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Cuba Flights

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Riya Kurian

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For the first time in history, the Newark Liberty International Airport is offering a direct flight to Havana, Cuba. United Airlines is officially the first airline to offer this to its customers.

The passengers took off for the first ride on Tuesday November 29th, 2016 around 11:40 a.m. Despite a slight delay, the passengers experienced a smooth 3 and ½ hour ride to their destination. The arrival time was approximately 1:53 p.m. Since this day, United Airways has been offering one flight per day to Cuba, and many customers have been taking up the offer.

Overall, commercial flights in general between both the United States and Cuba began again several months ago. This correlates to the fact that relations between the two countries have improved under President Barack Obama.

With the new flight came certain restrictions. General tourist travel to Cuba is currently banned. There are 12 approved circumstances in which a passenger can travel to the island. These measures have been determined by the United States Department of Treasury. These include visiting family members, educational purposes, religious retreats or activities, business, professional, or job related reasons, and cultural exchanges as well.

A similarly memorable occasion such as this event took place over 50 years ago, when JetBlue scheduled its first flight from the John F. Kennedy Airport to Havana, Cuba. Since the dissolving of travel restrictions in August by President Barack Obama, the airline has resumed flights to Cuba from various different locations.

This event certainly is breakthrough as it is set right around the time of Castro’s death. Castro had been the ruler of Cuba for close to 5 decades. His death on November 25, 2016 certainly impacted the lives of many Cuban people. The country is currently observing a period of mourning over the death of the 90-year-old ruler. This term of lamentation will last a total of nine days within the nation.

So what exactly does this mean for passengers? For many people, they now have direct access to being with their families during this time of grief. Over 135,000 Cuban-Americans reside in the New York-New Jersey area. The only area to have more than this is the Miami- Fort Lauderdale region.  Having nearby access to an airport that can easily take them back home especially in times of crisis is certainly a benefit to many of these Cuban people.