Alaska Air says ‘no cigar’ to Trump’s Cuba travel restrictions



Turns out, travel to Cuba isn’t the bomb after all. Alaska Airlines announced today that it will end a daily flight between Los Angeles and Havana, Cuba. Rules by the Trump Administration are, in part, to blame.

The last flight out of Cuba to earn those coveted Alaska Air miles is planned for Jan. 22, 2018. The airline said new restrictions on travel to Cuba by the Trump Administration, combined with low demand for travel to the communist-controlled island, gave the airline pause about continuing to fly there.

Early on, President Donald Trump said he would reverse the liberal travel to Cuba set forth by the Obama Administration.

“Travel is about making connections, and we were honored to have played a role in helping people make personal connections by traveling between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines. “We continually evaluate every route we fly to ensure we have the right number of seats to match the number of people who want to go there.”

About 80 percent of Alaska Air’s flyers to Havana were covered by a State Department policy for individual “people-to-people” educational travel, the airline said.

Last week’s changes to that policy eliminated that allowance. The airline expects a big drop in demand.

“Given the changes in Cuba travel policies, the airline will redeploy these resources to other markets the airline serves where demand continues to be strong,” the airline said.

Alaska started the Los AngelesHavana flight on Jan. 5, 2017. It was the first flight approved by the United States for a West Coast to Cuba route.

But in June, Trump signaled the travel policy to Cuba would end and that he was “cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”

Now, with U.S. diplomats to Cuba experiencing mysterious ailments and symptoms that some say are the result of being bombarded with sound waves while in their hotels, the Trump Administration has made the regulatory changes.