Private jet to Cuba? Victor adds direct flight from New Orleans

Posted on: October 14 2015 | Posted in: Latest News

By Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 

Private jet charter service Victor is now offering direct flights from New Orleans to Cuba, part of a new service that provides curated itineraries to wealthy American travelers interested in exploring the island. The service is the latest seeking to capitalize on the diplomatic thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

The British company, known as the Uber of private jet charter, launched direct-to-Cuba flights this month in 19 U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Members can use the Victor app to secure a jet and plan the details of their trip.

Flights out of New Orleans will operate both out of Louis Armstrong International Airport and Lakefront Airport.

In addition to flights, Victor has partnered with Cuba Educational Travel to offer group tours that comply with federal guidelines regulating travel to the island.

How much does all this run? The per-person cost varies, but a typical four-night trip to Havana for eight people starts at $40,000.

Last year, President Barack Obama announced plans normalize relations with Cuba, easing trade restrictions and opening a U.S. embassy there.

The first direct flight from New Orleans to Cuba in more than 55 years took off in March carrying dozens of business and civic leaders for a week-long networking conference in Havana. Americans are still banned from leisure travel to the island, however.

Itineraries booked through Victor and planned by Cuba Educational Travel fully comply with federal rules, while still offering  "ultra-exclusive experiences" to members, according to a news release.

Trips include cigar and rum tastings with Cuban experts, concerts with entertainers such as Buena Vista Social Club, and dinners with prominent Cuban historians and cultural figures. Travelers will also have the opportunity to ride "in classic American autos from the 1950s," stay in "upscale rented homes," and dine at "top-notch" Havana restaurants, the release said.

Victor spokesman Michael Fullem said the company does have members in the New Orleans area, though he could not confirm whether anyone in the region has booked a Cuba trip at this point.

Victor, launched in April this year, allows flayers to search, compare pricing and book more than 7,000 jets at 40,000 airports nationwide.