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Travel agencies out thousands after flights to Cuba halted

Travel agencies out thousands after flights to Cuba halted
Updated: Nov 16, 2015 1:15 AM
By Chris Gilmore

Less than two weeks since the first flight to Cuba from Southwest
Florida International Airport, Choice Aire has temporarily discontinued
the service.

The decision has cost local travel agencies thousands. A lot of them say
their phones have been ringing off the hook with customers demanding
refunds.

After President Obama relaxed relations with Cuba in January, Choice
Aire CEO Danny Looney started working on plans to offer commercial
flights to the country.

Some businesses in Southwest Florida latched on to the idea.

“We started booking. We started doing a lot of advertising,” said Jesse
Reyes with Jema Travel Agency.

But Reyes fears it may all have been too soon after she was informed
that Choice Aire was discontinuing flights to Cuba from RSW.

Local travel agencies like Jema spent thousands to advertise vacation
packages to Cuba, and they said it worked. Even this weekend they were
getting calls, but it was business they had to turn away.

They also don’t know why and Choice Aire isn’t exactly giving a straight
answer. An email to NBC2 from the airline cited an unforeseeable
technicality with the airport. NBC2 reached out Choice on Sunday for
further explanation, but has yet to hear back.

“We decided to refund our customers from our money, because our idea is
they’re suffering enough to know that they know they’re not going.
They’re demanding answers, they’re demanding their money back,” Reyes said.

She said Choice owes her more than $10,000 in ticket refunds.

Source: Travel agencies out thousands after flights to Cuba halted –
NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida –
www.nbc-2.com/story/30523169/travel-agencies-lose-thousands-after-flights-to-cuba-halted#.VkmwE_mrTjY

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