Open Eyes Opinion
JetBlue to begin service to Cuba 31 August 2016
With August Launch of Flights to Santa Clara, JetBlue Ushers in Affordable, Customer-Friendly Travel to Cuba
NEW YORK–JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) announced it will launch flights to Cuba on August 31, 2016 (c). The airline said it is aimed at removing the high costs and complexity of travel to Cuba so that customers can instead get the most of their time visiting loved ones, arranging a unique cultural experience, taking care of business opportunities, or organizing their educational or not-for-profit organization group trip.
“It’s a new day for Cuba travelers and one we have thoughtfully prepared for,” said Marty St. George, executive vice president commercial and planning, JetBlue. “We are proud to usher in a new era of Cuba travel with affordable fares and great service.”
JetBlue will initially operate flights on three routes between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and:
- Santa Clara– Abel Santamaría Airport (SNU)
- Monday, Wednesday & Friday flights starting August 31, 2016
- Daily flights starting October 1, 2016
- Camagüey – Ignacio Agramonte Airport (CMW)
- Daily flights starting November 3, 2016
- Holguín – Frank País Airport (HOG)
- Daily flights starting November 10, 2016
JetBlue’s fares start at $99 one-way (a), include Cuban government-required health insurance and will be offered on an ongoing basis. JetBlue’s fares to Cuba offer the same amenities – like free seatback entertainment, free Fly-Fi wireless internet (d), unlimited complimentary snacks and soft drinks, and the most legroom in coach (e) – that have made the airline a leading carrier in the Caribbean. Seats on the three routes are available for purchase beginning today for customers who meet government travel requirements.
Removing Cost & Complexity for Customers
True to its customer focus, JetBlue is taking a number of steps unique to its Cuba launch to set it apart from competitors known for offering high prices and inferior service:
- Affordable fares: JetBlue is introducing a low starting fare to make Cuba more accessible to those visiting family members or traveling to Cuba for cultural, business or group travel.
- Health insurance included: JetBlue will include Cuban government-required health insurance coverage for all travelers on all Cuba-bound flights so that customers do not have to worry about obtaining the insurance separately.
- Affidavit in a few clicks: Under U.S. regulations, every customer traveling to Cuba must complete an affidavit affirming the customer is going for one of 12 reasons of approved travel from the U.S. Department of Treasury. JetBlue has built the completion of the affidavit right into the booking process so it can be finished in only a couple of clicks.
- Day-of-travel Cuban Tourist Visa (Tourist Card): Separate from the U.S. regulated 12 categories, visitors must also obtain an entrance visa into Cuba. For customers who qualify for a Cuban Tourist Visa (Tourist Card), JetBlue will make those visas available for purchase upon check-in at one of its gateway airports or at the gate for connecting customers on the day of travel. All travelers to Cuba should contact the Cuban Embassy in Washington to determine the appropriate type of visa required by Cuba for their purpose of travel.
- First bag flies free (f), 1+1 carry-ons: To make travel more affordable than it is today, JetBlue will include at least one free checked bag, up to 50 pounds, in all of its fare options to Cuba. Normal carry-on regulations will apply: one carry-on and one personal item.
- Breeze in, breeze out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood:Broward County’s Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is considered South Florida’s most convenient airport, centrally located just 30 minutes north of Miami, and 45 minutes south of Palm Beach. With convenient parking located a close walking distance from the terminals, travelers can breeze in and clear security within minutes.
“We are honored to partner with JetBlue as they launch this historic inaugural service to Cuba for Broward County residents and the South Florida Community,” said Mark Gale, CEO/Director of Aviation for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). “We are very pleased to be offering the region’s first regularly scheduled commercial flights to the island nation in more than half a century, and providing our passengers with a wonderful and economical air service option between JetBlue’s gateway at FLL and Cuba.”
In addition to the service that is out for sale, JetBlue was also tentatively awarded flights between Havana and three U.S. cities (g) – for a total of up to seven daily roundtrips between the countries – and will announce a start date and fares for Havana later this year.
When service to Cuba begins JetBlue will operate in 22 countries and the new routes will further grow JetBlue’s presence in the Caribbean and at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood where the airline is the largest carrier, flying to more than 50 nonstop destinations by the end of the year. Customers across the JetBlue network may also take advantage of JetBlue’s convenient connections to and from Cuba through its South Florida focus city.
Flights between the U.S. and Santa Clara, Camagüey and Holguín will be operated on JetBlue’s Airbus A320 aircraft offering the airline’s award-winning service, featuring the most legroom in coach (d); free Fly-Fi, the fastest broadband internet in the sky (d); complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks and soft drinks; free, live DIRECTV® programming and 100 channels of SiriusXM® radio in every seatback.
Schedule Between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and Santa Clara (SNU)
Monday, Wednesday & Friday Flights Starting August 31, 2016(c)
Daily Flights Starting October 1, 2016(c)
|FLL – SNU Flight #387||SNU – FLL Flight #388|
|11:00 a.m. – 12:12 p.m.||1:15 p.m. – 2:35 p.m.|
Schedule Between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and Camagüey (CMW)
Daily Flights Starting November 3, 2016(c)
|FLL – CMW Flight #2327||CMW – FLL Flight #2328|
|10:35 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.||1:01 p.m. – 2:33 p.m.|
Schedule Between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and Holguín (HOG)
Daily Flights Starting November 10, 2016(c)
|FLL – HOG Flight #2033||HOG – FLL Flight #2032|
|11:30 a.m. – 1:04 p.m.||2:05 p.m. – 3:46 p.m.|
Additional information on traveling to Cuba will be posted at jetblue.com/flights/cuba as it is available.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline™, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 35 million customers a year to 96 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 925 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.
Blue fare only. Fare is subject to availability; may not be available on all flights; may change without notice; must be purchased at time of reservation; and is one-way, nonstop, nonrefundable and nontransferable. Reservations made one week or more prior to a flight’s scheduled departure may be canceled without penalty up to 24 hours after the reservation is made. For Blue and Blue Plus fares to Cuba, first checked bag is included and second bag is $35. For Blue Flex fares, two checked bags are included. Customers traveling on flights to or from Cuba and the USA may not check more than two bags, and oversized and/or overweight bags are not accepted. Fares do not include other fees for products/services sold separately, to view these click here. Cancellations/changes must be made prior to scheduled departure (otherwise all money for fare is forfeited); up to $150 change/cancel fee per person will apply, and for changes, there may be a fare adjustment. Cancellations receive JetBlue travel credit, valid for one year. Proper documentation required for boarding. Other restrictions apply. The Cuban Government requires visitors to have health insurance that covers the territory of Cuba and for U.S. citizens, this means local Cuban health insurance. When purchasing your JetBlue ticket to Cuba, Cuban health insurance provided by ESICUBA and administered by Asistur is automatically included in the cost of your fare. Terms and conditions can be accessed from the ESICUBA website: http://www.esicuba.cu/ProdPersonas.html.
|(b)||JetBlue will offer Cuban Tourist Visas (Tourist Cards) for purchase only. Other Cuban Visas, such as Press or Business Visas, must be obtained directly from the Cuban Embassy.|
|(c)||Subject to receipt of government operating authority.|
|(d)||Fly-Fi is not available on flights operating outside of the continental U.S. For flights originating outside of the continental U.S., Fly-Fi will be available once the aircraft returns to the coverage area. Fly-Fi is available on most JetBlue-operated flights, with fleet-wide installation complete by the end of 2016.|
|(e)||JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach, based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines.|
|(f)||Each checked bag must not exceed 62 inches (157.48 centimeters) in overall dimensions (length + width + height). Baggage dimensions are determined by adding the length, width and height together. Additional baggage and bags that exceed the overall dimensions or weight will not be allowed onboard flights to/from Cuba.|
Havana routes subject to final government approval (see DOT Order 2016-7-4, July 7, 2016, Docket DOT-OST-2016-0021) and subject to receipt of Cuban government approval.
[Source: JetBlue Airways-Media Relations (Businesswire)]
[Photo credits-featured image: Fishing at the Malecon at sunset. At the back, the Hotel Nacional in Vedado. Havana – © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, via Wikimedia Commons]
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