Alaska Cuts Cuba Flights Due to New Travel Restrictions

If Cuba is on your to-visit list, you may have to defer your trip.

The Trump administration’s newly imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba were expected to have a chilling effect on U.S. tourism to the island nation, but maybe not so quickly.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury last week announced a handful of restrictions and sanctions that prohibit Cuba visits that were previously allowed under the “people-to-people” provision, and make many hotels and other establishments off limits to U.S. visitors.

As a direct result, Alaska Airlines this week announced it will terminate its daily flights between Los Angeles and Havana, effective January 22, 2018.

In its news release, Alaska noted that 80 percent of its Cuba-bound flyers traveled under the people-to-people tourism, which is no longer allowed under the new federal travel guidelines. The airline will redeploy its aircraft on routes where demand remains strong.

Alaska isn’t alone in changing its Cuba flight plans. Minneapolis-based Sun Country has relinquished its rights to fly to Santa Clara and Matanzas, and American will discontinue its Miami-Cienfuegos flights in January.

When the dust settles, Americans interested in visiting Cuba will have far fewer options, as more and more U.S. carriers scale back or eliminate entirely their Cuba services.

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.

Comments

  1. Joe says

    Due to Trump? Dude, the load factor has been in the toilet for a while. I know, you hate Trump….yada yada yada

  2. Tim Winship says

    True, load factors have been off. But Alaska made it quite clear that its flight cancellation is due directly to the latest federal sanctions and restrictions. My politics don’t factor into the story.

    • Joe says

      That’s on Alaska too. Even though they are a leftist company in a leftist state, am I to believe that Alaska would have continued to gladly operate at a huge loss is Trump didn’t modify access to Cuba? Of course not. As long as Cuba is a communist and oppressive regime, most people aren’t going to go there. Couple that with safety considerations…its off the table. Sure you’ll always have American tourists who lie about the reason that they’re going there because this is somehow an exotic destination for them and they can take the obligatory photos to show their friends how “worldly” they are. But bottom line is that these companies took a huge gamble with a market that was no where near ready. They can blame Trump for whatever they want but market conditions have long dictated otherwise. Ultimately, AS has a responsibility to its shareholders not to foolishly blow money

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