Delta Air Lines Accelerates China Suspension

Delta Air Lines is accelerating the suspension of flights to China with the last China-bound flight departing on February 1st. This comes as the United States government upgrades travel warnings due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, Delta is not planning to resume flights to China until May.

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Delta Air Lines is suspending flights to China as of early February. Photo: Getty Images

Delta to suspend flights to China this weekend

According to Delta, the last China-bound flight on Delta Air Lines departed the United States on February 1st. Then, the aircraft will fly back to the US from China on February 2nd  carrying passengers. This will allow the aircraft to return to its home base stateside.

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Delta’s aircraft will return to the US, carrying passengers on February 2nd. Photo: Airbus

Flights will not resume until after April 30th. This will make Delta one of the last airlines to resume flights to China amid the global concern about the coronavirus. Although, it is unclear exactly when the situation in China will improve. Delaying this introduction, however, will give Delta time to restore operations in China and build up demand so flights do not depart empty.

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Flights will not resume until after April 30th. Photo: Airbus

Passengers who are booked on flights to China have the following options:

  1. Reaccommodation on flights after April 30th
  2. Reaccommodation on other airlines
  3. Request a refund for the flight ticket
  4. Or, contact Delta for additional options

Delta’s routes to China

The world’s second-largest economy, China is an important market in the aviation world. Delta has 42 weekly flights to China which includes daily service from Beijing to Seattle and Detroit. From Shanghai, Delta flies to Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Shanghai is a hub for China Eastern Airlines which is a close partner for Delta Airlines. Unfortunately, China Eastern was one of the hardest-hit mainland Chinese airlines.

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Delta has 42 weekly flights to China from key hubs. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Due to intense transpacific competition, Delta has some of its best products on the longest flights to China. This includes the new Delta One Suite and Delta Premium Select on refurbished Boeing 777s, Airbus A350-900s, and the new Airbus A330-900neos.

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Delta Air Lines has put some of its best products on flights to China. Photo: Delta Air Lines

What will Delta do with these extra aircraft?

It is unclear exactly what Delta will do with some of these extra aircraft. Perhaps, Delta will redeploy some of these aircraft on key transatlantic routes replacing older Boeing 767s on some routes. Or else, Delta could use these aircraft on several premium domestic routes.

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Hopefully, Delta Air Lines will redeploy some of these aircraft on key transatlantic or domestic routes. Photo: Delta Air Lines


As the coronavirus outbreak continues, Delta is accelerating the suspension of flights to China. The United States Department of State has issued a travel advisory warning citizens to suspend travel to China due to the outbreak. In addition to the institution of enhanced screening measures, these two developments are key factors leading Delta to accelerate the suspension of routes to China.

Have you been affected by Delta’s flight suspensions to China? Let us know in the comments!