United Airlines, passengers celebrate first flight from Newark to Cuba

The first commercial flight from Newark to Cuba took off Tuesday morning after passengers received a celebratory welcome at the departure gate decorated with blue and white balloons while salsa music played and Cuban food was served.

The inaugural United Airlines flight from Newark Liberty International Airport was sold out, with about 150 passengers aboard, said Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for the airline.

"I am full of happiness. It's a dream to think it's the first trip of many more," Caridad López of West New York, who moved from the island seven years ago, said as she held a plate with some fruit and a croquette. "And the relationship between Cuba and the United States may improve and that makes me happy."

The direct flight is the first of daily trips from Newark to the capital city of Havana as part of President Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with the communist nation.
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