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New Commercial Flights To Havana Coincide With Fidel Castro's Funeral

The first commercial flight from Miami to Havana in more than half a century left Miami International Airport at 7:30 on Monday morning.

American Airlines crew and executives cut a ceremonial red ribbon at Gate D30 before 125 passengers boarded flight 17 to Havana. Airline employees handed to all on board commemorative straw hats for the occasion.

The first commercial flight from Miami to Havana took off from gate D30 of MIA shortly after 7:30 am. American Airlines gave the 125 passengers on board a commemorative straw hat. WLRN's reporter Tim Padgett was among them. Be on the lookout for his reports from the Cuban capital this week. A post shared by WLRN Public Media (@wlrn) on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:22pm PST

The trip carried heavily symbolism: it was the first regularly scheduled commercial flight since 1961 between Miami and Havana, two cities across the Florida straight that have been virtual enemies because of the Cuban revolution.

American Airlines Miami VP, Ralph Lopez, said this flight is especially historic because it finally unites the two capitals of Cuba.

Airlines have been flying regularly between the United States and 5 other cities in the island since the two countries reestablished relations two years ago, but not to Havana. Until today.

The historical moment was tampered in the Cuba by the death Friday night of Fidel Castro, which has the island in mourning, and by remarks over the weekend by aids of U.S. president elect Donald Trump that he will likely cancel normalized relations between Havana and Washington.

WLRN's reporter Tim Padgett was among the passengers of the flight and will be reporting this week from Cuba.