Tuesday morning, the United States and Cuba signed a historic agreement that will allow the resumption of commercial flights from the U.S. to the island nation. As part of the deal, American carriers will now be able to fly to nine Cuban airports, with up to 20 regular daily flights to Havana and another 90 daily flights to be divided between the island’s nine remaining hubs, like Cienfuegos, Camaguey, and Santa Clara. Details beyond that are still murky—if only because there’s a long process ahead for solidifying them. During the next two weeks, airlines will get to put in their route requests. Then it will take months—at least until summer, but possibly until fall—for Cuban authorities to decide who gets to fly where.
Of all the questions that this agreement raises, Google has pinpointed the five most commonly asked. Here are the answers to your burning questions about flying to Cuba.
What airlines fly to Cuba?
Currently, no major American carriers offer commercial flights to Cuba. However, since last July, JetBlue has been offering weekly charter flights to Havana and Santa Clara, Cuba from New York City, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Since December, American Airlines has also been operating charter flights from Los Angeles. Aside from those two major carriers, most charter flights can be booked via Cuba Travel Services, HavanaAir, or directly with the online travel agency, Cheapair.com.
How do you travel to Cuba?
Aside from flying in, there are several new ways to get to Cuba. We outlined nine great options right here, including cruises, ferries, sailboats, and more.
How do you fly to Cuba?
Just like anywhere else, you can book your own ticket and hop on a plane to Cuba. The only difference is that you’ll have to go through one extra step before hitting the checkout button. Travelers to Cuba must vouch that their trip applies to one of 12 approved categories of travel currently authorized by the U.S. government (think humanitarian aid, journalistic trips, or the most common, people-to-people trips, which are broadly meant to show support for Cubans). Check one of these boxes when you’re prompted, and you’ll be on your merry way.
What can you do in Cuba?
Check out this video highlighting the five can’t-miss things to do in Cuba (spoiler: art and booze are involved), then read this feature by humor novelist Gary Shteyngart about what it’s like to be a traveler on the ground in the world’s hottest new destination. The inspiration is practically endless.
Will Southwest Airlines fly to Cuba?
So far, American Airlines has been the most transparent about its intentions to compete for U.S. to Cuba flight routes—it has expressed interest in several routes departing from Miami, specifically. Few other carriers have made such explicit comments with regards to today’s deal, but Southwest’s CEO has previously indicated interest in the destination, having put it on its road map for expansion over a year ago. That said, Southwest has a long road map for expansion, with hot destinations like Hawaii and Alaska still unrepresented on its route maps.
Copyright 2016 South Florida Reporter