Denver has lost its bid for a direct flight to Havana unless the federal government miraculously changes its mind.
It’s looking, however, like Denverites will have single-stop options on a number of airlines.
As you may know, President Obama recently made it a lot easier for U.S. residents to visit Cuba. Instead of traveling on group tours, we’ll be able to visit with few restrictions – and with that change, the government also is authorizing airlines to start flying direct to Havana and nine other Cuban cities.
Denver leaders had pushed hard for one of the coveted nonstop flights to Havana, but DIA is not the origin of any of the 15 routes to Havana that just received preliminary approval. (The U.S. Department of Transportation hasn’t said much about why it chose the routes it did, but that’s life.)
Still, several airlines will be able to fly one-stop from DIA.
Here are your options with each airline under the current proposal. These flights are likely to start this fall and winter, which means tickets should go on sale soon after their final approval later this summer.
American Airlines: Fly straight to Miami and continue on one of four daily Havana flights.
Delta: Fly directly to JFK in New York, Atlanta or Miami and continue on one daily Havana flight.
Southwest: Fly directly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which will have two Havana flight daily, or to Tampa, which will have one daily.
United: Fly directly to Newark and continue on one daily Havana flight. One weekly connection also is available in Houston.
Spirit: Fly directly to Fort Lauderdale for one of two daily Havana connections.
What about Frontier?
That will be a little trickier. Frontier is the airline that wanted to fly from Denver, and they ended up with nothing here.
However, Frontier earlier won approval for flights to several cities outside Havana. You’ll be able to get there from DIA with connections in Chicago or Philadelphia.
The other single-connection option I found: Sun Airlines can get you to Matanzas or Santa Clara through Minneapolis.
If you go, you’ll have company.
JetBlue actually became the first major domestic airline to resume direct service to Cuba, and the tourists already are rushing in.
In fact, U.S. travel to Cuba already is up 77 percent, Fortune reported.