JetBlue Flight 387 might just be a quick trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Santa Clara, Cuba, but that flight is more significant than it looks. It signals the thawing relations between two Cold War nemeses, per CNN, as the U.S. has restarted commercial flights to the island nation for the first time since 1961!
This flight is just the beginning. A maximum of 110 daily flights, operated by such airlines like Delta, Frontier, Southwest, JetBlue, and (of course!) American Airlines will begin flying to the communist country, according to the US Department of Transportation. This is a huge deal! Fidel Castro’s 1959 communist revolution led to diplomatic ties between Cuba and America being severed completely and thus, direct commercial flight services were ended.
That was the status quo up until around 2001, when a change in America’s regulations allowed Cuban-Americans to visit family members on the island. They could even charter a flight down. Today’s change is a bigger step in foreign relations, as commercial airlines are now allowed to zip down to Cuba.
8/31/2016:The 1st US commercial flight to #Cuba since 1961, just over a year after raising the flag at US Embassy Havana. Another step fwd.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 31, 2016
— Chabeli Carrazana (@ChabeliH) August 31, 2016
Though, Americans looking to book a Cuban vacation better hold off. President Barack Obama‘s, 55, administration has eased travel restrictions, but there is sill an overall travel ban for Americans. Tourism to Cuba is still technically illegal, but now there are 12 categories of “authorized travel.”
These include such reasons as “family visits,” “journalistic activity,” “professional research,” “public performances,” and “religious activities.” Wonder what reasons the Kardashians picked when they spent a holiday on the island?
Not everyone is celebrating this momentous occasion. “I think it’s dangerous,” Rep. John Katko, 53, told CNN. The New York Republican, along with some colleagues, tried to block the commercial flights until they felt that Cuban airports were secure and safe. “I’m not saying anything bad is going to happen, but we just got to do our due diligence and we are just not doing it.”
To calm any fears, TSA told CNN that they inspected the Cuban airports and found out that they comply with international standards. So, it’s time to fly the friendly – and Cuban – skies!
What do you think about the U.S. resuming commercial flights down to Cuba, HollywoodLifers? Did you think you’d ever see the day?