Until Wednesday, the only way Americans could get to Cuba was to book a charter jet, or build a floating plastic bubble to try to run across the ocean in. But now travelers eager to see the island have the simple option of just hopping on one of JetBlue's direct flights into the country, the New York Times reports.
Starting Wednesday, JetBlue will start to offer direct flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba. It's the first airline to fly direct to the country in 50 years. The flights come nearly two years after President Obama announced that the US would be making a push to rebuild diplomatic relations with its former foe.
Americans who want to go to the country can now simply book a flight online after first meeting one of the 12 authorized categories of travel. Before, US travelers booking an expensive charter jet would have to go through chaotic documentation checks and arrive at the airport at least four hours ahead of time.
"Up to a year ago, we were doing reservations by fax machines," Peter Sanchez, the chief executive of Cuba Tours and Travel, told the Times.
The airline plans to offer seven flights a day to various Cuban cities by the fall. American Airlines, Frontier, Sun Country Airlines, and Southwest have all been approved for direct flights into the country as well.
"We do think it's an important part of history," JetBlue vice president, Marty St. George, told the Times. "Cuba has some unique elements because of 50 years of history between the US and Cuba, but we're ready to go."