Air Transport World

Flying down to Cuba.

We were warned that getting to Cuba and back would not be easy. The U.S., after all, has not had full diplomatic relations with Cuba for a quarter of a century. But, then, international travel never has been easy. So we pressed ahead.

First, our travel agent, ever-dependent on the all-pervasive computer reservation system, insisted we couldn't get there from here directly because the computer system said so. Not true, we said. There are several "charter" flights every week. Call State Dept. for details, we suggested.

Second, after determining we could fly directly from Miami to Havana, just as thousands of Cuban-Americans have been doing for years, the agent told us the tour operator needed payment in full, in advance, before he could put us on the reservation list. No credit cards, thank you.

Third, we found that we not only needed a visa from the Cubans, but also permission from the State Department and a "license" from the Treasury Department, which would allow us to spend U.S. currency. Without that permission, Americans and residents violate the Cuban Assets Control Regulation if they use U. …

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