American Airlines announced on Tuesday that it will be offering charter flights from LAX to Cuba starting on December 12.
“To visit Cuba, choose between 23 weekly charter flights from Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles to Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Havana, Holguin and Santa Clara,” the American Airlines website explains.
The announcement arrives on the heels of the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba for the first time since 1961.
JetBlue became the first American carrier to offer direct charter flights between America and Cuba last month. There are 12 acceptable reasons for travel to Cuba, including journalism, official government business, “humanitarian projects or to provide support to the Cuban people” or visits to relatives, the airline notes.
American Airlines has been offering charter flights from Florida to Cuba since 1991, primarily for Cuba’s expatriate community, although this will be the first time they are offering flights out of Los Angeles.
All of this is taking place without the approval of Congress–and with Obama again taking unilateral action to bypass Congress in order to ease the travel restrictions, a move that has become a recurring theme throughout his presidency.
ABC notes that although a bill was introduced to Congress this year to lift the travel embargo, it has yet to move through a committee. Additionally, Obama is taking unilateral action to give banks “cover to allow use of credit cards, which already is supposed to be happening but is not because banks have been cautious. While American Express and MasterCard announced they would allow their cards to be used on the island, no Cuban bank has authorization, meaning those traveling from America must still pay in cash.”