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Haiti Travel Advisory: A Destination on High Alert

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U.S. Department of State Warns Against Travel to Haiti

The dream vacation to Haiti might have to wait. The U.S. State Department issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory for the Caribbean nation. More recently, they have been urging American citizens to avoid the country due to escalating gang violence. This warning comes after a period of unrest, including a recent attempt by armed gangs to seize control of Port-au-Prince’s main international airport.

A Heightened State of Emergency

Haiti has been suffering from instability for some time. The State Department’s Level 4 advisory predates the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. However, a recent spate of high-profile attacks has been getting attention. In response, the Haitian government declared a state of emergency last week.

Limited U.S. Embassy Support and Evacuation Measures

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti acknowledged the growing security situation in a security alert issued on Sunday. They emphasized the limited availability of safe commercial departure options and urged U.S. citizens to take their first opportunity. The Embassy also addressed the constraints on their ability to assist American citizens in Haiti under these circumstances.

To boost security at the Embassy, the U.S. Southern Command confirmed the deployment of military personnel to facilitate airlifts “into and out of the Embassy.” At the same time, it’s recommended U.S. citizens in Haiti enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates and complete crisis intake forms.

Airline and Cruise Line Responses to the Crisis

Travelers with upcoming flights to Haiti are likely to hit a snag. Here’s a breakdown of how major airlines and cruise lines are handling the situation:

Airlines:

  • American Airlines, JetBlue, and Spirit Airlines have all temporarily suspended flights to Haiti. 

They have also implemented travel waivers for affected passengers:

  • American Airlines is allowing fee-free rebooking for flights through March 15th.
  • JetBlue will issue waivers for flight changes and cancellations through March 22nd. Rebooking is required by March 27th.
  • Spirit Airlines is waiving change fees and fare differences through April 15th. Rebooking is recommended by April 30th.

Cruise Lines: The situation is still unclear for cruises that stop in Haiti. So far, neither Royal Caribbean nor its subsidiary, Celebrity Cruises, has canceled any cruises with stops in Labadee, a private destination hours away from Port-au-Prince by car. While Celebrity doesn’t have upcoming Labadee sailings until the fall, Royal Caribbean has several scheduled for next month. 

Royal Caribbean closely monitors the situation, as guest and crew safety is a top priority. They advise guests to be cautious while ashore and will send direct notifications in case of any itinerary changes. For their own safety, guests are not allowed to leave the resort. Royal Caribbean also has private security personnel on Labadee, a restricted area accessible only to employees and guests. 

Evaluating Travel Plans

The State Department’s Level 4 advisory and the recent bouts of violence call for travelers to carefully consider all available information, including airline and cruise line updates, before making any travel decisions.

This travel advisory is a reminder to us all to stay informed about our destination’s security situation before booking a trip. By doing so, we can make informed choices and ensure a peaceful experience.

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The post Haiti Travel Advisory: A Destination on High Alert first appeared on Passing Thru.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rotorhead 30A Productions.

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