21:38 PM

Southwest Airlines to re-launch nonstop TPA service to Havana

With new restrictions in place, people can now fly from Tampa to Cuba on the commercial airline beginning Dec. 6.

As some international service slowly returns to Tampa International Airport, Southwest Airlines is planning to bring back the most popular route among the Tampa Bay region’s Cuban-American families with its commercial nonstop service between Tampa and Havana.

On Dec. 6, Southwest will resume its daily Havana flights after halting the service in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The flights return just in time for the Christmas holiday season, a relief to the more than 73,000 Cubans who live in the Tampa Bay region and will be looking to reconnect with loved ones. While Cuba charter flights resumed weeks ago, Southwest’s service provides an easy connection that has been enjoyed by TPA passengers since it first launched four years ago.

Travel between the two countries comes with some restrictions, of course, as there are not only tourist card requirements for Americans to enter Cuba but COVID-19 requirements for all visitors as well. Among some of the pandemic-related requirements for people visiting Cuba: Travelers will receive a free COVID-19 test upon arrival at José Martí International Airport and must quarantine at a hotel or casa particular for 24 hours. Also, incoming travelers must carry travel insurance that covers COVID-19, which may also be purchased at the airport for $30.

For more information on travel to Cuba, several travel sites provide guidance including the IATA Travel Centre interactive map.