American carriers flying to Cuba

31 Aug 2016 by Evan Rogers
JetBlue lands in Cuba

Today JetBlue became the first US airline to make a commercial flight to Cuba in 55 years.

JetBlue Flight 387 took off from Fort Lauderdale this morning and landed in Abel Santamaría Airport in Santa Clara, Cuba just after 1100 local time.

The airline will continue to offer daily Fort Lauderdale-Santa Clara flights, with flights to Camagüey and Holguín to come this fall.

Though JetBlue is the first airline to schedule commercial Cuban flights, its competitors are not far behind; American is set to begin flights between Miami and four Cuban airports in early September, and five major US airlines are scheduled to begin service to Havana by the end of 2016.

Most airlines submitted applications to fly commercial to Cuba to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) this spring, and news of DOT approval has been trickling in throughout the summer.

Below are all scheduled commercial services to Cuba currently available for booking:

US flights to Cuba Sept 2016

Not yet available to book, but also in the works:

  • JetBlue services between Havana and New York JFK, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando,
  • Southwest flights from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, Varadero and Santa Clara and from Tampa to Havana and,
  • Frontier services from both Denver and Las Vegas to Havana, as well as weekly flights from Miami to at least two other Cuban cities.

Travel between the US and Cuba is still restricted, and requires a Visa.

According to the US Embassy in Havana:

“The twelve categories of authorised travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organisations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorised export transactions.”

Despite these restrictions, the newly available flights are an important improvement for business and personal travellers alike.

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