First commercial flight departs to Cuba from Tampa

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Dozens of passengers boarded an airplane for the first commercial flight between Tampa and Havana, Cuba in more than 50 years Monday.

The Southwest Airlines flight took off from Tampa International Airport shortly after 6:15 a.m. carrying 175 travelers to the island nation.

FOX 13 was at the gate as the history-making travelers prepared to board. Many of whom will be meeting Cuban family they have never had the opportunity to meet. 

Tampa International Airport is one of ten airports selected to offer nonstop service to Cuba by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Southwest Airlines is accepting travel reservations for flights to Cuba through April 2017.