International Business

Another sign of change in Cuba: Delta Air Lines selling tickets from Havana office

Delta Air Lines plans to use A 320 planes on its Havana routes, which begin Dec. 1.
Delta Air Lines plans to use A 320 planes on its Havana routes, which begin Dec. 1. Delta

Delta Air Lines, which plans to resume regularly scheduled flights to Cuba on Dec. 1, has opened an office in Havana and is already selling tickets.

Although other U.S. commercial airlines also have plans to locate ticket offices in Havana, Delta is the first in more than five decades. Its new office, located on La Rampa in the Vedado neighborhood, opened its doors Nov. 7.

“So far ticket sales have gone well,” said a Delta spokesman Friday.

As part of the U.S. opening toward Cuba, U.S. commercial airlines began offering regularly scheduled flights to cities outside the Cuban capital in the late summer and early fall, and service to Havana will start rolling out just after Thanksgiving.

Many of the airlines that have or plan to offer regular service to Cuba didn’t even exist at the time of the Cuban Revolution. But Delta first began flying scheduled flights to Cuba in the 1950s after it merged with Chicago and Southern Air Lines, which had nonstop flights from New Orleans to Havana.

Delta suspended its service to Cuba on Dec. 1, 1961 — although it has leased its planes for Cuban charter flights in recent years.

The airline plans to resume scheduled service 55 years to the day after it pulled out from the island. Its first flight will depart from Miami bound for Havana on Dec. 1, followed by Delta flights to the Cuban capital from New York (JFK) and its Atlanta hub.

Currently passengers can only buy tickets at Delta’s Havana office using Cuban convertible pesos (CUCs), but Delta hopes to be able to offer payment by credit card soon. Passengers waiting to purchase tickets also will get free Wi-Fi service so they can review flight options while they wait.

Several U.S. airlines plan to begin service to Havana in late November and early December. American Airlines will be first out of the gate with a Miami-Havana flight on Nov. 28.

South Floridians will have plenty of options for scheduled flights to the Cuban capital.

JetBlue plans to start its twice-daily service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Nov. 30, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines plan to begin service from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 1, and Southwest will begin offering twice-daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Havana on Dec. 12.