bought a lock from the desk agent, for what I am unsure.

Surprisingly, our checkin went without a hitch, and the agent was surprised and excited to see our destination. As AS just started three months earlier, I'm guessing not too many passengers from ANC have flown down.

OLCI was inhibited due to the destination, so we were uncertain about pre check. As we both have Global Entry, it usually shows up, as it did this trip. Pre was fairly quick, although the TSA was redirecting one line of regular passengers to one of the two pre check lines open.

Is it scary when you recognize TSA agents? After clearing, we went immediately to the Alaska Lounge (formerly Boardroom) where we set up camp for an hour. An always lovely Brenda and Linda assisted us, I tried the local Mat Maid Milk Stout and a newer Alaskan Husky IPA. My companion opted for a martini.

As I had come right from work, I eventually went downstairs and ordered a pizza to go from Silver Gulch. I ordered Ruldolphs Revenge, and it took about 15 minutes to make, so this ended up as a carry on, to the jealous looks of many. Even the Captain tried to confiscate it.

We pushed back early and enjoyed a good flight on AS150. Being a redeye to LAX, I was planning on sleeping some, but there was new content on the inflight entertainment player that are complimentary in F. The flight deck announced there was quite the light show outside to the left side of the aircraft, and there was.

The past several nights I'd been outside trying to watch the Northern Lights with limited success. This time they were out in force. I also watched Moana for the first time, fun movie, but expected more Hawaiian flair.

Inflight was a tasty snack, they offered a bbq'd chicken skewer with a tasty hummus, olives and pieces of pita. An ontime arrival into LAX from the west, and we pulled into gate 64 under the cover of darkness. As we still needed to secure our visas, we wandered around the terminal looking for the "Cuba Travel Services" kiosk. At our departure gate 65B, the 7 AM to PDX was queing up. We asked the gate agent about this, and they said to check back just before boarding.

"They'll be wearing white shirts". We proceeded to the LAX Alaska Lounge to wait for our flight and get some pancakes.

Returning to the gate, we found the Cuba Travel Services area and purchased our visas for $100 each. They took credit cards on the spot. I still don't get why some places charge $50 and they are $100. They also stamped our boarding passes "Cuba ready".
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First boarded first, and nearly everyone in the F cabin boarded at this time. As I was one of the last to board, the overhead bin space was occupied, so my roller bag ended up over 6D. It seems carry on is popular to Havana.

We took off to the West and banked left down the coast for a bit, eventually heading towards Texas. Inflight they passed our waterbottles towards the end of the boarding process as our 'pre departure drink' and took orders on the ground. It was a new menu this month, I had the omlette with potato wedges. There was no snack basket, as the flight is round trip catered. Also limited was the beverages, no Woodford Reserve was loaded, and AS does not offer a local beer on this route either.

Midway over Texas we encountered some turbulence as there was a thunderstorm under us. Our expected flight time was 4:30, however we flew around the storm a bit more, adding a half hour or so to this. Subsequently we arrived late, and taxied into T2 at a remote stand. This was directly across from the terminal. HAV has a strange setup for its terminal. Deplaning occurred from both forward and aft with stairs, and there seemed to be uncontrolled access to the tarmac.

One could wait right next to the aircraft for other passengers, or wander around taking photos like I did. A Meridiana 767 was parked next door. Once inside there were about 15 different podiums open for Immigration, this was a quick line for me. I went through on the far left side, if doing this again I'd go on the right, as there is additional security to clear once you enter the country before picking up baggage. These 3 lines are on the right side, and the majority of passengers lined up on the left.

After another 5 minutes I was thru, and waiting for my checked bag with some sunscreen. There is a VIP Salon in the baggage area, but they did not accept Priority Pass. I am uncertain who it is for, but seemed very small, and offered beverages.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 7:08 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 4:44 pm
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I had nothing to declare so I went thru the appropriate line, passed my customs form to the official by the door, and went outside. Here we saw a bunch of folks lined up holding signs. For once someone had a sign for me, prearranged by my host at my casa particular. This was very beneficial as Dayan directed us to the cambio, the money exchange. The one in our arrival terminal was closed. There was 3 people in front of us, but took about 15 minutes in line as this is a *slow* process.

Its a ratio of 1 USD to 1 CUP, but with a 10% penalty and 3% commission. I ended up with 86.30 CUP from my $100 USD. We rejoined our driver outside who was waiting anxiously, and walked the 5 minutes to where he was parked. Our ride comprised of a yellow Fiat made in Poland, and we squeezed into the car. Our driver was concerned about us fitting, but was no problem. The lack of headroom was my main issue, needing about 2" more. It was about a 30 minute ride to our casa, and it was interesting to see everything along the way.

Our driver pointed out many of the sights as we passed, the library, hospital, and revolution plaza. This was a 30 CUP ride, tipping 2 CUP. We met Tania our host, and she welcomed us, and showed us our accommodations. We had a single and double bed, fridge/freezer, 23" widescreen TV and our own bathroom, plus AC. After getting settled, she explained were a few options for dinner were and general locations of tourist locations. We walked the 20 minutes down San Miguel to Old Havana and ate dinner at a restaurant adjacent to Central Park.

I ended up with 12 Pesos worth of ribs and barbecue sauce (3 fatty ribs with sweetened ketchup). This was a small portion for the price, but enough for tonight. However being a sucker for "street food" I ended up with some fried chicken from a window. Tasty with salsa, it had a big line and ended up with 3 large pieces for a little over 2 CUC. I ended up with change in both CUC and CUP too . Fried plantains in the bottom of the tray were a tasty bonus. Walked back to the room, watched some T.V. with both Spanish and Japanese subtitles, and went to sleep.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 7:30 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 4:45 pm
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Sunday I woke up to no running water. I tried washing my hands and a trickle came out. Went for a shower and nada. It was a strange shower as well, it was the first time I'd seen power running to a showerhead. An hour later after trying to sleep a bit more and recording some of this report, I heard water running somewhere. Tried a second time for a shower and success! [I found out later that at this property, there is water twice a day at 9 AM and 5 PM for 40 minutes or so. There is a tank on top that fills, and one needs to turn a valve on to make water work during other times.]

Breakfast was included with our room, so we had a light meal consisting of many items, bread, sliced meat, cheese, eggs with onion, and fruit. It was a tasty start to the day. After nearly an hour tinkering with various sim cards trying to get them to work in phones, we gave up. It seems FreedomPop does not work in Cuba (not that I read anything that said it would). We decided to not bother trying to find a local sim card either as we only had 3 days left on the island.

We then headed towards the ocean, passing a towering building that was apparently a hospital. Here there were some gusty winds that ripped my hat and sunglasses away- had to run after them. We proceeded to the Malecon, the epic seawall. It was alive today- many areas ere not walkable either due to waves crashing over the sidewalk or even the road itself. Vehicles had to move into alternate lanes to avoid some.

We walked East along this for a few kilometers, stopping from time to time to take photos of cars, waves, or both. There was a dichotomy as with most of Havana with buildings as well, in various levels of preservation and decay. We were approached by several individuals some just chatting, others trying to offer services. One such offer was for a ride around town seeing various famous landmarks. It was 25 CUC and sounded reasonable so we followed him to his vehicle. This said open topped vehicle turned out to be powered by four hooves, so we politely declined.

The salesperson followed us, further trying to compel us by lowering the price, 20 CUC's, 15 CUC's... we kept walking. Our next stop was near the fortress, but we soon discovered one could not walk to it. There was an underground vehicular tunnel to it so we just took some photos instead. We walked down the Paeso del Prado to Central Park, and onto El Floridita. This icon is an old haunt of Ernest Hemingway, and they have a bronze casting of him inside seated at the bar. Daiquiri service was lackluster; after obtaining a spot at the bar on the corner we got our daiquiris.

Six CUC each...crazy. A bit sweet, it was tradition to do this in Cuba. We eventually got a table, but nobody came by for additional orders so we eventually left. Shirts run small in Cuba, and the souvenir shirts had no hope of fitting even one of my arms. And they didn't have any hats, "Come back tomorrow". This was a calculated stop on our rum tour... we then sloshed down towards the Havana Club Museum/tour. A minor diversion allowed us to pick up some shot glasses for .50 CUC each handmade. Our next stop was at a food stand selling coconuts with ice cream. Flavor selection was restricted, so I ended up with a coco flavored one.

I enjoyed the coconut flakes in mine. This frozen treat was in a real coconut shell too. Going a bit far, we backtracked in front of a Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Impressive copulas ordained this building, but sadly its gates were locked. The bookstore closed at 4 PM, it was already 4:15 PM. We encountered a similar problem next door at the Havana Club Rum Factory Tour... the last tour was at 4. We ended up going in the wrong way and getting a sample of the 7 year rum, quite tasty. But they were done for the day. The attached bar had live music and a daiquiri was only 4 CUC. The ice seemed more refined at Floridita however.

We wandered back towards the room taking periodic breaks in the parks and plazas, as they were well equipped with benches. We stopped at the capitol building. It was undergoing renovations so it was shrouded in substantial structural scaffolding. And again quite the dichotomy with the capitol building and grounds, and that of structures just a block away. We made it back to our casa about 6:30 PM and relaxed for a bit. We previously asked our host to make a home cooked dinner one night, so her aunt made us an epic local dinner, with rice and beans, salad, yucca, crackers, candied papaya, cheese, and roasted pork. We were filled up.

We relaxed that evening sampling local beverages, and watching a dancing/singing competition on TV. I am not even sure if there was a winner. Fin.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 7:53 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 4:46 pm
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Had a decent sleep and awoke to the same. The weather was typical for this time of year, strong winds along the coast with the occasional shower and clouds. On Monday morning I had my shower and ate breakfast, no butter or mango jam this morning. We walked towards the Hotel National, taking a new route to the Marcadero. Upon reaching the seawall we found a Coppella, an ice cream shop. While not the original, it was past 10 AM, time for a quick nosh. I knew there were two versions of the menu, one for CUP and one for CUC.

Unfortunately I wasn't clear about this, and paid about 20x what I wanted to on ice cream in a glass (1 CUC). The ice cream in a paper cup was 1 CUP IIRC, but uncertain. We proceeded along avoiding the waves until we were at the Hotel National, well to the front of it. There was a nice manmade waterfall out front. A little small, it was the most impressive functioning water feature of the trip. This hotel boasts a nice garden in its front, but we didn't end up seeing it. We continued along as we saw a monument ahead. This was not marked on my pre-stored digital map so we were curious. Turns out it was a memorial to the USS Maine and the sailors that perished in its sinking off Cuba's coast.

Sunk by Spain, this triggered the Spanish American War. It was in some disrepair with a fair bit of graffiti on it. Beyond this was some sort of outdoor stadium, limited work was being performed on this, as it appeared new concrete acoustical panels were being installed at the back of it. And a block further was 138 flag poles standing empty, rusting shafts void of flags. Some of its bolts were rusting away, and in the stiff breeze, shafts were shifting around. A security guard came up and asked us to leave. We kept walking, leading us to the US Embassy. (I'm guessing it was the proximity to the Embassy that caused us to move). Walking by, one could see the queuing area and people in line for various services.

Security outside appeared to be contracted with a local vendor, and they had lots of personnel around. We kept walking a bit further aimlessly, and then it was decided to find a destination. We turned back towards our room, and eventually the University. Enroute we passed many places possible for lunch. We settled on a festively lit facility that had impressive looking pizzas coming out of its ovens. I had a Cuba Libre with Ropa Vieja and rice n beans and the standard plantain chips. It was very tasty, and a solid value for about 10 CUP including propina.

Around the corner was the original Coppella, so I insisted we stop and check it out. Going thru the process once before that day, I wanted to ensure we got the peso ice cream. Seemingly prepared, we walked up to this behemoth of a structure. It was closed. All stalls were vacant, and the ice cream flavors empty. It turns out there was a small tourist stand in a trailer outside, but this was not something we were interested in. We stopped outside the university briefly, but it seemed to be undergoing renovation on some of the buildings (big piles of wood on the stairs). We kept walking. Right outside the university grounds was a museum for Napoleon. This was closed as well. Mondays tend to have this problem in Cuba.

We proceeded along San Miguel to our room where we rested for a few minutes and re-hydrated. We then set off for Old Havana yet again, with backpack in hand. The shop 2 blocks away we stopped at, and viewed the selection of beverages. After making the acquisitions of 1 50cl Blanco, 1 100cl 3 year and 1 100cl 7 year for 36 CUP we returned these to the room. I kept my backpack for further acquisitions, but this proved to be more of a hindrance, as we went by some shops and they either wanted me to leave my bag for a fee, or prohibited bags from entering the store. In old Havana we went back to Floriditia and sought out larger shirt sizes and a hat. No hats this time, and it was crowded as ever.

In the same building was a tobacco shop we explored. Tempting as some of the offers were, no purchases were made. Further wandering towards the port brought us to several souvenir stalls we explored and finally a food place with not as crazy of a line. Ready for a snack, I purchased a chorizo pizza for 20 CUP. Mmmm very tasty. I went back and bought 2 more plus a small ice cream (malto) for 2 CUC. I was overcharged by 7 CUP, but was ok with that, as I was about out of CUP's. We wandered to the waterfront again, and saw some locals fishing. One person was using a pole, but most had hand lines, holding the spool of fishing line directly, and some kind of hook apparatus with bait attached. They walked over the seawall to perform this right in the crashing surf.

We continued along the seawall towards San Francisco and the ferry terminal- a cruise ship was docked. And then we turned back inland to slowly make it back towards our room and find somewhere for dinner. A few thousand meters later we stopped at the India Park, an island in the middle of a traffic circle. Here we took a look at some options, and after almost selecting a Chinese place (we were right by Chinatown after all ), settled on Restaurante D' Lirio that was 167 m away across from the Capitol. It was a busy place with folks waiting for tables, but once we mentioned the bar, were whisked inside. I had my first mojito of the trip, and in no time at all had a proper table. This was a fancier place with live singing, fancy waiter service, and an extensive drink menu. At 2.95 CUC for a Mojito, not bad.

And, they used the 3 años Havana Club for it, not the el-cheapo blanco. Sampled some Santana rum, this was tasty. And I ended up with a massive combination platter of meats- beef, pork, chicken and smoked pork. Red beans and rice, and candied fried whole bananas, it was only 11.95 CUC. A second beverage of Havana was 2.95 CUC as well, a pineapple rum drink.

We had an uneventful walk back to our room, settled the bill for room and dinner with Tania (Was 22 CUC extra for dinner, not bad), and watched a bit of local programming, enjoying a Cuba Libre.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 8:10 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 5:01 pm
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Tuesday morning, our last day on the island started far too early. I woke up at 3 AM and eventually made it back to sleep. Something didn't agree with me yesterday, possibly the 3 CUP ice cream that was quite tasty. At 9, I woke up and took a shower with the contraption, water was on for once. Ate breakfast, the same standard offering we've been eating. However the fruit was displayed slightly differently today. And with our later start, no beach again. The locals thought I was crazy trying to go there. The weather hadn't looked like it changed either; I didn't feel like getting sand blasted at the beach.

Folks were constantly going by the street selling wares and food. I'm not sure what they are selling exactly, but it defiantly adds to the authentic aspect of this experience. The smells of raw diesel wafting through the air, permeating the open windows.

We wandered into town one last time, going by the hardware store again, central park, and even Floridita. We sat and people watched at central park as throngs of tourists and locals wandered around. Some looked a bit lost, but many found their way onto the hop on hop off bus. Running low on CUC's, a quick stop in a hotel saw us with a replenished supply. I put aside 35 CUC's to get back to the airport with. I picked up a few more souvenir items, striving for food was difficult as the state stores never were replenished much.

We wandered back to our casa, bought a bit more rum, and packed up. At 3 PM our ride arrived as arranged by Tania. We had wanted to ride in a convertible back to the airport, and it was only 5 CUC more for this experience. Right on time a 50's era bright red with a diesel engine pulled up. Our driver was very friendly and in an energetic mood, helping load our luggage (had more room today) and we were off. This was a scenic way to get there- I sat in the middle seat in the back, no seat belts of course, and held onto my hat. My camera battery had finally died, but I was prepared- battery pack and charger in my pocket- I was able to power back up and film away.

Again about a 30 minute ride, passing along the same route as before, including Revolution Square. Lots of milita around that place. Got to Terminal 2 and we drove right up to the checkin area. 35 CUC plus 1 CUC tip, and I was about out of CUC. Perfect.

The line was not too bad for the Alaska counter on the far right. There was even a Premier line for those in First Class. This is where we learned the airport agency ECASA does not have access to Alaska's system. They are only able to check us in for AS287 and our bags to LAX. Ok, we'll recheck our bags there. We go thru passport control no problem, get stamped and a quick security check. I always seem to set the alarm off there; its funny for when they wand you, as you stand on top of a podium to do this.

Terminal 2 is rather bleak inside- its a large holding area, and single story. Boarding is directly on the tarmac via air stairs. There are a few places to buy souvenirs and duty free, but the souvenirs are much more expensive airside. However the local rum in the Duty Free store is the same price (guess that's one advantage to having state run) although they have an annoying charge for the duty free bag you're required to buy. There is also a small bar with snacks where one can get one last beverage before departure.

AS286 arrived late, finally saw it on the ground. Apparently it left LAX late. We start queuing up, and conversing with other passengers, we discover someone on our flight who has notoriety. Jamie Lee Curtis is seated directly in front of me. Someone even asked for a recording for his blog. Myself, I have no idea who she is. But she was pleasant to interact with. Boarding starts and I'm the third person to have their boarding pass scanned, and walk out onto the tarmac. Its a short walk, but breezy outside. Slightly overcast, I was ready to go back to the United States. We get to the airstairs at the bottom of the aircraft and hold for a few minutes. Perhaps they're not ready to board yet?
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 8:31 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 5:33 pm
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We then find out that we've got to return to the terminal. Uh oh. The Alaska contracted agents were very apologetic. We get back and find out a dime sized hole is in the tire. Cubana doesn't exactly have a Boeing fleet here, so I'm a bit concerned about getting out tonight. From a distance we can see quite the huddle of folks around the right rear tire (left one) looking at it and seemingly devising a plan. We get the occasional update, but more information by 6:20 PM. This deadline passes, and finally they made the decision to cancel the flight. They found a tire to replace ours with, but there was nobody certified to sign off on the paperwork, so a mechanic would be flown in on the next day's flight. A mob scene develops with the 123 passengers crowding the podium to hear what is going on. And it was revealed that they will work to get everyone re-accommodated, but they could not rebook anyone there, they had to contact Seattle as their system could not communicate effectively with Alaska's.

AT&T did not work in Cuba, and despite there being airport wifi, shops were not selling cards to gain access. Verizon phone service worked at $2.99 a minute, but we could not get 1800 phone numbers to work nor 206 numbers. So I was unable to call Alaska to seek out other flight options. I ended up calling the Anchorage Board Room to confirm the rebooking.

We were then informed that buses were being chartered and Alaska would be putting us up in a hotel for the night and provided with dinner and breakfast the next day. However a Condor flight had just arrived (was actually holding for 30+ minutes due to our broken aircraft waiting for Austrian to push back) and those 300+ passengers were going thru Immigration. So once they were done and got their luggage we'd be able to pass thru again and claim our bags. Some folks I think split at this point, especially those with no checked luggage. It took around an hour to reclear immigration and get our bags, mine was one of the last off the carousel. They were re-scanning each bag too, which I thought was a bit crazy- wasn't it all scanned when we checked in earlier in the day? We boarded the bus and was on the road by around 8 PM. They were checking each passenger off the manifest to make sure we had boarded the bus.

About a half hour ride, we got to Melia Habana around 8:40 PM, and were in our room just after 9 PM. Had we taken off, we'd of been halfway to LAX by then. Apparently some ended up at a hotel next door, at the Hotel Triton Neptuno, but that wasn't as nice of a facility.

We logged into wifi for the first time on our trip, and emailed friends, family and work that we'd be stuck a day. We were able to access our reservation online, but no skype would work, so couldn't call Alaska. There were no instructions online either for getting in touch with Alaska from Cuba on their international contact page.

We went downstairs and found the "cafeteria" for dinner. The option was chicken, and we got "one non-alcoholic beverage" to go with it. I had some tasty guava drink.

I ventured across the street just up the block and ended up with some fried chicken.

Went back up and had a poor night of sleep. Despite the offerings of this hotel and solid ratings online, the beds sucked. Mine was at a bit of an angle and very hard. I slept better at the casa.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 8:48 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 6:18 pm
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Woke up and soldiered down to breakfast. Slept in longer then I wanted, but nothing big planned for the day. Breakfast turned out better than dinner. Lots of options to eat, 2 egg stations, local and international food, and even a place for mimosas. Ate a bit much, and finally got on my bathing suit for the pool. The facilities overall were pleasant at the hotel, and apparently they had the largest pool in the city. It was still windy and with clouds overhead, a bit cool to go swimming. Its a bit unfortunate there was no beach here, but it appeared to be a cliff if you went outside the fenced area. So I lounged for an hour or so. Freshened up in the room and went to a store I saw on google maps next door. Turns out this was a whole open air shopping mall, with international brands galore. I found a state store inside accepting CUC, so I burned off a bit more of the CUC's I acquired the night before exchanging with the Front Desk, getting a resupply of rum. With the delay last night, we finished off a small bottle of rum. That was an interesting part- to get ice, one needed to go to the lobby bar to get it. There were no machines. But they were nice sized round cubes, perfect for sipping.

Anyway, we finished off the bottle that afternoon. It turns out Alaska arranged for lunch downstairs again, so we checked out of our room (2 PM) and went to eat. Chicken yet again. Oh, with leftover hash browns from breakfast. These guys were clearly overwhelmed, but we saw the Alaska agent who reconfirmed our flight arrangements. He also said we've been moved to AS287 for that day, not the later AS9277 once the tire was fixed. This was nice, as this flight was further delayed with its tire change, and would have made catching our connection onto AS175 difficult.

We boarded our bus around 2:45 PM, and were on our way by 3 for the airport.

After offloading the bus, it was quite the cluster with two plane loads of people trying to check in. Apparently the load was rather small for AS287 today, so most of the folks on the cancelled flight yesterday were accommodated on today's AS287, not having to wait for the tire replacement.

We were able to snake our way over to the Premier line again, and eventually got our bags checked and re-cleared immigration. The agent was confused as I didn't have my visa anymore, but when she found out I was on yesterday's cancelled Alaska flight, I was waived through. Surprise, I got another stamp in my passport.

The inbound AS286 was late again, but we finally boarded AS287, taxied and took off.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 9:08 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 6:41 pm
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AS287 was a full flight with all the passengers moved over. Takeoff was fine, but was surprised when gogo didn't work until late into the flight. It turns out we were in Mexican airspace for most of the flight. The original plane I was on flight AS9277 went much more northern on its routing. Perhaps that was due to the thunderstorms we were skirting around. I saw a nice electrical storm off to the left an hour or so into the flight- they can sure light up the sky. Some light to moderate turbulence, I was able to finish a few more movies. Dinner was...chicken again This was very tasty, served in a Germanic style with spaetzle and purple sauerkraut. Dessert was a pre-packaged brownie, and there was no snack basket as the flight was round trip catered.

Arrival into gate 212 was exciting as always, as we had a bus ride to TBIT. Around 40 minutes after arrival our bags showed up, and we cleared customs. It seemed everybody from our Cuba flight was sent to secondary- the agents did not say anything about my rum, but did inquire about the canned goods I had. Mentioned they were canned fruit, and was waived on.

We walked to the bag recheck area expecting to see an Alaska agent meeting our flight. This did not happen, and we could not check our bag to ANC as mentioned earlier, the agents in HAV do not have access to enough of Alaska's system. So we had to trek our bags down to T6, wait in line and recheck our bags onto AS175. Others had to do the same. This was further annoying as we were planning on reclearing TSA at TBIT and going to the Admirals Club for a quick shower before our redeye.

I ended up getting a burger at The Habit Burger Grill, a triple pattied one with real beef. Stopped at the Boardroom for a quick diet coke, and went onboard. Just before pushback, I was actually upgraded. As I was in row 17 with an empty middle, I gave the upgrade to my companion. I slept for 99% of the uneventful flight, and after landing to the north in ANC (rare), welcomed the cooler temperatures in the jetway. I was glad to be home. 2 hours later I was at work, yippee.

Thanks for reading my narrative. Overall HAV is an exciting place to visit, and I'd be interested in returning some day. Alaska has some great contract agents in Havana. However be flexible with your return, as it looks like the 3/14 AS287 was cancelled yet again. But I'd like to get out of town and see a bit more of the country in the future. And somehow get a hold of more CUP's as that's where the real value is.
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Last edited by beckoa; Mar 17, 17 at 9:18 pm
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Old Mar 17, 17, 10:48 pm
  #9  
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Nice report!

What were your traveling companion's impressions?
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Old Mar 17, 17, 11:04 pm
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Thanks for posting this! I've been waiting for a trip report on Alaska's HAV service.
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Old Mar 17, 17, 11:11 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Nice report!

What were your traveling companion's impressions?
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Old Mar 18, 17, 12:17 am
  #12  
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Awesome tr, Beck! Looked like a great time, despite the delay on the return.
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Old Mar 18, 17, 12:49 pm
  #13  
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OK, I've seen enough of the hell hole that is Cuba to satisfy my curiosity. Check.
Interesting report and quite an adventure. Thanks for taking one for the team.
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Old Mar 18, 17, 11:25 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
OK, I've seen enough of the hell hole that is Cuba to satisfy my curiosity. Check.
Interesting report and quite an adventure. Thanks for taking one for the team.
Life isn't always about being disappointed if one doesn't get to experience AF La Premiere on every trip.

Have some more tea
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Old Mar 19, 17, 12:32 pm
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Sorry to hear about your mechanical issues. There's nothing like adventure when traveling to that part of the world.

Surprisingly, ECASA was unable to issue our Westjet boarding passes on our connecting flight with them as well so its probably not a unique thing solely related to Alaska.
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