Ever sit in your Harlem home and dream of spending the holidays in Havana?* Well, Southwest Airlines just granted your wish, with $59 one-way flights to the Cuban capital, the first U.S. commercial airline to do so in more than five decades. Think about it: That ticket, from Tampa or Fort Lauderdale to Havana, is cheaper than a one-way fare on Southwest from Atlanta to Charleston, and nearly 100 miles farther. Nonstop flights to Havana, Southwest’s 100th destination, will begin from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale on December 12, and flights to the beach destination Varadero on November 13. The airline says it will announce its plans for service from Florida to the landlocked city of Santa Clara in the next few weeks.
The $59 flight deal has some of the best availability we’ve seen, and the fare is valid for almost all travel between November 13 and April 24, 2017. (Tickets must be bought at least two weeks in advance of travel dates in order to qualify for the rate.) You’ll also still need to fall under one of the 12 legal reasons to visit Cuba under current U.S. law, including educational trips, professional trips, or family visits. Since Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Tampa are home to the first and third-largest populations of Cuban Americans, respectively, they’re ideal departure hubs for the historic flights.
Since June, six U.S. airlines have received permission to fly routes to Cuba, though Havana has been excluded until now. JetBlue was the first to land a commercial flight in the country, with a trip to Santa Clara on Aug. 31. With Southwest’s announcement, insiders expect other airlines to follow with cheap fares of their own to Havana, though $59 might be hard to beat.
To book: You have until November 20 this flight deal—while seats last, of course. This booking is pretty easy, though you’ll need to have a legal reason to visit before you book. (See above.) If you’re feeling spontaneous and want to book first and figure a visa out later, know that these flights are non-refundable, but can be redeemed for other Southwest flights if you need to cancel your Cuba trip in the future. Just head to the Southwest booking site and select a one-way flight that works for you. Included in your $59 fare? Cuban healthcare (required for all American visitors) and two checked bags.
*Prices for flights from New York City airports (JFK Airport and La Guardia Airport) may differ.