What you need to know about the US ban on flights to Cuban cities outside Havana
In June 2019, the US government introduced stricter regulations on American citizens travelling to Cuba. Despite widespread speculation around this, with the right research, it is indeed still possible to visit the country. Adding to that is a set of newly-announced sanctions that limits flights to Havana only.
From 10 December onwards, all flights from the United States to Cuba will be limited to the city of Havana. The recent announcement by the US Transportation Department will ban US air carrier flights to nine international airports across Cuba, a move that will disrupt an estimated eight flights a day. Major companies such as United Airlines, JetBlue and American Airlines all currently operate flights to other Cuban destinations. The new rules will not affect chartered flights, while no foreign airlines operate direct flights between the United States and Cuba.
The recent ban on cruise liners and ‘people-to-people’ trips to Cuba organised by US travel agents garnered a lot of media attention when it was announced this year. However, US citizens wishing to visit the country can still apply for general licences under 11 categories listed by the United States Department of the Treasury. These include athletic competitions, public performances, humanitarian projects, workshops, educational activities and support for the Cuban people (a more broadly-defined category that is usually chosen by citizens wishing to see the country).
US travellers have been advised to keep an agenda and itinerary of their travels when returning to their home country, with receipts and information on accommodation and activities proving helpful to have.
A set of frequently-asked questions related to travelling to Cuba was updated in September 2019 that outlines the details related to each category, as well as supplying further information that may be helpful to any prospective travellers hoping to plan a trip there.