Non-stop flights between Fort Lauderdale and Santa Clara, Cuba, began this week.

We’ve written before about how Cuba is gradually opening up to Americans, and this week saw probably the most significant development since diplomatic ties were first reestablished: the resumption of commercial flights.

As of Wednesday, JetBlue is flying from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara three times a week. In October flights will become daily, and in November JetBlue will begin flying to Camagüey and Holguín. For more information, visit JetBlue’s announcement and booking page here.

In the near future, eight other airlines are scheduled to begin service to Cuba, including American, Alaska, Southwest, and Delta. Direct flights are also planned from Los Angeles, New York, and a handful of other cities.

Technically, Americans are still banned from visiting Cuba for tourism. However, anyone who can justify their trip as falling into one of 12 categories of authorized travel — things like “journalistic activities,” “support for the Cuban people,” and “workshops” — can go. From everything I’ve read, pretty much anyone can figure out a way to include their trip in one of those categories (and it seems there is essentially no one checking anyway.)

This is all exciting news. As the New York Times noted this week, the last time commercial flights flew between the US and Cuba, passengers flew on a propeller plane.

Related reading:

I interviewed Rick Steves about going to Cuba. This is what he said.

Five things we absolutely love about Miami

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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