Getting to Cuba for $40,000 on a private jet

MW-DV445_petson_20150930093253_ZHHAVANA, Sept. 30  If you and seven friends can scrap together $40,000, getting to Cuba just got easier.

Private jet booking service Victor will begin offering direct private flights on Monday from 19 cities in the U.S. to Havana, Cuba. The company’s service allows users to enter a destination, see price quotes and then book a private flight.

Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens is still limited as travelers have to be approved to visit under 12 visa categories. Victor has partnered with Cuba Educational Travel, which organizes travel to Cuba under educational visas, so that its fliers are approved to visit the country and have a set itinerary while there.

The itinerary could include cigar and rum tastings with country experts, riding in 1950s American cars and dinners with prominent cultural figures and historians, the company said. For a group of eight staying four nights, prices start at $40,000.

David Young, senior vice president at Victor, said the company is adding the service because of growing demand for travel to Cuba. “It’s the hottest travel destination,” said Young.

The U.S. has recently moved to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years. Restrictions on trade and travel have been eased, and the U.S. Embassy in Havana reopened in August.

Victor acknowledges that the private flights aren’t cheap, and says it is aimed at a high net worth clientele. Many of the company’s members are involved in entertainment or sports, he said.

Being a member is free, and Victor has more than 40,000. The company takes a fee from each booking and partners with different jet operators. The company, which has raised $26 million in private equity, operates national and international flights with offices in London, New York and Santa Monica, Calif.