HAVANA TIMES — Cuban Customs authorities denied having set down luggage restrictions for passengers traveling from the United States to the island and said that the customs fee regulations remain the same.
“As in other countries, Cuban Customs does not establish a maximum number of luggage pieces that a passenger may dispatch. That is determined by the policies applied by airline or charter companies,” a communiqué issued on Monday stated.
The clarification is made in response to reports by Miami media, claiming that a two-piece restriction is being applied to passengers who travel from the United States on charter flights. The reasons behind this misunderstanding, however, are to be found in the chaos that ensued at the Havana International Airport when passengers were unable to claim their luggage over the past two weeks.
Confusion and Chaos
The confusion arose when dozens of passengers were forced to return to Miami without their luggage, dispatched in Miami. Images of travelers protesting before Havana airport authorities were broadly divulged by social networks and news programs in South Florida.
The problem stemmed from the fact charter companies had to dispatch the luggage in flights other than those of their owners, owing to excess luggage.
On February 19, charter companies received an email from Cuban authorities saying the airport in Havana was saturated and would not be receiving any more unaccompanied luggage.
The regulation came into effect on February 20. A communiqué with this warning was posted at the counters where passengers check in for Cuba flights.
Cuban Customs, however, published a communiqué insisting that the charter flights are responsible for the incident and that the restriction is not applied by Cuba.
Due to the excess luggage on Cuba flights, companies tend to dispatch pieces on different flights. Cuba demands that luggage be accompanied by the owner and has also launched a campaign against the carrying of luggage for third parties, seeing these as a source of possible legal violations, including the introduction of drugs into the country.
The charter flight incident emerges at a time when US airline companies are seeking authorization to offer direct flights to Cuba as of this coming fall, as per the agreement signed between Washington and Havana this month.
Below is the communique issued by Cuban Customs:
CLARIFICATION FROM CUBAN CUSTOMS
In light of comments and news published by different US media, we wish to point out the following:
As in other countries, Cuban Customs does not establish a maximum number of luggage pieces that a passenger may dispatch. That is determined by the policies applied by airline or charter companies.
As per international air safety regulations, passengers may not travel with suitcases and other materials that do not belong to them as accompanying luggage, as this poses a risk to air safety and causes disorder, making it difficult to offer optimal services to passengers arriving at the air terminal. Airline and charter companies, as well as civil aviation authorities, must ensure compliance with these regulations.
The international procedure followed for luggage that cannot be accompanied by a passenger in a given flight is to dispatch such luggage as “unaccompanied luggage” and to receive it at the terminals designed for such purposes.
With respect to custom fees, Cuban Customs maintains the regulations currently in effect. Should you have any doubts in this connection, these regulations can be consulted at www.aduana.co.cu and our official Facebook page of (www.facebook.com//Aduana-de-Cuba-178414819009271/), or the printed brochure, which can also be downloaded from this site.