American Airlines proposed routes to Cuba
Cuban Cigars , ,

U.S. Airlines Eye Havana, More Cuban Cities

Twelve U.S. airlines have submitted bids to fly commercial flights directly from the U.S. to Cuba, and the first regularly scheduled daily trips in 50 years could begin this fall, according to multiple published reports.

Cuban cigar lovers could be boarding direct daily flights to Havana later this year from 15 cities in 10 states:

  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Boston, Mass.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Chicago, Ill.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • New York, N.Y.
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • West Palm Beach, Fla.

In February, the U.S. and Cuba agreed to allow 110 daily flights between the nations. Of them, 20 would go to Havana and 90 would be split among nine other international airports on the island. Other than return trips, no flights would originate in Cuba with a U.S. destination.

A travel writer for Forbes magazine says airlines in the United States have until March 21 to make their bids for regularly scheduled flight routes. The Department of Transportation (DOT) will decide how routes will be divided, with the final decision expected by early summer, though less competitive routes could be awarded sooner.

At this point, far more daily flights to Havana are being proposed than the agreement allows.

American Airlines has the biggest plans for flights to the Cuban capital, with bids for:

  • 10 daily roundtrip flights from Miami
  • 1 daily roundtrip flight from Charlotte
  • 1 daily roundtrip flight from Dallas/Fort Worth
  • 1 daily roundtrip flight from Los Angeles
  • 1 Saturday-only roundtrip flight from Chicago O’Hare
  • 1 Sunday-only roundtrip flight from Los Angeles.
American Airlines Cuba proposal

A page from its proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation illustrates American Airlines’ plans to fly to Cuba beginning this fall.

American Airlines and other commercial carriers already fly charter flights into Cuba.

According to USA Today and the U.S. government website, airlines bidding for regularly scheduled flights and the routes they are seeking are:

Alaska Airlines

To Havana:

  • Los Angeles: 2 daily roundtrip flights.

American Airlines

To Havana:

  • Miami: 10 daily roundtrip flights
  • Charlotte: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Los Angeles: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Chicago O’Hare: 1 Saturday-only roundtrip flight
  • Los Angeles: 1 Sunday-only roundtrip flight.

To other Cuban cities:

  • Miami-Santa Clara: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Miami-Holguin: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Miami-Varadero: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Miami-Camaguey: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Miami-Cienfuegos: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

Delta Air Lines

To Havana:

  • Atlanta: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • New York JFK: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Miami: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Orlando: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

Eastern Airlines

To Havana:

  • Miami: 1 daily round-trip flight.

To other Cuban cities:

  • Miami-Camaguey: 3 flights a week
  • Miami-Holguin: 3 flights a week.

Frontier Airlines

To Havana:

  • Miami: 3 daily roundtrip flights
  • Denver: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

To other Cuban cities:

  • Miami-Santiago: daily roundtrip flight
  • Miami-Camaguey: 4 roundtrips a week
  • Miami-Santa Clara: 3 roundtrips a week
  • Chicago O’Hare-Varadero: 1 Saturday-only roundtrip flight
  • Philadelphia-Varadero: Saturday-only roundtrip flight.

JetBlue

To Havana:

  • Fort Lauderdale: 4 daily roundtrip flights
  • Tampa: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Orlando: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • New York JFK: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Boston: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Newark: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

To other Cuban cities:

  • Fort Lauderdale-Camaguey: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Fort Lauderdale-Holguin: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Fort Lauderdale- Santa Clara: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

Silver Airways

To Havana:

  • West Palm Beach: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Fort Myers: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Fort Lauderdale: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Key West: 5 flights a week
  • Jacksonville: 2 flights a week.

To other Cuban cities:

  • Fort Lauderdale-Cayo Coco: 3 flights a week
  • Fort Lauderdale-Cienfuegos: 2 flights a week
  • Fort Lauderdale-Camaguey: 5 flights a week
  • Fort Lauderdale-Holguin: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Fort Lauderdale-Santiago: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Fort Lauderdale-Santa Clara: 1 daily roundtrip flight
  • Fort Lauderdale-Varadero: 4 flights a week
  • Fort Lauderdale-Manzanillio: 3 flights a week
  • Fort Lauderdale-Cayo Largo: 1 flight a week.

Southwest Airlines

To Havana:

  • Fort Lauderdale: 6 daily roundtrip flights
  • Tampa: 2 two daily roundtrip flights
  • Orlando: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

To other Cuban cities:

  • Fort Lauderdale-Varadero: 2 daily roundtrip flights
  • Fort Lauderdale-Santa Clara: 1 daily roundtrip flight.

Spirit Airlines

To Havana:

  • Fort Lauderdale: 2 daily roundtrip flights.

United Airlines

To Havana:

  • Newark: 1 daily roundtrip flight (2 on Saturdays)
  • Chicago O’Hare: 1 Saturday-only roundtrip flight
  • Houston Bush Intercontinental: 1 Saturday-only roundtrip flight
  • Washington Dulles: 1 Saturday-only roundtrip flight.

JetBlue says in its application that flights could begin September 8 “or within 100 days of receipt of all necessary approvals.”

In addition, MN Airlinesaka Sun Country Airlines, is seeking two fights a week from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Havana with a stop in Fort Myers. It would also provide seasonal service from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Varadero and to Santa Clara, and weekend non-stop service from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Havana.

And Dynamic Airlines is requesting permission to offer three flights a week from New York JFK to Havana, and four flights a week each from Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles to Havana.

Map of Cuba

The U.S. and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations last year.

Cigar lovers are interested in the easier access to Cuban cigars allowed by loosened travel and trade restrictions. Under current rules, American can travel to Cuba under certain circumstances and bring up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars home for personal use.

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