Flight Prices to Cuba Could Drop Almost 50% - Hopper Research

Flight Prices to Cuba Could Drop Almost 50%

Patrick
By Patrick Surry
Posted Mar 21, 2016

Summary

  • Flight search interest is up more than 500% from last year as more online travel agencies begin to list flights to Cuba
  • Although flights from the US are available with appropriate paperwork, they are still much more expensive than nearby destinations, averaging $717 from a typical US origin
  • For most US travelers, the only way to visit Cuba is a lengthy, indirect trip via a third country, such as Canada, Mexico or various Caribbean destinations. The best options, via Mexico, can still be 20% cheaper than current direct prices from the US.
  • We project that average round-trip prices will fall almost 50%, to an average of $364, if and when the US lifts all travel restrictions and US airlines add capacity, with nonstop round-trip flights from Miami projected at $275.


The warming of relations between the United States and Cuba has spurred an increased interest in traveling to Cuba, with search traffic for flights up 500% from last year as more online travel agencies begin to list flights to Cuba.

Now that recent rule changes have made it easier for Americans to legally visit Cuba, several airlines have applied to fly additional routes in anticipation of the lifting of those restrictions.

Although flights from the US are available with appropriate paperwork, flights are still much more expensive than nearby destinations, averaging $717 from a typical US origin. Consistent with global flight price trends, airfare from the US to Cuba has dropped about 13% from last year, primarily due to plunging fuel prices.


Airfare search demand for Cuba from the US is up more than 500% from last year


For most US travelers, the only way to visit Cuba is a lengthy, indirect trip via a third country, such as Canada, Mexico or various Caribbean destinations. Surprisingly, it can be cheaper to combine two round-trips via Canada or Mexico and then onward to Cuba, than to buy a flight directly from a US origin. The best options, via Mexico, can still be 20% cheaper than current direct flight prices from the US.

The countries listed in the table below offer direct flights to Cuba. The total cost column indicates how much it costs to flight to that country from the United States and then fly to Cuba.


Hopper calculated the cost of flying from a typical US origin to each of the cities that offer direct flights to Cuba to come up with a total round-trip cost of getting from the US to Cuba

What would happen if Congress lifted the travel embargo and airlines in the US were add capacity? To estimate how much direct flights from the US to Cuba might cost if the travel embargo was lifted, we looked at the typical round-trip cost from the US to nearby destinations, as well as specifically from Miami since it's the closest hub. The weighted average price from the US to destinations near Cuba is $364, just over half of the actual round-trip prices to Cuba. From Canada, the weighted average price of destinations near Cuba is almost identical to prices to Cuba itself.

Therefore, we're projecting that average round-trip prices will fall almost 50%, to an average of $364, if and when the US lifts travel restrictions and US airlines add capacity. We're predicting that nonstop round-trip flights from Miami will be even cheaper than most US origins with average prices of $275.


To estimate how much future direct flights from the United States to Cuba might cost if the embargo were lifted, Hopper looked at the typical cost of round-trip flights from the United States and Canada to Cuba and Caribbean destinations nearby.