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Alaska Airlines kicks off daily flights to Havana

Alaska flight to Havana
A Cuban flag is propped up on an seat in Alaska Airlines’ jet for the carrier’s inaugural flight to Havana. (Alaska Airlines Photo via Twitter)

For the first time in decades, passengers got on a jet at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that could take them all the way to Cuba’s capital – albeit with a layover in Los Angeles.

Alaska Airlines’ Flight 286 set out from Sea-Tac at 5:10 a.m. today for the Seattle-based carrier’s inaugural commercial trip to Havana. Among the dignitaries on board: King County Executive Dow Constantine and Ana Mari Cauce, the University of Washington’s Cuban-born president.

The Boeing 737-900ER jet stopped at LAX to pick up additional passengers – and give Alaska an opportunity to indulge in some Latin-flavored celebration. Then the jet took off again for the four-hour-plus flight to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

Flight 286 finished up the journey at 4:57 p.m. local time. After another flurry of fanfare in Havana, the jet turned around to make Flight 287 to LAX. It was due back in Seattle in the middle of the night.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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