In yet another step closer to legal travel to Cuba, the US is allowing US based airlines to place bids on service to nearly 10 different location on the island. The island is the largest in the Caribbean and about 900 miles long. The law still reads that you must fall into one of 12 categories of ” purposeful travel “. Can a Marriott hotel be far behind? Maybe see it now as it will surely lose some of his character in years to come but good news to Cubans who have suffered long enough. See more details below.
U.S. and Cuba Sign Deal on Commercial Flights
Written by Katherine LaGrave February 16, 2016
For the first time in more than 50 years, travelers will be able to fly to and from Cuba without circumventing rules or hopping on a chartered flight.
Update 2/16: The U.S. and Cuba signed a deal Tuesday to restore air travel between the two nations for the first time in five decades. “Today is a historic day in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx after he and Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez signed the deal at Havana’s Hotel Nacional. “It represents a critically important milestone in the U.S. effort to engage with Cuba.”
After the signing, the U.S. Department of Transportation opened bidding to American air carriers, who have until March 2 to submit applications to operate the flights. The deal allows up to 110 daily roundtrip flights to 10 destinations in Cuba—approximately 20 of them to the capital Havana, with the rest to Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba. To brace for the influx of flights, Cuban authorities have ordered renovations to double the capacity of Havana’s Jose Marti airport, which will see the initial commercial flights.
Looking to get to Cuba? American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United Airlines have all expressed an interest in flying regular routes to Cuba, and routes will be determined in a few months. Currently, all flights between the two countries are chartered.
December 2015: Prepare to see more people hustling toward Havana: After finalizing an agreement on Wednesday evening, the U.S. and Cuba have decided to resurrect commercial air travel between the two nations.
In an announcement on Thursday, which marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s decision to ease travel restrictions on Cuba, the State Department said that “this arrangement will continue to allow charter operations and establish scheduled air service, which will facilitate an increase in authorized travel, enhance traveler choices, and promote people-to-people links between the two countries.”
Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Cuba
But in layman’s terms, what does this actually mean? Basically that U.S. airlines will now be able to directly sell tickets for flights to Cuba; previously, all Cuba-bound flights originating in the U.S. had been charter flight operations, with seats booked through tour companies. Despite the good news, the move does not lift the U.S. ban on general tourism to the Caribbean island. Travelers must still fall under the umbrella of “Purposeful Travel” and meet at least one of 12 criteria to visit. It doesn’t seem a huge deterrent: In the first 11 months of 2015, 138,120 U.S. citizens visited Cuba—a 71 percent increase over 2014.
Airlines have met the news with excitement, and American, JetBlue, and United have all released statements expressing their interest in new routes. It is unclear when flights will actually resume, however, as the Federal Aviation Administration first needs to ensure certain safety regulations are in place. So while you wait for that day, explore the island from the comforts of your couch, checking out anything from vintage photos of the island to Airbnb apartments you can rent while you’re there.