Jump to content

WestJetters going to CUBA ?

Kip Powick

Recommended Posts

I know WJA crews are already going to Cuba, (Charters) so for those of you that have not gone but may be going in the near future...

I’m not about to tell anyone how to suck eggs and perhaps some of the WJetters already know this but in case you don’t……… Your flights to Cuba……..

The Flight and cabin crew might consider taking some “stuff” down to Cuba and giving it to the cleaners. When I was doing trips to Cuba I made a point of contacting the rest of the crew and requesting they bring what they could to pass on to the cleaning crew, as well as the guard who normally stands near the door to ensure the number of cleaners that get ON is the same number that come OFF.

What to take ??? I found that many of the crew members made up a small, chocolate sized box, of pencils, pens, erasers, aspirins Advil, toiletries one gets in North American hotel rooms, and in addition a bag of old clean clothes, such as jeans, T-shirts etc. Size of the articles does not matter, as the recipient will pass them on to those that are less fortunate. I used to hound our family doctor and get many “free” non narcotic “sample packs” for the staff and the recipients were very appreciative.

As Christmas is coming, coloring books, crayons, hair barrettes, small toys etc. would be nice.

Most of this stuff can be acquired at a Dollar store and your total won’t amount to much.. I would refrain from passing on “too much” to the agents as they do make wages, albeit poor, but the cleaners get very little. If one is doing “repeat” trips to Cuba one can also ask the agent/cleaners what they would like. None of them have ever asked for the moon and are a bit hesitant about “asking” for anything, but if you can see your way clear…make someone’s life a little brighter in Cuba.

Just a thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny you should ask as I was just looking at the same stuff on the Canada Customs website.....which has no info.

I have taken a lot of that stuff down and have never had any hassles. I think you are allowed to import $50.00 worth of medical stuff duty free. I have a Cuban website here somewhere that gives all the rules. Let me see if I can find it, and when I do I'll add to this thread.

More specifically, I have taken many "small" vitamin bottles down and never been challenged....but...I did stuff it in with my scuba gear and that has never been checked. wink.gif

As "crew" I have never even been searched at the aircraft, we just handed the stuff to the cleaners and guards...on vacation the most I have had to explain was a hardshell underwater video camera case with all the camera gear and underwater lights inside and I think the Customs guy was just really curious.

The big deal now is the changing of CDN money to Cuban Convertible Pesos. I hear some folks are really getting ripped off, getting about 0.6 to the dollar and should be getting close to 0.8 to the dollar.....and some people are trying to "tip" with "Loonies and Toonies" which the Cunbans do not want.

OK...here it is.....



All passengers may import the following products free of duties and taxes.

. Personal effects such as clothing, shoes, toiletries and other articles of personal hygiene, in quantities reasonable for the length of stay in Cuba.

. Articles and equipment relative to their occupation or purpose of visit.

Rooms Reservation

In addition to the articles described above, goods not exceeding US $50.00 in value.

. Medicines up to a maximum weight of ten (10) kgs.

. A maximum of 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of loose tobacco, and three (3) liters wine or other alcoholic beverages, provided that the passenger is over the age of 18.


Passengers have the right to import articles up to a value of US $250.00. This import will be made only once in a year and provide that these are not commercial exchange. Duties and taxes will be levied at the rate of 100% of the declared value.



. Drugs, and narcotic substances, unless for personal use certified with a relevant medical prescription.

. Blood or blood products.

. Pornographic and obscene books, magazines, pictures and articles.

. Explosives.

. Light motor vehicles and major parts, moto-bicycles and motors for bicycles.

. Freezers, air conditioners, VCR (of any kind, including those that are part of other equipments), wireless phones, any type or model of electric stoves and hot-plates, electric and microwave ovens, any type or size of electric frying pans, electric water heaters, and showers, electric irons and toasters. Computers except the authorized by the State Administration.

. Electric resistance, rice cookers, electric rings and electric water can irons that surpass 703 wt., non water can iron surpass 250 wt.

According to the Resolution No. 322 from the Ministry of Finance and Prices dated July 11th, 2002, from August 11, 2002, travelers are not allowed to import VCR of any kind, commercial brand, or model, including those that are manufactured and sold as part of other devices.

More info at...

Cuba Customs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kip, will do some more digging.

Pornographic and obscene books, magazines, pictures and articles.

Did have one young guy linger over a new, unread Road & Track like it was a Penthouse 'best of' issue. "You have it, I'm finished." made very short work of the remaining inspection procedure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wife and I went to Cuba in 2001; she packed a suit case full of stuff for the hotel staff and mostly for the cleaning ladies. School supplies and that sort of thing for the kids, but what had to be the biggest hit was makeup. That is a very personal thing the ladies in this part of the world never, if ever, get a chance to treat themselves to. These people don't have much and they sure appreciate what ever you give them.

Several years ago I was working in Angola flying a Herc (L382G) for the ICRC hauling famine relief. Usually we would be gone for a month at a time, so I would have with me several pairs of footwear, flying boots, sandals, running shoes and a pair of Dockers. The locals were lucky if they had one pair of shoes let alone four pairs and I thought I was packing light. Well I always tried to make it a habit to leave what I could behind in cloths and footwear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just my 2 cents worth...

Mrs buzz and I have gone to Cuba 4 times now, and the last 3 trips we've taken children's toys (since our kids seem to lose interest in the stuff) - plus, when you tell them what you're doing with it, they get into the idea - great for all.

Also, the women down there love to dress up (and a well dressed latino female is a sight to behold - apologies to Mrs buzz) so the better half takes down cocktail dresses and the like picked up at Winners for cheep, with the tags still on. Huge, huge appreciation.

Since I'm a guy, jeans in good repair that too many trips to the buffet have rendered shrunk..ya, that's it..ball caps, or spare tools keeping in mind Kip's baggage limits. I have a zillion spare sockets, screwdrivers, etc, etc that I'd chuck, but they use gladly.

We love Cuba. If anyone has a link to Rick Mercer's 22 Minutes rant on the merging of Canada and Cuba into "Canuba", I'd download it inna heartbeat.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Start looking for lots of Cubans at the different airports with WS lanyards, ball caps, visors, pins, etc.

Also a big thanks to the crew on the 1st WS flight into CYO - if you happen to be on here. You guys really showed what the WS culture is all about.

The people at the airport could not stop talking about how great you guys were.

Muchos Gracias

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Stargazer

Thanks Kip for starting this thread; my husband has done a few trips there and we never realized that you could pass on stuff to the workers that clean the aircraft!

And Buzz:

My heart goes out to those women sooo...

Next trip my husband gets, he's going to be endowed with women's clothing and makeup.....great sale on right now at a store near me. The only hurdle; getting him to carry it on the flightdeck. tongue.gif "

I'm sure I can convince him, but he may make me pack it in a garbage bag with "donation" written all over it. rolleyes.gif

I'm in the process of cleaning out our basement and am dismayed to see that VCR's and the tapes are prohibited in Cuba. My daughter grew up on Cinderella and those mice. I can still hear it 20 years later. Cinderelly, Cinderelly night and day it's Cinderelly, Wash the dishes, clean the......

Funny thing, she watched that movie over and over, the cat in Cinderella was bad, my daughter loves cats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...