Courtesy of American Airlines

The airline will offer 14 weekly chartered flights from Los Angeles to Havana.

December 12, 2015

American Airlines will launch the first weekly charter flight from Los Angeles to Havana this Saturday, making it easier for West Coast travelers to finally check Cuba off their bucket list. (For more information about how to get there and what to do, check out our most recent stories on Cuba.)

The inaugural flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to José Martí International Airport (HAV), which will take approximately five hours, will depart at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday following a ceremony attended by airport officials and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The new charter service will operate on Saturdays with a Boeing 737 aircraft, and will be sold by Cuba Travel Services. American Airlines will offer a total of 14 weekly flights to Havana—the most of any major U.S. carrier, they say. According to the L.A. Times, a civil aviation agreement with the Caribbean country would be needed before regular commercial flights could operate between the U.S. and Cuba, though American Airlines is looking forward to such an opportunity.

Although trips to Cuba solely for leisure is still prohibited, U.S. citizens can visit the country without a license, so long as their reason for traveling falls under 12 broad categories including family visits, professional research, cultural reasons, and more. (You can check out our timeline detailing U.S./Cuba travel relations here.)

Travelers and the travel industry are pouncing at the opportunity to visit this exotic-yet-local destination, which lies just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. According to a recent survey by AirBNB, Cuba is among the top five Latin American and Caribbean countries that Americans most want to visit. It’s particularly of interest for jetsetting millennials, with 35 percent of 18 to 34 year olds considering traveling there in the next two years, according to the survey.

Customers can find more information regarding travel restrictions at aa.com/visitcuba, and can book their flights directly with Cuba Travel Services at www.CubaTravelServices.com.

Krista Simmons is a culinary travel writer and native Angeleno; she covers the Southern California beat for Travel + Leisure. You can follow her adventures bite-by-bite on Instagram.

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