Delta Air Lines is ramping up its capacity into mainland China. The Atlanta-based airline is adding two additional weekly flights between the United States and China from August 24. The increased services come as travel and demand begins to rebound on the United States – China corridor.
“We are excited to expand our seat capacity to address the growing demand from customers, who are showing a strong need for travel,” said Wong Hong, Delta’s President, Greater China and Singapore, in a statement seen by Simple Flying.
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Delta’s China flights to rise from two to four a week
The additional flights will jet across to mainland China via Seoul’s Incheon Airport before touching down at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport. From August 24, two flights a week will depart from Detroit, and two will depart from Seattle. Delta’s A350-900 aircraft will operate the services.
The flights from Seattle will head out on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, scheduled to push back at 23:30 as DL287. The flights will touch down before dawn at Shanghai Pudong two days later.
Heading back to the United States, the Seattle bound flights will depart Shanghai at 09:15 on Thursday and Saturday mornings as DL288. The flight will touch down in Seattle at 07:15 the same day. Travel time is 14 plus hours heading west while the eastbound flight takes a little under 13 hours.
The flights from Detroit will depart on Monday and Friday evenings, leaving at 19:25 as DL283. This flight will land in Shanghai just after midnight two calendar days later. Travel time is almost 17 hours.
The return flight will leave Shanghai at the eye-watering hour of 04:45 on Wednesdays and Sundays as DL284. After a 15 hour plus flight, the plane will land back in Detroit at 08:20 on the same day.
Delta does advise any potential travelers to double-check exit and entry rules concerning COVID-19 testing and screening in both countries.
Authorities now allowing extra flights between China and the United States
Delta Air Lines added the services just hours after the United States Department of Transport announced US carriers could double their flights to China from four to eight a week. In addition to Delta, United Airlines is running some services into mainland China. United has also announced it is doubling its existing San Francisco to Shanghai to four a week from early September.
Four Chinese carriers currently fly into the United States; Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines. These airlines will also be able to increase their services to eight a week. The Department of Transportation’s decision aligns with new capacity limitations set by the Civil Aviation Authority of China.
In early 2020, more than 300 flights a week operated between the United States and China. That number plummeted when the Department of Transportation warned US airlines off flying into China due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Recent attempts to re-start flights have been stymied by a dispute between the United States and China. More recently, a small number of flights were allowed. Meanwhile, the United States Department of Transportation is keen for flights between the two countries to get back to normal, saying this week’s decision is a step in the right direction.