US Airlines Can Now Operate Flights from the US to Cuba
For more than a year, the US and Cuban Governments have slowly been working to normalize relations between the two countries. After an easing of travel restrictions, and an update in late December, both countries are taking one more step to facilitate transport by permitting airlines to now operate nonstop scheduled flights between the US and Cuba. Prior to this announcement, US-based travelers were forced to either travel on charter flights (which can be quite costly), or enter through a third country, such as Canada or Mexico, so this is huge news for Americans looking for an easy way to reach Havana and beyond.
Barring any more changes to the embargo, it's still illegal to travel to Cuba for general tourism — there are 12 categories for approved travel, however, including family visitation, journalistic or artistic activities and more. And as relations continue to improve, it's likely that the restriction on tourism could be entirely lifted soon.
The deal means that airlines can now operate up to 110 daily flights between the countries, including 20 daily flights to Havana — charter flights are still allowed to continue operating (and won't count against the 110-flight limit), but regular daily flights should begin soon. Also notable with this announcement is the ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points for travel — something not previously available with charter flights.