view of the coast of Cuba from the window of a plane

Booking Flights from the U.S. to Cuba: A Guide 

The first step in the process of planning a trip to Cuba is finding and purchasing flights. While this was once a complicated process, it’s now possible for anyone in the U.S. to buy tickets online through various major airlines. 

In this guide, we lay out all the details about flights to Cuba from the U.S.— which airlines fly to Cuba, where they fly from, how to buy tickets, legal guidelines, what to expect and the documents every traveler needs to have. 

Which Airlines Fly from the U.S. to Cuba? 

As of this writing, Southwest, American, United and Delta all offer flights from the U.S. to Cuba. Regardless of citizenship, any traveler can book a flight online without any paperwork or prior approval, just like booking a flight to any destination.  

Confused about visas? Allow us to explain.

Our mission is to provide clear, accurate information on Cuba travel for Americans. Check out our article on visas or visit our site for more!

The Flight Booking Process

The process for booking a flight to Cuba online is almost identical to booking a flight to any other destination. The only difference? There is an extra step in which the traveler affirms that they are traveling under one of the 12 authorized categories for U.S. citizens, and chooses the category that best fits their travel plans. The traveler is then responsible for adhering to the rules of this category and maintaining records to demonstrate compliance with the regulations. 

Legal Guidelines for Cuba Travel

U.S. law prohibits travel to Cuba for strictly touristic purposes. Americans traveling there must ensure that their activities fall within one of 12 specific categories. Americans interested in actively exploring Cuban culture and interacting with everyday Cubans during their visit can travel under the Support for the Cuban People category. 

This category simply requires planning a full daily itinerary each day, with activities like walking tours, dance lessons, rum tastings, museum visits, and anything else that directly supports Cuban entrepreneurs and small businesses. Putting together a trip that fits the guidelines requires some planning, but we offer tools and resources to help Americans put together safe, legal itineraries without having to pay for expensive tours. 

Flights to Cuba on Delta

Flights to Cuba are available from Delta via Miami International Airport. The only Cuban arrival city currently offered by Delta is Havana. 

Flights to Cuba on Southwest

Flights to Cuba are available on Southwest via Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Southwest, like Delta, currently only offers flights to Havana. 

Booking Lodging? Taxis? Activities? Restaurants?

Our mission is to provide expert advice on Cuba travel for Americans. Our private business guide connects you directly to Cuban shops, restaurants, hotels, activities, and more!

Flights to Cuba on American Airlines

American Airlines offers flights via Miami International to multiple destinations within Cuba. Current arrival cities are: Havana, Santa Clara, Varadero, Camaguey, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba. 

Flights to Cuba on United Airlines

United flies to Cuba via George Bush International in Houston, with flights to Havana only. 

Flights to Cuba on Jet Blue

JetBlue doesn’t currently offer flights from the United States to Cuba. 

Flights to Cuba from Outside of the U.S.

In the past, U.S. citizens were able to skirt the travel restrictions for Cuba by flying through a third country like Mexico, Panama, or the Bahamas. While it’s perfectly legal to travel to Cuba via any other country outside the U.S., Americans are still required to adhere to the travel restrictions, no matter where their flight originates. 

We strongly advise against trying to get around the scrutiny of U.S. authorities by traveling through a third country. Why? If you’re planning to follow the guidelines, it’s better to fly direct, as flights through third countries could raise suspicion when reentering the U.S. 

CAYOS: Cuba Travel for Americans

Our mission is to provide clear, accurate information on Cuba travel for Americans. Check out our articles or visit our site for maps, itineraries and more!

Documents You’ll Need

Before you depart for Cuba, make sure you have a valid passport with plenty of time until it expires. You’ll also need to get a Cuban “tourist card” (also called a visa) and complete an online Cuban customs form within three days of your departure. 

The visa can be purchased on the day of departure through the airline, or online ahead of time through licensed agencies like Online Tourist Card

The Cuban government also requires visitors to have proof of health insurance coverage, but if you book a flight on a U.S. airline, the required insurance is included in the price of your ticket. This insurance gives you access to Cuba’s network of tourist hospitals and clinics should you need them. 

If your flight originates outside of the U.S., you can purchase insurance independently or pay a small fee for access to Cuba’s tourist system.

What to Expect When Leaving the U.S.

On the day of your departure, airlines recommend that you arrive at the airport earlier than normal to accommodate the extra time it can take to check travelers in and issue visas, but the process is essentially the same as it is for any international flight. 

Some airlines have special weight requirements for luggage so be sure to review confirmation emails to be sure you don’t have to pay extra for overweight charges. 

What to Expect Upon Return to the U.S.

The customs and immigration experience when returning to the U.S. is typically no different than returning from any international destination. Officials will ask you a few questions about how long you were out of the country and may ask you about your official travel category, but typically the don’t ask to see any documentation or require any proof of your trips compliance. 

As of this writing, it is prohibited to bring Cuban tobacco or alcohol products back into the U.S., even for personal use. Artisanal products purchased directly from the artist are allowed. 

More Cuba Travel Tips

Our team is dedicated to helping U.S. travelers plan safe, legal, independent Cuba travel. In addition to our curated maps, we offer free phone consultations, customizable itineraries (coming soon) and helpful guides and articles.

Scroll to Top