Airport Security in Cuba: All Your Umbrellas Are Belong to Us!

Reader Harry H. relays this adventure in Cuban airport security.

On September 29, 2016, I departed Holguín, Cuba, HOG, on AA 1208 to Miami. After clearing Cuban Immigration, carry-on bags were checked by airport security staff. My umbrella and those of other passengers were confiscated by airport security. I, other passengers and the tour director complained to the staff stating it was arbitrary; however, without any effect. The reply was “It is an international regulation” which is false, and “It is a Cuban regulation.”

The U.S. and Cuba it seems aren’t so different after all.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. One might suggest this was a method of ensuring there were enough umbrellas available to airport staff for the pending arrival of Matthew! When going through security at PVG last month I was asked to remove my collapsable umbrella from my carryon so it could be checked. Seems some parts of the world are still suspicious of this lethal weapon.

  2. I had my umbrella confiscated from my carry-on bag in the Philippines at the Clark airport (CRK) a few years ago. I found it very annoying, but there were plenty of signs around asking passengers to put umbrellas in their checked bags (I only had a carry-on).

  3. Very understandable, as Cuba does not have an umbrella industry. The only umbrellas normally available for Cuban citizens are pre-revolutionary imports, meaning they are at least 57 years old. The airport security staff can make several times their monthly salary selling these confiscated umbrellas on the black market.

    One of the top reasons US citizens have to visit Cuba is to see all those ‘nostalgic’ umbrellas. 😉

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