The U.S. and Cuba take the next step in easing diplomatic relations.

By Melanie Lieberman
December 18, 2015
Plane over Cuba
Credit: © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

Wednesday evening, the U.S. and Cuba agreed to resume commercial air travel. For the first time in more than a 50 years, both Cuban and American airlines can establish regular air service between the two countries.

Tickets for flights can Cuba can now be booked directly through domestic carriers—though charter operations will still operated, they won’t be necessary for connecting travelers between the Caribbean island and the U.S.

The State Department expressed hopes that by allowing airlines to resume normal operations, travelers would have plentiful and improved options, and the arrangement would “promote people-to-people links.”

Tourism, however, is still illegal.

JetBlue and American Airlines, which have already established regular service (with the help of a charter), were among the first major carriers to express interest. ‘’

While we wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to green light safety regulations, there are still a handful of ways to get to Cuba this year.

Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.