Couple stranded in Cuba after flight home is cancelled, rescheduled for a month later

National

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Matt Gilbert and his girlfriend Donna Sellinger have enjoyed the month they’ve spent in Cuba. They were also going to enjoy returning home to the United States but that was until JetBlue canceled their flight for March 19 and rescheduled them for April 16.

Gilbert says the couple didn’t plan for an extra month in a foreign country.

“Eventually we’ll run out of money and our visas will expire,” Gilbert via Skype said. He’s also concerned about staying in Cuba once their visas are expired.

“When we spoke with immigration officials a week ago, they painted our life in Cuba in fairly cataclysmic terms. Anybody that has anything to do with you could be arrested. Anybody that gives you housing could be fined,” Gilbert added.

Gilbert splits his time between St. Petersburg, where his mother lives, and Philadelphia. Sellinger lives full-time in Philadelphia. The couple was supposed to fly into Ft. Lauderdale on the 19th. It was the first leg on their trip home.

Gilbert’s mother, who’s name is also Donna, has been trying to book another flight for the couple, but so far, no dice.

“Trying to get him into the Bahamas, American has no, they’re full,” said Donna Gilbert. “Copa to get him into Mexico, that’s, you can’t book anything. “

Donna Gilbert also reached out to local politicians, and finally 8 on Your Side.

“I was thinking, what else can I do,” said Donna. “I mean, Rubio and Crist, so I said, what about Channel 8, you know?”

Jet Blue issued the following statement Wednesday evening:

“As you may be aware, nearly all airlines have been required by the Cuban government to temporarily reduce flights to and from Havana to once per week, and JetBlue is complying with this directive. Due to these restrictions, through March and April, JetBlue will operate a single flight per week, originating from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

With that, we are looking into ways we may be able to assist the customers mentioned reach their destination. We will provide an update as soon as possible.”

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