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Cuban-American AA Crew Members Stopped From Working Cuba Flights

Cuban regulations prevent some Cuban-Americans from traveling to the island nation.

Cuban-American cabin crew members working for American Airlines may not be able to visit their home country while on duty due to Cuban regulations on those born in the once-restricted nation. The Miami Herald reports that the edict came down shortly after the airline’s first flights from Miami to Cuba.

The internal regulations were spawned by an episode that unfolded during American’s inaugural flight from the United States to Varadero, Cuba. According to the Miami Herald, one of the flight attendants was born in Cuba, but now resides in the United States and holds an American passport. Under Cuban law, anyone who left the country after 1970 must hold a Cuban passport.

Because the unidentified crew member was born in Cuba but did not hold the correct passport, that person was denied entry into the nation. In addition, the crew member’s denial of entry meant they could not complete an overnight stay required of crew members who fly 12 hours per day. When pressed to find a solution, Cuban officials told American they would consider exceptions in “extenuating circumstances,” but would not waver on their policy toward Cuban-born Americans who do not have a Cuban passport.

As a result of the legal complications, the airline is barring Cuban-born crew members from working flights to the island nation. The newspaper cited an internal memo which suggested Cuban-born crew members should be “removed with pay” from flights departing for Cuba. A spokesperson for American confirmed the edict to the Miami Herald.

“No crew member born in Cuba is allowed to enter Cuba unless they meet immigration requirements,” American spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello told the Miami Herald. “That’s a Cuban government demand. That’s not something we’re saying.”

This is not the first episode where Cuban-born Americans have been blocked from traveling back to the island nation. According to the Miami Herald, Carnival Cruise Lines refused Cuban-American bookings earlier this year on cruises with a stop at the island, due to a Cuban law that prevents Cuban-Americans from arriving to the country by sea.

[Photo: American Airlines]

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AlwaysFlyStar September 20, 2016

I'm confused, is American disallowing all Cuban born American crew members or merely those without a Cuban passport?