Last updated: 12:40 PM ET, Thu June 11 2015

First Flight From Orlando to Cuba Departs After Delays

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | June 11, 2015

First Flight From Orlando to Cuba Departs After Delays

Photo by David Cogswell

As if it hadn't been long enough, the first direct flight to Cuba from Orlando International Airport was delayed for more than two hours because of bad weather and fuel issues, but ultimately departed for Havana on Wednesday afternoon, according to Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel.

Orlando's News 13 reported the flight was delayed at the gate for hours because of an unfortunate sequence of events, starting with a lack of fuel. Fuel was eventually purchased for the flight but not before severe thunderstorms moved over Central Florida, adding to the delay. 

Organized by Miami-based tour operator Gulfstream Air Charters, the 70-passenger flight was the first of three the company has scheduled after gaining approval from the airport. According to airport spokeswoman Caroyln Fennell, the next two are scheduled to depart Orlando on June 17 and June 24. 

But it remains to be seen whether Gulfstream will operate any more direct flights to Cuba from Orlando beyond those two. Fennell told Dineen that there have been no talks thus far to extend Gulfstream's service.

However beginning on July 8, Island Travel & Tours will operate twice-weekly flights from Orlando to Cuba on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Meanwhile, Gulfstream will also offer direct flights to Cuba from Miami in September, with tickets ranging from $309 to $349 per person, per Dineen.

Wednesday's noteworthy departure comes just one week after the U.S. House of Representatives struck down a bill that would further ease restrictions on travel to Cuba. Just before that, the House voted to preserve a provision "prohibiting exports to members of the Cuban military and intelligence service, as well as their families," according to Cristina Marcos of The Hill

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