Wow: Delta Suspends All China Routes For 3 Months

In another update by a major airline, Delta will temporarily suspend all U.S.-China services beginning 6 February through to 30 April. This is, of course, because of ongoing concerns and reduced demand related to the spread of the coronavirus. However, until 5 February, Delta says it will continue to operate flights to ensure customers who wish to exit China have “options to do so”.

Delta A330
Delta Air Lines will suspend all U.S.-China flights beginning 6 February. Photo: Airbus

The latest changes

According to Delta, the last China-bound flight departing the U.S. will leave on Monday, 3 February. The last return flight back to the U.S. departs China on 5 February. For those flying Delta between now and then, the airline has already instituted a change-fee-waiver allowing customers to change their bookings without penalty. The airline says it will continue to monitor the situation closely, remaining open to adjusting its operations. If you are affected by this change, Delta invites you to contact them to “discuss additional options”.

Delta says it currently operates 42 weekly flights between the U.S. and China. Services include daily flights between Beijing and Detroit, as well as Beijing and Seattle. The airline also connects Shanghai to the American cities of Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Delta boarding
Delta normally operates 42 weekly flights between the United States and China. Photo: Delta Air Lines

This move follows United Airline’s announcement that it will be drastically reducing its U.S.-China service. On 30 January the airline announced that it would be cutting its flights by an astounding 66%. In fact, all United services to China out of Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles will be suspended beginning on the week of 9 February. For United, it means 332 additional roundtrip cancellations, reducing its 12 daily departures from the United States to mainland China and Hong Kong to only four daily departures.

As for American Airlines, it said it would immediately suspend its service to mainland China through 27 March. The oneworld-member flies to China from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. The carrier, however, will continue service to Hong Kong.

U.S. Government discourages all unnecessary travel

The State Department has advised against travel to China, and has permitted nonemergency employees at its diplomatic offices there to leave. In fact, there is now very little reason to continue with existing tourist plans to China as many popular attractions have been closed. Sites include The National Museum of China in Beijing, Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China, Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Park.

The fact that United will maintain some services out of San Francisco and LAX allows Chinese-nationals to return to their homes in China. It would also allow government officials and health experts to travel between the two countries as they manage the crisis.

In fact, a top U.S. health official is offering to send a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to China to assist with the outbreak. The World Health Organization also said that China is now allowing global health experts into the country. Maintaining somewhat frequent service will be particularly important for these purposes.

British Airways, Coronavirus, China Cancellations
A Chinese health worker checks the temperature of a woman entering a subway station during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival on January 25, 2020 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images


We are continuing to update our article that summarizes the latest scheduling and operations changes made by airlines in response to the outbreak. You can see it by clicking here.

We asked Delta what they were planning to do with all the capacity that will not be flying between the United States and China. We did not receive a response by the time this article was published.