U.S. to ban all routes to Cuba except Havana, reports say

Oct 25, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The United States is banning commercial flights to all cities in Cuba except Havana.

The move, announced by the Trump administration on Friday, rolls back an easing of Cuba-U.S. flight restrictions that began under Trump’s predecessor Obama.

The change in policy comes from unnamed government sources who spoke to media outlets, including The Miami Herald and The Associated Press.

The AP cited “two people briefed on the matter” in reporting that the Trump administration is making the move to help prevent tourism dollars from going to Cuba, whose government has been increasingly at odds with the U.S. in recent months.

An unnamed official gave a similar reason to the Herald, which writes the official cited a desire by the administration to “punish (the Cuban government) for its support of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.”

“We have seen how the Cuban government has benefited from American travelers. We will not allow these funds to be siphoned to the government coffers,” the unnamed official said to the Herald.

Airlines will have 45 days to end their operations to Cuban cities beyond Havana, the official added to the Herald.

Charter flights have long operated between the U.S. and Cuba, and they’ll not be affected by the latest change. However, regular commercial airline flights had been off limits until they were cleared to begin operating in 2016 for the first time in nearly five decades.

Even then, however, flights were restricted only to Havana and nine other cities. U.S. carriers rushed in to win rights from regulators to serve the routes. Nearly all sought the rights for Havana flights, though there was less demand for smaller cities.

While the new restrictions announced Friday will shut off options for the nine other cities, the impact on U.S. airlines will be limited.

Only two – American and JetBlue – currently offer regularly scheduled service to Cuban cities beyond Havana. Several other airlines – including Southwest – had flown to some of the other Cuban cities, but eventually axed those routes as demand didn’t live up to expectations.

Both American and JetBlue pledged to abide by the changes.

“We are reviewing today’s announcement regarding service to non-Havana airports in Cuba,” American said in a statement to TPG. “We will continue to comply with federal law, work with the administration, and update our policies and procedures regarding travel to Cuba as necessary.”

American currently flies to Havana and five other Cuban cities (Camagüey, Holguin, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero).

JetBlue flies to three other Cuban cities in addition to Havana. They are Camagüey, Holguin and Santa Clara.

“We plan to operate in full compliance with the new policy concerning scheduled air service between the U.S. and Cuba,” JetBule said in a statement to TPG. “We are beginning to work with our various government and commercial partners to understand the full impact of this change on our customers and operations in Camagüey, Holguín and Santa Clara.”

Featured photo by VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.