US airlines cancelling flights to cities outside China as coronavirus spreads
With the number of cases of novel coronavirus across the world continuing to increase, multiple US airlines have issued statements regarding flight suspensions and cancellations not only to China but to other destinations as well.
“Nothing is more important to us than your safety. As concerns continue about the coronavirus, we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety and security of you, our customers, and of our employees,” Delta Airlines explained in a statement issued on Wednesday.
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“Delta service between the U.S. and Shanghai and Beijing has been suspended until April 30 after travel restrictions announced by U.S. Health and Human Services. On Feb. 26, we announced a reduction of our service between the U.S. and Seoul, South Korea. The move followed guidance from CDC recommending travelers avoid nonessential travel to Seoul.”
The decision comes in the wake of the United States Department of State and the Center for Disease Control, issuing a Level 2 travel advisory for Japan and South Korea on Saturday.
Hawaiian Airlines issued a similar statement on Wednesday alerting passengers of their decision to temporarily suspend the five weekly direct flights between the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Incheon International Airport (ICN) in South Korea from March 2 through April 30 due to an influx of coronavirus cases in South Korea.
“We believe a temporary service suspension is prudent given the escalation of COVID-19 in South Korea and the impact the illness has had on demand for leisure travel from that country,” Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, explained.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and extend our support for public health efforts to contain the virus. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to support impacted guests.”
United Airlines took things one step further and stated that, on top of suspending flights to South Korea, they will also be suspending service to Singapore, as well as Tokyo and Osaka in Japan.
“After evaluating our operations between the U.S. and Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Shanghai, we’ve decided to suspend those flights through April 30,” the airline stated.
“We’re also suspending some service to Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Singapore and Seoul, and we’ll stay in close contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations as we continue to evaluate our schedule.”
To accommodate passengers with pre-existing bookings, Delta Airlines is altering travel schedules, waiving change fees for impacted destinations, and working closely with customers to adjust their travel plans by leveraging their relationships with other airlines when necessary.
Similarly, Hawaiian Airlines is assisting guests by offering re-accommodations on other flights or providing complete refunds.
As well, United is also waiving change fees and allowing refunds for travel to and from select cities.