Yes, You Can Now Fly to Cuba

First direct trips begin

jose Jose Marti airport cuba key west flight

A plane waits at Jose Marti Airport in Havana.     Photo: CalFlier/Flickr

The first commercial passenger flight between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba in 50 years took off and landed safely Monday, reuniting two islands separated by just 90 miles of water. President Barack Obama approved the route back in October of 2011, but charter operators have only now been able to navigate through the miles of red tape.

U.S. Custom and Border Protection gave the green light Monday morning, and the flight took off from Key West 90 minutes later at 10 a.m., carrying just nine passengers. The visitors are traveling to Cuba on cultural exchange licenses, reinstituted in 2011, which allow Americans to travel to Cuba for educational activities.

Unfortunately, regular service to Cuba will still be far from frequent, as Key West International Airport is only approved to process 10 passengers and crew to and from Cuba at a time. "This is just a test run," said airport director Peter Horton. "Whether this is going to come and be a regular service I don't believe has been determined yet."

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