It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and thanks to President Obama I’ll finally be able to fulfill one of my life dreams: traveling to Cuba. In that same vein, CheapAir.com today announced that they will become the first online travel agency that helps US travelers get to Cuba – it looks like my dream could soon become a reality.
Earlier this year Obama announced new regulations that ease the US’s longtime travel ban to Cuba. Under this new law Americans must travel for an approved reason, including professional, educational, or government purposes, but no longer do they need to obtain a government license.
“Since the rule change, we have seen a surge in search volumes for travel to Cuba,” says Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com. “Arranging flights to Cuba is a little complicated, but it’s the kind of thing we’re good at and our technology platform is flexible enough to make it possible. Our team did a great job building it out in just a few weeks’ time.”
There are, in totality, twelve different reasons that US citizens could fly to Cuba:
- Family visits
- Official business of the US government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic, and other competitions and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
- Certain authorized export transactions
A lot of you at this point might be thinking, sure I can rationalize one of those twelve reasons; why would I need a travel agency to get me there?
The fact is, it’s not legal for US airlines to sell direct or connecting flights between the US and Cuba yet. As a result, you have to actually fly through a third, intermediary country to get there. But once again, that’s why CheapAir.com wants to help US travelers.
For example, they know where you should stay if you have to remain overnight in a foreign country like Mexico. The Ins and outs of the process might make our heads spin, but this is the norm for Klee and his team; they’ve been booking flights since 1989.