First commercial flight to Havana from Tampa takes off

- For the first time in more than 50 years, commercial airline travel between Tampa and Havana is underway.

The inaugural flight left Tampa this morning.

Southwest Airlines has one flight a day from Tampa at 6:15 a.m.

The introductory fare is $150 dollars for the round trip.

It was a double celebration. 

Today marked Tampa's reconnection with Cuba and Southwest Airlines' 100th destination.

"Tampa is a great city," said Southwest Airlines president Gary Kelly. "It's a great airport, a wonderful
partner so I'm delighted that our 100th city is Havana and tied with Tampa.

Ties between the two cities date back more than 100 years when cigar workers made steamship journeys back and forth.

Ed Salazar spent part of his childhood in Cuba.

He left Tampa planning to look for cousins upon his arrival in Havana.

"It's been 56 years, six months and one week. That's how long it's been since we've been in Cuba," he said.

It's still illegal to go to Cuba purely as a tourist.

Trips have to fit into one of about a dozen specialized categories such as education.

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