How to Pass Muster for Travel to Cuba

For Americans, there are legal requirements that they must meet to travel to Cuba. This post clarifies what they are, how to meet them, and what records must be kept.

https://skift.com/2016/07/29/you-can-soon-fly-to-cuba-but-only-after-satisfying-all-the-rules/

American, JetBlue, Spirit and other airlines are cleared to begin scheduled service to the island, some as early as September. JetBlue will have fares as low as $99 (or 3500 points).

JetBlue Will Be First U.S. Airline Back to Cuba

Fly the Inaugural Flight to Cuba for Just 3,500 Points!

Frontier and Spirit Airlines May Join TSA PreCheck

PreCheck is the TSA program that lets you bypass the lengthy “standard” security lines at US airports. If you have PreCheck you can use the short line, leave shoes on and leave liquids and computers in your carry-on luggage.

Now Frontier and Spirit have indicated that they will join PreCheck…the last US-based carriers to do so.

Frontier Airlines Finally Joins TSA PreCheck

The hangup has evidently been mostly the changes to their reservation systems needed to get that little PreCheck logo printed on boarding passes.

Spirit Airlines has very inexpensive flights, with lots of fees
Spirit Airlines has very inexpensive flights, with lots of fees

Passengers can get PreCheck in several ways. My favorite is to get Global Entry ($100 / 5 years), which includes PreCheck as a free bonus.

Another way is to sign up for PreCheck itself ($85 / 5 years). A third way is through some premium credit cards.

In the past the TSA granted temporary PreCheck to randomly-selected passengers, but the agency has stopped doing so.

Transcontinental NYC-LAX for $88 r/t on Spirit

Transcontinental flights for just $88 round-trip on Spirit Airline, plus the assorted fees that they add for everything.

http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/87881

There are a variety of restrictions, but if you can take the limited legroom and lack of other amenities on Spirit, this is worth checking.

Spirit Airlines has very inexpensive flights, with lots of fees
Spirit Airlines has very inexpensive flights, with lots of fees

Airlines Fighting Hard for Permission to Fly to Cuba

This summer the U.S. government will award permission for 30 flights per day from the United States to Cuba…20 to Havana, 10 to smaller cities. Airlines applying for these need to tell why they are a good choice, and why the other airlines are not.

So, the airlines have come out swinging.

JetBlue says it is the “leading domestic airline at JFK,” a claim which Delta described as “demonstrably false.”

Southwest applied for 9 of the 20 daily flights to Havana, saying it can offer lower fares than its competitors…even lower than Spirit. American Airlines described some of Southwest’s application as “absurd.”

American also slammed Alaska Airlines application.

It looks like both fares and seat availability to Cuba will be low.

Updated Award Chart Comparison for Mainline U.S. Carriers

Here is an updated version of MileValue’s award-chart comparison for major United States airlines:

http://www.milevalue.com/comparison-of-united-delta-and-american-airlines-latest-2016-award-charts/

The chart covert the Big 3 mainline airlines in the U.S. – American, Delta and United. The fourth column is for American Airlines off-peak awards, which come with a considerable savings.

The chart does not cover Allegiant, JetBlue, Frontier, Spirit, Southwest and other smaller airlines.

American Airlines, Photo by Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Blogger Hates Spirit Airlines, But Has Never Flown Them. Credible?

Miguel Quinones is a travel blogger who points to verifiable statistical evidence to show that low-cost Spirit Airlines is terrible.

A bunch of commenters, many of whom have flown Spirit, disagree.

http://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/2016/02/19/spirit-is-truly-a-horrible-airline/

Who are you going to believe?

In my particular case, I have long legs and am confident that I would not be a happy camper in one of their closely-packed 28-inch-pitch seats. In a “Big Front Seat” I think I could be happy…I’ll have to try it one day.

Free seats

Loophole in Spirit Airlines Call Center Process May Save You Money

In an interesting thread on Reddit, someone has described a creative way to change passenger on an existing Spirit airline reservation.

Spirit utilizes an overseas call center, staffed by people whose native language is not English. They do not recognize which English-language names are real and which are bogus.

Spirit does not permit the transfer of a ticket from one person to another, but they do permit “spelling errors” on issued tickets to be corrected.

So, someone figured out a way to transfer a ticket, say from “Pete” to “Sharon”.

  • First, call in with a spelling correction, so Pete becomes Shete.
  • Later, call in with another spelling correction, Shete becomes Share.
  • Then finish up with a call to correct Share to Sharon.

Clever hack!

Old-Style Call Center Telephone. Photo by Vincent_AF / Flickr