Flights to Havana to initially cost about $150 round trip
Paul Guzzo, Times Staff Writer
Thursday, October 13, 2016 5:00pm
Southwest Airlines entered the Tampa-to-Havana market Thursday.
The initial flight takes off Dec. 12. It will be the first commercial
flight in more than five decades between the two cities.
Southwest is now selling tickets for $59 for a one-way direct flight
from Tampa International Airport to Havana's José Martí International
Online booking shows a higher return cost, adding up to about $150 for
the round trip.
Ticket prices are good through Nov. 20 and the trip must be made before
Under U.S. law, American citizens are banned from visiting Cuba for
tourism. The trip must fall under one of 12 categories, including
educational, professional or family visits.
Family was the focus of the news conference announcing the flights
Thursday morning at Tampa International Airport.
"This is good news for Tampa Bay area families who want to connect with
their relatives on the island of Cuba," U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said at
She noted that five years ago, Tampa Bay area residents with relatives
in Cuba had to travel to Miami for flights to the island.
It was in 2011 that charter flights to Cuba were introduced at Tampa
Since then, more than 300,000 passengers have traveled to and from Cuba
on those flights, said airport CEO Joe Lopano. He credited the bay
area's Cuban-American population, the third largest in the nation, with
much of that success.
Even Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has been openly against engagement
with Cuba, expressed excitement over what these new commercial flights
to Havana mean to the local Cuban-American population.
He didn't attend the event, but Tampa public affairs director Ashley
Bauman told the Tampa Bay Times that Buckhorn "is in support of any
opportunity for Cuban families to reunite."
Contact Paul Guzzo at email@example.com or (813) 226-3394. Follow
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