Lonely Planet Writer

Delta resumes flights to Cuba 55 years after the last one touched down in 1961

For the first time in 55 years, Delta Air Lines is operating commercial flights to Cuba. It is the only existing US airline to previously fly between the US and Cuba before service was suspended on 6 December, 1961.

Colourful houses in Havana, Cuba. Image: Bastian Linder
Colourful houses in Havana, Cuba. Image: Bastian Linder

The carrier has now launched a passenger service from the US, with nonstop daily flights from Miami, New York and Atlanta to Havana that will carry 3000 passengers per week. It is one of eight airlines recently cleared to fly to Havana, and it has opened a ticket office in the capital’s downtown area.

Man driving a 1950s car in Havana, Cuba. Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet
Man driving a 1950’s car in Havana, Cuba. Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet

President Barack Obama cleared the way earlier this year, for travel agents and the public to book direct flights to Cuba. Charter flights have always been allowed to fly there, but the new commercial flights will make it easier to visit.

 

However, travellers are required to sign an affidavit stating their trip falls under twelve authorised categories of travel, such as educational activities or family visits.

Graffiti and wall paintings representing the Cuban national heroes in Havana. Image: The Visual Explorer/Shutterstock
Graffiti and wall paintings representing the Cuban national heroes in Havana. Image: The Visual Explorer/Shutterstock

Flights to smaller Cuban cities began earlier this year, and flights to Havana commenced this week. Delta’s initial flight arrived at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport on Thursday.

Youths playing baseball on street in Havana, Cuba. Image: Witold Skrzypiński
Youths playing baseball on street in Havana, Cuba. Image: Witold Skrzypiński

“Today marks the resumption of service to a storied travel destination that has lacked a direct connection to the US for most of our lifetimes,” said Steve Sear, Delta’s executive vice president of Global Sales and president of International.

Colourful stiltwalkers dancing to the sound of cuban music in Old Havana. Image: Kamira/Shutterstock
Colourful stiltwalkers dancing to the sound of Cuban music in Old Havana. Image: Kamira/Shutterstock

“We thank the authorities and officials who allowed us to resume passenger service and are proud of the Delta team who worked tirelessly this past year to add that dot back to our route maps, after its absence for more than half a century.”