US-CUBA Scheduled Flights - The Reality
For weeks now, the media has been full of reports of the approvals of U.S. airlines to operate scheduled flights to Cuba. These U.S. Department of Transportation approvals are only part of the story. Missing from many reports is the fact that NO scheduled flights from the U.S. have been approved by the Cuban government to land there. Nevertheless, some U.S. carriers are selling flights to Cuba, with no schedule and no price, pending approval by Cuba, which may not happen for months, perhaps years.
WHEN these scheduled flights are approved by Cuba, prices will likely be lower than what we're currently paying for charter flights, and through service will make trips easier. WHEN scheduled flights are approved by Cuba, travel agents (and travelers) may be tempted to book Cuba directly, rather than through a tour operator. However, despite the simplified booking and logistics that scheduled flights may offer, the complication of legal compliance will remain. Part of our service as a tour operator to Cuba is to secure Cuban entry visas and ensure that all of our travelers are in compliance with U.S. law. From what we have seen to date, those U.S. airlines selling scheduled flights to Cuba do not provide visas or adequately explain categories under which Americans may travel legally to Cuba.