Airlines made history this summer when they launched the first scheduled commercial flights from the US to Cuba in more than 50 years, part of the thaw in relations between the US and the island.
It already looks like too much too soon.
American Airlines this week said it plans to trim the number of flights it offers to Cuba from 13 a day to 10. Starting in mid-February, the airline will only operate one flight a day to Holguín, Varadero and Santa Clara from Miami instead of two.
Its service to Havana, which kicked off this week, will continue.
A spokeswoman for the airline said American made the decision “in order to remain competitive in the market.”
The three cities where American is cutting service are resort towns. Running many flights to that type of destination isn’t economical because US citizens can’t vacation in Cuba easily. US travelers must obtain a license by fulfilling one of 12 government approved reasons. Leisure travel isn’t one of them.
Delta Air Lines, which also launched service to Havana this week, said that it only wanted to offer service to the Cuban capital. Havana may offer more opportunities for educational activities—one of the approved reasons for travel for US citizens—than other destinations. Havana “was where we’d have the most success,” a Delta spokesman said.
It isn’t yet clear how many US citizens will fill the seats on the new flights to Cuba. But there are plenty of other islands easier for US tourists to reach to escape winter’s snow and slush.