DALLAS — A major announcement regarding U.S. flights to Cuba couldn’t come at a better time for the Dallas-based travel company Conscious Cuba.
Six U.S. airlines have been approved to fly from the United States to Cuba.
“It’s always been what I always saw as a three-hour direct flight, but it turns into 24 or 36 hours,” said Francis Harrison Brito, founder of Conscious Cuba.
Her company has been recognized as an American charter company by the Cuban government.
Brito first traveled to Havana as a college student. There, she fell in love with the country. She also fell in love with the man that would become her husband.
“I’ve realized that Cubans and Americans can be together and enjoy the beauty of life together,” said Manuel Brito, Francis Harrison Brito’s husband.
The Britos started their company before President Barack Obama reopened diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2014. They say that was a major milestone and expanding flights from the U.S. to Cuba is another.
Two Dallas-based airlines, Southwest and American, are among the six approved domestic carriers, but there won’t be direct flights out of Dallas just yet.
Another catch, there are no direct flights to Havana just yet. According to the DOT, that announcement is expected later this summer.
“For me that is amazing,” said Manuel Brito. “I’m going to be on the first flight from Dallas to Havana.”
The Britos say it’s a step in the right direction but there’s still a long way to go. Much of the travel infrastructure in Cuba isn’t in place, and a decades-long trade embargo still exists between the two countries.
“People are getting more comfortable with the idea that not only is it legally but it’s really fun to go to Cuba,” said Francis Harrison Brito.
Something they hope more people in Texas will soon have the opportunity to experience.
Sebastian Robertson, WFAA
June 14, 2016
Copyright 2016 WFAA