It's official. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has been awarded the right to operate commercial service between Los Angeles and Havana, Cuba. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) officially approved Alaska’s application to begin service to the Cuban capital, which still must be approved by the Cuban government before tickets can go on sale.
“We applaud Secretary Anthony Foxx and the team at DOT for their thoughtful and impartial approach toward opening U.S. commercial service to Cuba,” said John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning. “As the only carrier to be awarded daily nonstop service from the West Coast to Havana, we’re excited to be one of the first airlines to serve Cuba on a scheduled basis in more than 50 years.”
Once Alaska receives official approval from the Cuban government, the airline will determine when to begin service.
The Alaska Airlines flight will originate in Seattle with same plane service to Los Angeles and then Havana. No word yet on pricing. Another question: Will the flights qualify under the airline's rules for free companion fare flights earned when signing up for its credit card.?
Here's a tentative schedule of the new daily service:
Departs 5 a.m.
Arrives: 7:40 a.m.
Departs: 8:50 a.m.
Arrives: 4:55 p.m.
Departs: 5:55 p.m.
Arrives: 9 p.m.
Departs: 10:50 p.m.
Arrives: 1:28 a.m.
Eight American carriers— most with flights departing from the Miami and New York metropolitan areas — earlier received tentative approval from the Transportation Department to operate direct flights to José Martí International Airport in Havana. Alaska is the only airline that plans to operate flights from the West Coast.