JetBlue put seats to Cuba on sale this morning, joining American Airlines and Silver Airways in marketing the trips. All three carriers were approved to fly non-Havana routes in early June and JetBlue was the last of the three to start selling. And while it may have been slightly later to the game when it comes to marketing its flights, JetBlue is now expected to operate the first commercial flight into Cuba from the United States since the thawing of relations; the inaugural from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara is scheduled for August 31st. Silver Airways will launch service on September 1st and American launches service a week later. Sun Country, Southwest and Frontier are also approved for the non-Havana service, though with seasonal schedules or intentions of starting later in the year.
The JetBlue schedule is as follows:
- 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
Fares on the JetBlue routes start at $99 one way with TrueBlue awards pricing as low as 3,500 points. My round-trip ticket for the inaugural priced at $206 or 7,000 points + ~$50 in fees; that’s around 2.23 cents per TrueBlue point in value, very much at the upper end of what the program offers. And, similar to some other Caribbean/Latin American markets all JetBlue Cuba fares include one free checked bag, even at the “Blue” fare family level which typically would not include such.
In order to support the new Cuba service JetBlue announced earlier this week that it will be leasing new A321 aircraft this fall, allowing it to take delivery quickly and increase capacity. The leased planes will support the Havana routes which are slated to fly with the larger aircraft; Santa Clara, Camagüey and Holguín will operate with A320s.
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