WABC Eyewitness News
Traveling to Havana, Cuba just got easier. Non-stop flights between New York’s JFK and Havana, Cuba began taking off.
But as Eyewitness News reporter Phil Lipof reports, the flights aren’t open to everyone.
Terminal Four at JFK. It looks like any other day. But if you look closer, you’ll see that the departure screen reads “Havana.”
For the first time, direct flights from New York to Cuba are available.
“We’re very happy to provide this service so passengers can fly directly,” said Rick Reposa, of C & T Charters, Inc. “They don’t have to go through Miami.”
Reposa is CFO of C & T Charters, which is the company offering the service. It is sanctioned by both the Cuban and U.S. Governments.
The flights have been leaving Miami since 1991. But New Jersey is home to the seconds largest Cuban-American community in the country.
So JFK was an obvious choice.
At one Cuban restaurant in Union City, there were mixed reactions to the flight.
“I would like to go to my country to see my friends, all the family that I have there,” Cuban-American Susan Hernandez said. “But I don’t want to go back with Castro there. I don’t want to give Castro my money.”
Cuban-American Rigoberto Bagarotti says he would go in a heartbeat, and adds he is disgusted by the U.S. embargo.
“I have half my family living over here, and the other half living in Cuba,” he said.
He and many others say it’s also not fair that in the past, travelers would have to fly to Miami first.
There will be two more flights in December, on the 24th before Christmas and the 31st before New Year’s. After that, they are scheduled every two weeks.
The company says the flights will increase as demand does.