JetBlue became the first major U.S. carrier on Friday to launch direct flights between New York City and Havana, Cuba, since the White House eased travel restrictions earlier this year.
The weekly charter flights operate between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Havana’s José Martí International Airport, the carrier said in a statement. The new route, which was announced in May, joins four other JetBlue flights that provide round trips between the U.S. and Cuba, giving the airline an even stronger presence in the Caribbean.
Ground staff celebrated the inaugural trip by flying a massive Cuban flag at JetBlue’s terminal Gate No. 21. They waved and cheered as passengers — including Cubans who hadn’t been back in over a decade — boarded the plane.
The weekly charter flights will leave JFK at noon each Friday, with a scheduled landing time in Havana at 3:30 p.m. Return flights leave Cuba at 4:30 p.m. and land in New York around 8 p.m.
While operated by JetBlue, the flight is being offered by Cuba Travel Services, and travelers should make arrangements directly with the carrier service provider at cubatravelservices.com.
A smaller airline, Sun Country, has been offering direct flights between JFK and Havana for several months. JetBlue is the first major carrier to do so.
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