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Inside Havana’s International Airport

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Havana, Cuba for a couple of days as an add-on to my mileage run to Panama for American’s elite fast track promo. I was able to fly roundtrip from Panama to Havana on Copa using miles. Good stuff.

My flight from Panama arrived in Havana at about 1am, so I didn’t have the opportunity to see much of the airport upon arrival. I did notice it was very red though. Thankfully on the way back home I had a little more time to explore the airport before taking off.

In true Cuban style, my ride to the airport was in a very old Russian Lada. The car had almost 400,000 KMs on it, but I noticed the speedometer wasn’t working so who knows what the true number is. I found it interesting that the entire cabin smells of fuel while the car is in motion. Engineering at its best.

havana airport terminal 3 review
My ride to the airport. I was a little dizzy from the gas fumes, but it was an experience nonetheless.

Havana’s international airport has three terminals with the vast majority of international flights taking off out of Terminal 3. Built in 1998, terminal 3 is very modern and nice. Of course, it is red. Very red.

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The check-in areas are very large and I found that the lines moved very quickly. In short, the departure experience was smooth. Among the amenities outside of security are a couple of snack bars and a currency exchange which is a must in Cuba. There are of course some other things we don’t often see anymore.

havana airport terminal 3 review
Telephone booths? I haven’t seen those in awhile! Located landside in Terminal 3.
havana airport terminal 3 review
In Cuba you aren’t supposed to bring their currency out of the country.
havana airport terminal 3 review
The check-in counters were modern and everything moved very smoothly.
havana airport terminal 3 review
An upstairs snack bar area landside.

After checking in, I began to make my way airside. While I don’t have photos of the immigration and security areas for obvious reasons, I can say they are as red as everything else. The immigration process both coming and going was as easy as I have experienced in any country. Agents were friendly and professional.

Once airside there is a row of shops with a small lounge off to the left. (I didn’t have access!) The main gate area is a large room with plenty of seating and a large snack bar in the middle. The chairs weren’t the most comfortable, but the design was clean and functional. The windows around the terminal don’t have covers, which meant uncomfortable sunlight as the sun came up.

havana airport terminal 3 review
A hallway with souvenir shops as you walk towards the gates.
havana airport terminal 3 review
I found there was plenty of seating with 3 flights departing pretty close to each other.
havana airport terminal 3 review
The snack bar sits as an island in the middle of the large gate area.
havana airport terminal 3 review
It was quite beautiful as the sun came up. The seats are very hard and uncomfortable though.
havana airport terminal 3 review
As the sun came up, the amount of sunlight became quite uncomfortable.

Before long it was time to board my flight. Once again the process went quite smoothly. As I made my way on to the plane I noticed the red color scheme continued to the jetway. I wonder what the significance of red is. 😉

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I was pleasantly surprised with the overall modernity and comfort of Terminal 3 at Havana Jose Marti International Airport. Not only is the terminal very functional, but the experience of flying out was far from stressful. As for the red color scheme, well it sort of grew on me after awhile.

What do you think? Is this the reddest airport in the world?



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  1. as someone who grew up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain I know there is a certain attachment to the red. Still it surprises me to see this colour used in a utilitarian way as opposed to a background to propaganda slogans. It took me years to start looking at the red colour as just a colour nothing more.

    • I have generally been alright. There have been times when I have been lonely traveling by myself, but not to this level. With that said, travel is definitely more enjoyable as a whole when you have someone to share it with!

  2. Thanks for the post. This is the first post I’ve read about Cuba. I hear the beaches are beautiful. I hope to read more posts!

  3. Reminds me of a Staples store…. I have to spend $125 in rebates by tomorrow or they expire, so Staples is all I can think of. Can I buy a ticket to Cuba with my Staples coupons? NO! I don’t know what to buy!

  4. Interesting review. Thanks for the post. It does make me wonder if much of this was built for show while other public projects in Cuba suffered. At least they look ready for the influx of planes from the USA in the near future.


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