55 years on from the years that the US officially severed ties with Cuba, the lines of communication and travel options have opened even wider. This comes with the news that several major US airlines will now fly to the island.
International relations between Cuba and the United States are at an all-time high and these proposals reflect that
Cuba was once cut of from the US, for both travelers and ex-pats, but the Obama administration has worked hard to undo all of that and improve access. Efforts have increased to take away some of the stigma surrounding the island nation, improve relations and open up tourism. The next step is regular non-stop flights into Havana.
There is no doubt that there has been a strong call for these routes to be established. In fact, the delay in approving these Havana routes is due to the sheer volume of applications from major US airlines. Flights to other cities were already approved, but Havana is the top destination. There are now eight US airlines that have been awarded routes by the US Department of Transportation. Most of these will originate in Florida or other Eastern states. There is also a pretty even split between major names and low-cost carriers. They are as follows:
1 Alaska Airlines will offer 1 daily round-trip flight from Los Angeles. This is the only destination on the west side of the states
2 American Airlines will offer 4 daily round-trip flights from Miami and 1 daily round-trip flight from Charlotte. This frequency from Miami is important, as there is a large Cuban population here.
3 Delta Air Lines will offer 1 daily round-trip flight from Atlanta, 1 daily round-trip flight from New York JFK and 1 daily round-trip flight from Miami. New York is the only northern airport with a regular service.
4 Frontier Airlines will also offer 1 daily round-trip flight from Miami
5 JetBlue are also spreading out across the East coast with 2 daily round-trip flights from Fort Lauderdale (just one on Saturdays), 1 daily round-trip flight from New York JFK and 1 daily round-trip flight from Orlando.
6 Southwest Airlines will also offer 2 daily round-trip flights from Fort Lauderdale and 1 daily round-trip flight from Tampa.
7 Spirit Airlines continues the trend with 2 daily round-trip flights from Fort Lauderdale.
8 United Airlines heads over to Houston Bush Intercontinental, with just the one 1 weekly round-trip flight on a Saturday, and Newark Liberty, with 1 daily round-trip flight. This is perhaps the most interesting as they are alternative routes to the typical airports.
Is this the start of a great new tourism relationship between the two nations? Consider also the options from Aerobell Airlines.
At this point it is important to note the vocabulary of these reports, and the use of the word tentative. At the moment, there is still some uncertainty about the routes and start dates. There is also the fact that the updated flight restrictions between the US and Cuba still only allow for 20 flights a day. That is not a lot to go around all the applicants. Essentially, the DOT is being cautious in region that has already seen to much tension over international borders.
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