By now you have probably heard that, after a string of rather bizarre apparent “sonic” attacks primarily against US diplomats in Cuba, the US State Department just announced that: (1) the US is pulling out all non-emergency government employees and all family members of employees from Cuba; (2) US Embassy will remain open with staff reduced by 60% and only handle emergency services; and (3) believ[ing] U.S. citizens may also be at risk, a Travel Warning was issued by the Department of State urging American citizens not to travel to Cuba.
What does this mean for those who have travel already planned, or were hoping to travel from the US to Cuba? Can new visas be obtained or can previously issued visas be revoked? I don’t think there are any hard and fast answers yet.
How have the US airlines that currently fly to Cuba responded? Will they issue waivers or refunds for flights where someone wants to cancel a flight because of the Travel Advisory? I decided to check with some of the US airlines.
JetBlue’s travel alerts contains a response to the President’s June 2017 announcement regarding an impending change in US travel to Cuba. This travel alert indicates that it was revised on September 27, 2017, though I’m not sure what this revision was.
Presidential announcement on Cuba policy changes June 16, 2017
Last Updated: 9/27/2017 10:00 PM ET
JetBlue is committed to continuing air service between the U.S. and Cuba. We plan to operate in full compliance with the President’s new policy. We will review the policy and the specific regulations once they are available to determine any impact to our operations or to our customers. . . .
In response to my tweet, JetBlue referred me to the link above.
I must say that Delta’s website has a great presentation about Cuba then (i.e. the 50’s) and now. The provisions, however, have not yet been updated to reflect the most recent announcement.
In response to my tweet on the topic, I received a direct message from Delta saying: We are not reducing our flights to Cuba. Secondly, any changes by a passenger would be a voluntary change and the rules of the ticket would apply.
General provisions concerning travel to Cuba can be found HERE. These provisions do not appear to have been updated to reflect the most recent announcement.
In response to my tweet on the topic, AA referred me to the above section.
Like AA, United has general provisions regarding travel to Cuba, but these provisions do not appear to have been updated yet.
It is too soon to say how the airlines will handle the matter. A lot depends on facts that have not yet developed. Furthermore, the airlines are busy handling the emergencies created by a number of recent hurricanes. As for Cuba, they appear to be taking a wait and see approach at the moment.
Delta was the only airline that directly stated that any changes by a passenger would be a voluntary change and the rules of the ticket would apply.