This week brings two big announcement for American travelers hoping to visit Cuba. First, the U.S. has approved ferry service to Cuba.
Multiple companies have been approved to ferry passengers, though it sounds like actual service is a little ways off; Cuba still has to approve the companies, and the U.S. needs to remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Still, U.S. approval for the service is a big step. And given that ferry travel means avoiding cramped airplane seats, TSA, and the entire airport experience generally, this could be a promising option.
The second big piece of Cuba news is that JetBlue has announced a new flight between JFK in New York and Havana in Cuba. There are a lot of caveats with this flight and how significant it is. Most significantly, it’s actually a charter flight offered by Cuba Charter Services (CCS).
To book the flight, you have to communicate directly with CCS; when I tried to book a flight from JFK to Havana on JetBlue’s website Wednesday night I didn’t get any results:
CCS also has already been offering a fairly extensive Cuba service from Miami and Tampa via partnerships with American Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. This is the May flight schedule, and this is the June-through-October schedule.
Another thing to keep in mind is that JetBlue itself was already offering charter flights to Cuba. So all things considered, this single new flight is not game changing.
Still, more flights to Cuba means the country is gradually opening up to Americans. And both of these announcements coming the same week seems like a sure bellwether of things to come. So for U.S. travelers looking to visit Cuba, this is all good news.
*Cover photo via Anton Novoselov.
— Jim Dalrymple II