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Earlier today the first flight from the U.S. West Coast took off for Cuba. Alaska Airlines flight 286 took off from Sea-Tac airport headed for Los Angeles, from where it is making the inaugural flight to Havana. Among the VIPs on board is the flight is Cuban-born University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. Commercial passengers are joining the delegation of VIPs in Los Angeles, some of whom have not visited Cuba for many, many years (source).
Alaska Airlines is one of several U.S. carriers that was granted approval from the DOT to begin service to Cuba. They offer the only West Coast option to the island, with daily nonstop service between Los Angeles and Havana. On other carriers, most departures are from Florida, but service is also offered from New York, Chicago, Houston, Charlotte, and Atlanta.
Inaugural flights are often a big deal. There are typically celebrations at the gate and on board, and they can be quite fun, especially if you are an aviation geek. The tweet above shows the celebration at the gate at LAX. I’ve never taken an inaugural flight, but I am definitely quite interested in the idea. I’ll see if I can manage that feat fairly soon.
If you’re interested in flying to Cuba, make sure you understand the travel requirements before you make plans. Alaska Airlines has everything you need to know here. Trips strictly for tourism are still prohibited, so make sure your purpose for visiting the Caribbean Island nation is among those on the list.