Last updated: 03:44 PM ET, Mon November 14 2016

Southwest Airlines Begins Service to Cuba

Airlines & Airports Donald Wood November 14, 2016

Southwest Airlines Begins Service to Cuba

Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

On Monday, Southwest Airlines began service between South Florida and Cuba with the departure of Flight 3914 from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport in Varadero.

Southwest Airlines Flight 3914 departed Florida at 11 a.m. ET with 143 passengers and five crew members onboard. Employees wore Cuban-style hats as the aircraft departed to an orchestra playing Caribbean music and a drum roll by bandleader Tito Puente, Jr.

In October, Southwest announced its flight schedule for nonstop service between Florida and both Varadero and Havana in Cuba. Overall, Southwest now serves 100 destinations in nine countries.

“Our Employees have worked hard to open this route and a new chapter for people who want to connect with Cuba in ways that matter most to them,” Southwest Airlines vice president Steve Goldberg said in a statement. “By the end of this year, we'll offer six daily roundtrips between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities as the work continues to open a new, five-gate international concourse here in Fort Lauderdale next summer."

On Dec. 12, service between Havana and both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport begins, pending approval. In addition, Goldberg announced Southwest intends to begin daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba, on Dec. 15.

To celebrate the service between Santa Clara and Fort Lauderdale, Southwest is offering a special fare of $59 one-way on nonstop flights through Nov. 20 for service between Dec. 15 and April 24, 2017.