Most major Cuban cities have an airport. Cuba’s state-owned airlines have a monopoly. Their safety records do not inspire confidence, although many old Soviet planes have been replaced by modern aircraft. Because of hijacking attempts, Cuban authorities restrict the amount of fuel on aircraft on internal flights. Flights are often booked up weeks in advance, especially in peak season. Tickets are normally nonrefundable. If you reserve before arriving in Cuba, you’ll be given a voucher to exchange for a ticket upon arrival in Cuba. Arrive on time for check-in; otherwise your seat will be given away. Delays, cancellations, and schedule changes are common. You can book at hotel tour desks.
Cubana (Calle 23, e/ 0 y P, Havana, tel. 07/834-4446, www.cubana.cu) serves most airports. Fares are 25 percent cheaper if booked in conjunction with an international Cubana flight.
Aerocaribbean (Calle 23 #64, Vedado, tel. 07/879-7524) and Aerogaviota (Av. 47 #2814, e/ 28 y 34, Rpto. Kohly, Havana, tel. 07/203-0668, fax 07/204-2621, www.aerogaviota.com) also operate flights. Since they’re all state-owned, don’t be surprised to find yourself flying Aerocaribbean even if you booked with Cubana.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition