From this fall, you can fly US –> Cuba without a charter flight!

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When I took a group trip to Cuba earlier this year (and wrote this article about what you need to know if you want to travel to Cuba now) the only option was a charter flight.  Charter flights to Cuba are routinely terrible. Total chaos at check-in, charter companies that don’t answer the phone, and worst of all for us Miles people, no earned miles, no award flights, and not even the ability to use fast track security lines because, even if you are on an AA flight, it’s not “really” an AA flight.

(As an aside, on my trip there, check in was so slow and I was so delayed, I asked and got AA to print me a boarding pass form their computer so I could get Priority AAccess at Miami airport. It *did* get me Priority AAccess through security but when i got to the gate my ticket was all but void. It took a while for a gate agent to fix it).

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So it’s been announced today

The United States approved scheduled flights to Cuban cities other than Havana from five U.S. cities, with service starting as soon as this fall

From Huffington Post:

“American Airlines Group Inc, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways Corp, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines Co and Sun Country Airlines will be allowed up to 10 daily round-trip flights, the department said. The flights will be allowed from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis/St. Paul, it added.

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement this year restoring commercial air service between the former Cold War foes for the first time in decades. Under the agreement, 20 daily round-trip flights will be allowed to Havana but U.S. carriers have requested nearly 60 flights per day, far exceeding the limit.”

This is great news because once these carriers start flying these routes, you won’t need to fly charter (or via a third country) to get to Cuba and you should also be entitled to all frequent flyer benefits (upgrades, earning miles, and award flights).

Now go see Cuba while you can!