United, Delta and American Airlines announced Friday they have decided to temporarily suspend all U.S. flights to China.
United and Delta's suspensions begin next week -- with United going until March 28 and Delta's lasting through April. American Airlines flights will be halted as of today. The suspensions are due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus that has infected nearly 10,000 people and killed more than 200 across the globe.
Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so, the company said.
The last China-bound Delta flight departing the U.S. will leave on Monday, Feb. 3 with the last return flight back to the U.S. departing China on Feb. 5. The airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve.
Customers whose travel plans are affected can go to the My Trips section of delta.com to help them understand their options, including:
- Reaccommodation to flights after April 30
- Requesting a refund
- Contacting Delta to discuss additional options.
Changes to the schedule will be effective on delta.com beginning Feb. 1.
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For customers with bookings on flights through Feb. 5, Delta will continue to offer a change fee waiver for customers who wish to adjust their travel plans for U.S.-China flights.
Delta currently operates 42 weekly flights between the U.S. and China, including daily service connecting Beijing and Detroit and Seattle, and Shanghai and Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Later in the day, passengers and flight crew members wearing surgical masks were seen arriving at Newark Airport from Shanghai and Beijing — aboard what could be among some of the final flights to the U.S. from those areas until the springtime.
One of the passengers told NBC New York his fiancee is from the area where the virus began, Wuhan, and they got out of the region just in time. Another passenger was a student at NYU, who was planning on spending the semester studying abroad — but classes kept getting pushed back due to the outbreak.
All the travelers said they have their temperatures taken before boarding the plane out of China.
On Friday, the Center for Disease Control announced a seventh confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S. was found in Northern California, where a man had returned on January 24th from the Wuhan province.