JetBlue’s announcement this week that it will start flying from New York JFK to Havana once a week starting July 3 is just one of many flight options that are opening up to Americans now that the Obama Administration has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba.
Like the other services, JetBlue’s JFK flight will technically be a public charter flight, operated by Cuba Travel Services Inc.
JetBlue has also signed up to fly a weekly charter flight from Tampa to Havana beginning June 5, with ABC Charters as the operator. Baltimore/Washington International just announced twice-weekly flights to Havana starting in September, operated by Island Travel & Tours, a company that already offers Miami-Havana flights six times a week and will start twice-weekly Orlando-Havana flights July 6.
And there are lots more. Cuba Trips has put together a comprehensive chart of most of the charter services available, not only to Havana but other Cuban destinations as well.
But before you pack your bags, be aware that technically, the new U.S. rules still do not permit travel to Cuba for tourism or for seeking out business deals. The rules define 12 categories of travel that it allows, and the traveler will have to check a box on a mandatory form in order to book a trip.
Still, a couple of the categories are very loosely defined. The New York Times offers some suggestions for ways that business travelers can legitimately make the trip to Cuba.
A less expensive option for getting to Cuba is on the horizon as well. The government last week gave approval to several ferry companies to begin service from the U.S. to Cuba. Their plans include departures from Key West, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and other Florida ports.
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