If you’ve been following the events in Venezuela lately, you are well aware of the ongoing crisis happening in the country. The situation is quite sad and to top it off, there are many Venezuelans living in the United States — approximately 270,000 according to (slightly outdated) census data. Many have families, friends, and other commitments that force them to return home.
Major Airlines Pulling Out
Delta operated a 1x a week flight direct from ATL to CCS and United operated daily non-stop flights to CCS from Houston’s Bush airport (IAH). These flight options are now gone.
The other large airlines to vacate Caracas are LATAM, Avianca, Lufthansa, and AeroMexico.
What Are Your Options?
If you need to get to Caracas, you’re in luck as American and SBA Airlines both still operate daily non-stop service from Miami (MIA).
Don’t live in Miami? No worries. Seeing as American flies direct from Miami to Caracas, you can connect in MIA from wherever you are. If those options do not work, another option is to connect through Panama City (PTY) with Copa Airlines (Star Alliance) from the following cities: San Francisco (SFO), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH), New Orleans (MSY), Chicago (ORD), Atlanta (ATL), Orlando (MCO), Tampa (TPA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), New York (JFK), New York (EWR), Washington, DC (IAD), and/or Boston (BOS)
What’s the Reason?
Matthew over at Live and Let’s Fly wrote about how financial results on United’s Houston–Caracas route just weren’t up to the level the company expected. I’m sure more than one airline serving Caracas realized suffering financial results on the routes, but stayed in for strategic purposes.
I think the main driver for pulling out is lack of safety. Interestingly enough, Matthew also wrote about United’s technique for ensuring crews don’t have to spend the night in Caracas — by adding a stop in Aruba. With unrest in the streets and a dictator in office, you just can’t trust that the safety of airport operations are up to ICAO standards. It almost makes you wonder why American hasn’t ended service yet. Hmm…