July Sees Influx of New Flights to the Caribbean

There has been a lot of flight news out of the Caribbean in July, including JetBlue's announcement that it will be first U.S. carrier to fly to Cuba in decades. // Photo by Joe Pike

Most of the news out of the Caribbean has been coming out of the sky in July, as several major airlines announced new flights to the region this month. Travel Agent breaks down the most notable ones.

JetBlue's Newest Route to Turks and Caicos Now on Sale

JetBlue Airways has announced that flights on its new route between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Providenciales International Airport (PLS) in Turks and Caicos are now on sale. 

The year-round, daily service starts November 19. JetBlue is offering an introductory fare of only $99 each way between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Turks and Caicos.

The new route shows JetBlue's commitment to continuing expansion in the Caribbean, where it is already the largest carrier from the U.S. The flights are also part of JetBlue's ongoing growth at its focus city in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, where it now offers flights to more than 40 destinations. Eight new destinations, including Turks and Caicos, have been announced this year.

JetBlue flights on this new route will be operated using the carrier's Embraer E190 aircraft. All customers will enjoy the comfort of a window or aisle seat, as well as complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks and soft drinks and free first-run Hollywood movies. 

Visit www.jetblue.com

HavanaAir Charters, Eastern Air Lines Set to Launch Weekly Cuba Flights From Houston

Havana, Cuba // Photo by Jena Fox

Miami-based HavanaAir Charters continues its expansion into the Cuba market with their direct air carrier partner Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. 

HavanaAir will begin weekly, direct service from Houston International Airport to Havana, Cuba, giving U.S. West Coast gateway cities a more convenient and faster route to Cuba. 

HavanaAir is one of the largest providers of passenger traffic to the island, currently operating some 65 flights a month to Havana from Miami with additional service to Santa Clara and Camaguey.

HavanaAir uses Eastern Air Lines Boeing 737-800 (Next Generation) aircraft on the weekly flights, which will operate on Wednesdays starting in August.

"We are very pleased to open the Houston to Cuba market with our valued partner, Eastern Air Lines," said Mark Elias, president and chief operating officer of HavanaAir Charters, in a written statement. "HavanaAir has strived to extend the utmost in customer services to the island, and our partnership with Eastern has proven to provide an entirely new level of service to Cuba with their Next Generation Boeing aircraft, truly professional crew and support staff." 

Visit www.easternairlines.aero

American Airlines Adds More Flights to Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean

american airlinesAmerican Airlines has plans to add eight new flight routes throughout Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean later this year.

Expanded service includes new flights to Mexico City International Airport (MEX); General Rafael Buelna International Airport (MZT) in Mazatlan, Mexico; Curacao International Airport (CUR); Sangster International Airport (MBJ) in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ); Gregorio Luperon International Airport (POP) in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito.

Some of the flights are available to book now and all of the flights will be available for bookings, beginning July 26. The flights will begin running as early as September 3, with all of the flights available by December 19.

American is also planning to start service again between John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City and Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela. This flight will begin operating on December 17, but it can be booked now. With these new routes included, American Airlines will operate more than 1,750 weekly flights in the three regions. 

Visit www.aa.com

United Airlines Announces New Nonstop Routes From Chicago and Washington D.C. to Grand Cayman

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism recently announced that United Airlines will further support its accessibility to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, with new and expanded seasonal services out of Chicago and Washington D.C., two key U.S. markets for the destination.
The inaugural route will commence on December 19 and feature nonstop service from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM). The Saturday-only service will continue through April 30, 2016, providing a convenient winter escape for travelers in the Chicago area. 

Using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, flight UA1911 will depart ORD at 10:40 a.m. and arrive at Grand Cayman at 3:40 p.m. The return flight, UA1912, will leave GCM at 12:39 p.m. and arrive at Chicago at 3:44 p.m.
This winter, United Airlines will also begin flying four times a week from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to GCM. The expanded service will kick off on December 19 and continue through May 4, 2016. Flights on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday will depart IAD at 12:20 p.m. and arrive at Grand Cayman at 3:49 p.m., while Saturday flights will depart at 8:15 a.m. and arrive at the destination at 11:44 a.m.

All return flights will leave GCM at 4:44 p.m. and arrive at Washington D.C. at 8:03 p.m. Additionally, the new flight routes will provide an opportunity for Chicago customers to connect in Washington D.C., allowing even greater flexibility. 

Visit www.caymanislands.ky and www.united.com

JetBlue Officially Becomes First Major U.S. Carrier to Fly to Cuba in Decades

Havana, Cuba. // Photo by Joe Pike

JetBlue Airways Corp. began direct charter flights between New York and Havana, the first major U.S. carrier to fly the route following U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision in December to normalize relations with the Communist-ruled island.

According to Fortune.com, the airline said Cuba Travel Services, Inc. is offering the weekly flight on Fridays between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

JetBlue now operates five weekly round trips to Cuba, including flights from Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood with various charter partners, the company said in a statement.

The flight was first announced in early May but the first sign that JetBlue was inching closer to becoming the first U.S. carrier to fly to Cuba was apparent in February when the airline announced plans to increase its charter services to Cuba with A320 aircraft.

The announcement was of a single charter flight added to JetBlue’s established service, but it signaled the airline's intent to capitalize on opportunities in the Caribbean market, including the recent warming of relations between Cuba and the United States.

JetBlue’s flights to Cuba are operated on the airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft, with 150 leather seats offering more legroom than competitors’ economy class, and 42 of which are configured as "Even More" seats, giving passengers an extra four inches of space at the knees.

The new JetBlue charter flight was the first expansion in charter services by a major U.S. airline since restrictions on travel to Cuba were eased in January. Established by an agreement with ABC Charters, the service commenced on June 5, and will operated on Fridays from Tampa to Havana. 

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all the latest Caribbean news and be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike.