Delta to Resume Cuba Service in 2023

After suspending its Cuba flights in 2020 due to the pandemic, the carrier is heading back to Havana.

Havana, Cuba, capitol building

After the Biden administration eased Cuba travel restrictions earlier this year, Delta is relaunching Havana flights from Miami.

Photo by Florian Wehde/Unsplash

Delta Air Lines announced Friday that it will be bringing back its service to Havana next year after a three-year hiatus.

Starting on April 10, 2023, Delta will begin operating two daily nonstop flights from Miami International Airport to the José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba. Delta first returned to Cuba in 2016 after 55 years with no service to the Caribbean island. But in March 2020, Delta’s Cuba flights were again put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the airline reports it is seeing a strong demand for travel to Cuba and plans to fully restore its Cuba network by next summer, Delta reported.

The move comes after the Biden administration earlier this year vowed to make travel between the U.S. and Cuba somewhat easier again five years after the Trump administration put policies in place that severely restricted travel between the two countries.

In May, the U.S. State Department issued a statement announcing that among the new measures the Biden administration would be putting into place will be allowing more flights between the U.S. and Cuba. But the biggest change for would-be leisure travelers to Cuba? Group people-to-people tours and educational travel were reinstated. The Biden administration is also now allowing for some business travel related to professional meetings and research.

The administration did not go as far as to approve individual people-to-people travel, a policy that was implemented by President Obama and allowed for individual travelers to go to Cuba and engage in cultural and educational exchanges. But the fact that group people-to-people travel to Cuba is permitted again means that certain licensed tour operators and travel companies approved by the U.S. government (such as InsightCuba, Intrepid Travel, and G Adventures) have the green light to relaunch organized group tours from the U.S. to Cuba. Their emphasis will be on purposeful cultural and educational interactions with the people of Cuba (hence the term “people-to-people” travel).

“With these actions, we aim to support Cubans’ aspirations for freedom and for greater economic opportunities so that they can lead successful lives at home,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said when the new policies were announced.

According to the U.S. State Department, the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are family visits; official government business; journalistic activity; professional research and meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, exhibitions, and athletic competitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations, research, or educational institutes; exportation or importation; and certain authorized export transactions.

Delta’s new nonstop flights from Miami to Cuba will operate on an Airbus A320 aircraft with first-class, Delta Comfort+, and economy seating. The flights will feature in-flight entertainment, free mobile messaging, and the option to purchase high-speed Wi-Fi.

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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