If you've been disappointed by the failure of U.S. airlines to announce scheduled services to Cuba (now that Americans can freely go there), it hasn't been because of inaction on their part. To properly operate from a new destination, airlines need to have well-functioning internet programs designed to check on reservations and luggage. Yet the Wi-Fi available at airports in both Havana and other Cuban cities leaves a lot to be desired, and the airlines gearing up for service in those locations have faced big problems. New servers need to be installed, new computer programs tested, and weeks more will be required before daily flights can be scheduled.
Apparently, American Airlines and JetBlue are the furthest advanced in overcoming these problems, and it is hoped that at some point in the autumn, both will announce the start of regularly-scheduled flights from major U.S. cities to Havana, Trinidad, Manzanillo, and more.
Here at home, there appears some improvement in the crowded conditions of airports and planes. According to a survey by the chief aviation reporter of the Associated Press, Scott Mayerowitz, the airlines have added so many seats to planes, and brought into service so many larger planes, that flights will not be as full in future months as they have been in 2015 and early 2016. This has led to such airfare deals as an occasional $121 round-trip between New York City and Miami (although bargains of that depth are still found only occasionally).
In terms of security lines, the T.S.A. has apparently lessened the waits at many airports, and they have been aided by a "massive spike", according to Mayerowitz, in the number of Americans applying for pre-check (and therefore no longer found in standard lines). Nevertheless, the worst times to pass through T.S.A. gates are Sunday evening, Monday morning, and Thursday/Friday. Schedule your flights for Tuesday/Wednesday and for Saturday, and you should pass through security fairly quickly.
So aviation matters seem a bit improved, despite the fact that massive numbers of Americans will be flying in the year ahead, especially after the Presidential election has taken place. According to several statisticians, travel slows when electioneering is at its height, for reasons that no one seems able to explain.
(Photo credit: Anthony Quintano/Flickr)