MIAMI – Antonio Figuereo said he paid $600 for his flight from Miami International Airport to Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.
Figuereo said the cost of gas was high because he had to travel to Miami from Orlando, where he lives. He also had to pay extra for luggage to bring medicine and gifts for his relatives.
Cuba remains open to travel. Although tourist activities are still prohibited for Americans, there is a high demand for tickets to visit family despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“In response to strong demand, you’re also seeing American Airlines go from four flights to six flights, I think around early March,” said Michael Zuccato of Cuba Travel Services.
Southwest offers one daily flight to Cuba from Tampa and JetBlue offers two daily flights to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale. Zuccato said demand is so high there is definitely a need for more flights from South Florida.
On Monday, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Cuba to the long list of countries that have a “very high level” of COVID-19 and recommends that Americans “avoid travel” there. This prompted the State Department to update a “Don’t travel” advisory.
On the island, in the midst of a financial crisis, Cubans have been hit by news of a new tax that will affect private street vendors who typically sell produce.
Manuel Cuesta Morua, a dissident, worries about how this will affect impoverished Cubans who are already struggling with food shortages.
There is also the stress related to world news. Tuesday’s headline from Granma — Is the US trying to push Russia into armed conflict? – portrayed the United States as the aggressor in the crisis.
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