Airlines resume flights between US and China admits Covid-19 outbreak

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Delta Airlines flight to China

After the U.S. Transportation Department surprisingly lowered its restrictions on flights between China and the U.S. last month two major airlines took the opportunity to cash on the potential monetary gain. Undoubtedly, one question stands out. Is it really safe to fly to and from China?

One of the first airlines to suspend flights to China was Delta Airlines in the beginning of February. It was in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also the first airline to announce that resumes flights between Seattle and Shanghai as of June 25.

The other U.S. aviation giant United Airlines soon followed suit and said it resumes its flights between San Francisco International Airport and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport twice a week via Seoul’s Incheon International Airport beginning July 8.

“United is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of every customer’s journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness through its United CleanPlus program,” reads a statement by the airline. We know, however, the outbreak is still rampant in China. Do Delta and United have a way to ensure that passengers boarding their flight in China do not pose a health risk?

The Outbreak in China

News reports of ongoing and intensifying corona-virus outbreak in China amount. Just days ago The reported  that the epidemic of the CCP virus (Covid-19) continues to spread in China regardless of official reports.

It is also evident that the world cannot believe a word the Chinese communist regime says. China lied before about the outbreak. Why the U.S. Transportation Department (USTD) not take into account the current situation in China and continue to ban flights to and from China?

Moreover, can we assume that USTD was fooled by official reports from China that the pandemic is under control and it is safe to fly? I think there is no reason to believe anything that China says. And especially how it deals with the virus and how safe it is to travel.

What the airlines say?

According to United Airlines press statement “United was the largest U.S. carrier serving China and operated five daily flights between Shanghai and its hubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York/Newark and has served Shanghai for more than 30 years.”

In a statement published on Delta’s website the Delta’s President – Greater China and Singapore, Wong Hong, said “We are excited to resume our services between the U.S. and China, as economic and social activities start to recover. [ .. ] We are implementing unprecedented health and safety measures and practices, so customers are assured of ease and safety at all points of their journey.”

There is no doubt that Delta and United take measures to protect the health and the safety of their travelers. However, I am not sure what “economic and social activities” recovery the Delta President Wong Hong is referring to?

I reached out to Delta and United press offices for comment. I asked the airlines, for example, if there is any health screening in place of passengers before boarding in China? The screening would aim to show people having the virus or exhibiting health symptoms?

Both Delta and United referred me to publicly available information on what measures the airlines take to ensure the health of their passengers. In the article Delta to resume flights between U.S. and China June 25 there is no mentioning of any passenger screening before boarding except that “Customers are encouraged to check outbound/entry policies regarding COVID-19 testing and screening in China and the U.S.”

And while Delta ensures that they will continue to block the middle seats to help passengers keep social distancing while on-board, United tells us that “For regularly scheduled flights that are expected to be fairly full, (they are) letting you change your flight with no change fee or receive a travel credit for your trip. We’ll do our best to contact you about 24 hours before your departure time so you can decide before you arrive at the airport. Please note the number of travelers on each flight may change.”

Again, there is no mentioning of how the airline makes sure people that board in China are not infected or ill.

At this stage I see now clear indications that Delta and United have any specific measure in place to make sure passengers that board in China are not carrying the virus. As if these airlines do not care for as long as they get passengers to fly with them. And if passnegers happened to have health issues upon arrival the airlines have nothing to do with it.

It is worth to mention that to fly form the U.S. to China will cost you a fortune.

Uited Airlines flights to China
United Airlines operates flight from San Francisco International Airport to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (China) twice a week via Seoul’s Incheon International Airport beginning July 8. The flight ticket price is close to $4730 if booked on United Airlines website as of July 5, 2020.
Delta Airlines price to fly to China
Delta Airlines is the first to resume flights from Seatlle International Airport (US) to Shanghai’s Airport in China. The ticket price is the whooping $8900 if booked on Delta Airlines website as of July 5, 2020.


Keeping in perspective the current Covid-19 outbreak in many provinces in China, and knowing that the Chinese communist regime is not eager to disclose the full and true picture of the pandemic to the world any flight to China at this time may be a way to a health risk and too premature to operate.

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Ian Powers is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. Ian has over 20 years of aviation travel experience.

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