Delta returns to Cuba after 55-year hiatus

Delta returns to Cuba after 55-year hiatus

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ATLANTA – Delta Air Lines begins regularly scheduled passenger service with nonstop daily flights from the U.S. to Cuba. Flights will depart from Miami, New York-JFK and Atlanta to Havana as the airline makes its return to the Cuban capital for the first time in 55 years.

The airline is the only existing U.S. carrier to previously operate passenger service until it was suspended in 1961 due to an unstable political climate and profitability challenges. Delta was also the last U.S. carrier to exit the Cuban market with the suspension of its Havana to New Orleans service.

Delta Flight 625 is scheduled to depart Miami International Airport at 8:59 a.m. and touch down at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport just after 10 a.m., making it the first official regularly scheduled Delta passenger flight since service was suspended in December 1961.

 Additionally, Delta Flight 448 from New York-JFK International Airport is scheduled to arrive just before noon and Delta’s Flight 639 from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is expected to arrive just before 1:30 p.m.

“Today marks the resumption of service to a storied travel destination that has lacked a direct connection to the U.S. for most of our lifetimes,” said Steve Sear, President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales. “We thank the authorities and officials who allowed us to resume passenger service and are proud of the Delta team who worked tirelessly this past year to add that dot back to our route maps after its absence for more than half a century.”

“We are pleased to welcome Delta Air Lines’ direct route from Atlanta to Cuba’s capital, solidifying Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport not only as the world’s busiest airport, but also the gateway to the world,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “I had the unique privilege to conduct a trade mission to Cuba last year, along with several other government and business leaders in Georgia, where we explored opportunities for partnership in the airport management, logistics, food exports, information technology and tourism sectors. Atlanta is well-poised to serve as an important domestic partner to Cuba and this route will open several business and tourism opportunities.”

Delta is among eight carriers granted authority by the Department of Transportation to serve Havana, and it began selling flights from the U.S. to Cuba in September. In early November, Delta became the first U.S. airline to open a City Ticket Office in downtown Havana to support local tickets sales for Cubans traveling to the U.S. Delta will offer almost 3,000 seats weekly between the U.S. and Cuba.

Delta’s Havana service from Miami and New York links the two top cities with largest Cuban-American population, while Atlanta represents the largest connection point of passengers to Havana providing more than 150 U.S. cities with one-stop access to Cuba from the world’s largest hub.

Delta customers can count on the airline’s superior operational performance, service, products and connections to its global network. All three U.S. markets offer Delta Sky Clubs with upgraded food and drink options and SkyPriority lines for faster check-in and boarding. On board, customers will receive Delta’s refreshments, free in-flight entertainment* and Wi-Fi*.

New York’s Maialino brings a taste of a Roman trattoria on board
Delta Air Lines is capturing the essence of a Roman-style trattoria with its newest Delta One Winter menu. Beginning Dec. 1, customers flying in the Delta One cabin on select trans-Atlantic routes to Europe and Transcon flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport will enjoy meals created by Maialino’s Executive Chef Jason Pfeifer.  

The Delta One menu is evocative of the critically acclaimed restaurant’s rustic Italian cuisine that channels the cultures of New York City and Rome by reimagining traditional dishes, seasonal flavors and techniques to reflect the restaurant’s contemporary setting.

“For me, Italian cuisine is about ingredients and I think we have really captured that cooking philosophy for Delta fliers,” said Pfeifer. “The simplicity of the dishes allow for the ingredients to become the star of the show, so we have been very thoughtful how each ingredient is sourced, using many of the local New York farmers and purveyors Maialino has collaborated with since the restaurants opening.”

Pfeifer returned to the roots of Roman cooking, drawing inspiration from classic dishes such as Insalata di Carciofi Romani and Abbachio alla Cacciatora when curating a menu for the in-flight experience. Highlights from the menu include Prosciutto e Mozzarella, Braciole di Manzo and Cavatelli con Salsiccia di Maiale. The restaurant’s signature warmth shines through the menu, incorporating ingredients from Maialino’s close knit family of regional farmers and purveyors including Elysian Fields Lamb, Four Story Hill Farm Chicken and spices handpicked and sundried by a family in Calabria.

“We are excited to partner with Maialino and Chef Pfeifer to provide our customers with another menu rotation packed with fresh, seasonal flavors and locally sourced ingredients,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service. “Whether our customers are seasoned business travelers or a family traveling to Europe for the first time, we want to make their experience the best it can be, which is why we’re continually improving our food, beverages and amenity offerings on board.”  

Menus created by Chef Pfeifer will be offered in Delta One for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and select items will refresh on the first of each month from December until Feb. 28, to provide a variety of options to customers. The dishes will also be prepared daily in the Union Square Events kitchen, located in Chelsea, N.Y., home to the catering and venue hospitality arm of Union Square Hospitality Group and delivered to New York-JFK to be boarded on the Delta flights.

Delta’s partnership with Maialino deepens its ongoing collaboration with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group to feature seasonally rotating menus designed by its chefs. The Maialino menu will be on board from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28. Past rotations with USHG include the fall menu from North End Grill, summer menu from Union Square Events, the spring menu from Union Square Cafe and last year’s winter menu from Marta.

The latest menus pair with Delta’s 2016 wine program curated by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, which follows a similarly seasonal approach. Robinson has sourced a number of wines from, small, artisanal wineries that bring a flavor and body uniquely their own.

To ensure customers experience an elevated in-flight experience on routes that do not feature the Maialino menu, Delta is featuring the flavors of winter on board in its First Class and Delta One cabins throughout its network. Menu items include include Fresh Black Truffle and Potato ravioli, Olive Oil Poached Halibut, and Duo of Chicken with fennel puree and haricots vert. 

*Availability is limited while traveling over the continental U.S.

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