On Saturday, the first charter flight left from Los Angeles International for Havana, which will now connect the west coast to Cuba. American Airlines now will run a weekly nonstop flight to Havana. The US still bars most Americans from travelling to Cuba, but new rules now let close relatives of Cubans, journalists, and those participating in religious, entertainment or sport activities to go to the country without getting approval.
According to media reports, American Airlines’ vice president said the company would be ready to schedule commercial flights as soon as the US and Cuba allow for it. While American Airlines has been running charter flights into Cuba since the 1990s, they were only available from the East Coast, reports NBC Los Angeles.
For decades, a treasury law that forbids Americans from spending money in Cuba stopped any leisure travel into the country. As travel agents could not book tourist travel to Cuba, some Americans would go to the country through a third country, like Canada or Mexico.