Alaska Airlines’ Havana Inaugural Flight Party

As we arrived the night before, we headed to the check-in area to scope out what preparations would be in store for the upcoming flight. We noticed that there would be a special check-in area just for the Cuba flights, so with that in mind we knew right where to go.

There was a special VIP and Media check in desk… for some reason we weren’t on the list… I guess we just need to be a little more famous first.

Alaska's Havana Check In

Alaska’s Havana Check In

Once we checked in and got our boarding passes, we headed over to the Cuba Travel Services desk. More on that debacle here. This is where our journey begins.

Cuba Travel Services Desk

Cuba Travel Services Desk

One interesting thing to note, the Alaska flight to Havana leaves out of the regular gate and not the international terminal, so when we got out boarding passes, they included TSA PreCheck! A fun surprise for an international flight.

As we approached the departure gate, there was already a big media presence. Well dressed people were all taking turns saying things at the podium while TV cameras shot every moment. The included Joe Sprague from Alaska Airlines, representatives from the Port Authorities of Seattle and Los Angeles, and other political dignitaries. KOMO news from Seattle had a full crew on hand to capture the moment as well, the same crew that would accompany us on the flight down to Havana.

Alaska Airlines Havana Gate Press

Just to the right, the obligatory HAV balloons and pastelitos de guayaba y queso, pastelitos de carne, croquetas y mas. For the uninitiated, that’s tasty fried and baked goods ☺

Alaska Airlines HAV Balloons

Alaska Airlines Havana Gate Party

Starbucks coffee was also on hand (because nothing says Cuba like… Starbucks?)

The outbound and the return flight all had a chance to pose for a cute CUBA! Picture. Since there is no crew to fly the plane back from Havana, the outbound crew will be in coach and then simply do a turn back. I learned that they’re getting double pay for this flight ☺ Not a bad deal!

Alaska Airlines Inaugural Flight Crew

After a short ribbon cutting ceremony…

Alaska Airlines Havana Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

And a great Cuban musical group…

Alaska Airlines Havana Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Boarding was about to begin!

Alaska Airlines Havana Gate Area Boarding

This was our first inaugural flight EVER and I’m super pleased to see the huge buzz around the flight. The first West Coast to Cuba flight in over 50 years. A lot of people have been waiting for this, as service has only been from the east coast and Florida for the past several months.

It looks like the flights are around ¾ full, so that’s a good indication for this route’s success. If this trip turns out great for us, we’ll be back before you know it!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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