Take Me to Cuba

Monday, 7 January 2013

Virgin Blue
▲ This is Virgin Blue – the Australian offshoot – not the London-based Virgin Atlantic. I flew Virgin Blue down to Tasmania a few days ago

BootsnAll Travel alerted me to their new Indie website which, they claim, is the first one that lets you book Instant Pricing, No Rules, and Online for Multi-Stop travel (6+ stops) travel. With all those weird and wonderful routes out there just waiting to be tried this has to be a good thing. Give it a try!

I played with the site to try and come up with some weird and wonderful Round the World (RTW) routes but have a look at their Round the World Ticket Report if you want to learn more. If you’re investigating tricky air fares it’s important that you do cover all the possibilities, compare weekends with mid-weeks, beware of the problems local holidays or events can bring in and check that a particular airline doesn’t simply fail to show up.

Watch out for weird political situations as well. US based websites are unable to show you flights that go to Cuba for example, even when the flight has nothing to do with the US. Why should the US be concerned about London-Havana, Toronto-Havana or Mexico City-Havana flights? The Indie website can’t come up with routings that involve Cuba, nor can the Lonely Planet site which utilises Kayak. Ask Expedia about flying to Havana, Cuba and they’ll claim they’ve never heard of the place, are you sure you don’t mean somewhere in Hawaii?

I had a look at the British Airways website – which should be able to fly you to Cuba with their partner Iberia – and got this message:

• British Airways does not currently fly to this destination, so we are unable to find a price on We may be able to quote a price if you contact us for the destination: Havana

So British Airways can’t tell you about Cuba online, but will tell you if you phone them? Virgin Atlantic – who fly London Gatwick-Havana will sell you that flight, even from their US website. But try to book a flight that includes the US – say a round trip London-New York-Mexico City-Havana-London and it can’t be done. You could book London-New York-Mexico City as a one way and then Mexico City-Havana-London as another one way, but not the two together. Ridiculous? Yes.