American Airlines Cancels Mainland China Flights Until Late March

Filed Under: American

Update: These cancelations have now been extended through late April 2020.

This comes as absolutely no surprise

American cuts flights to mainland China effective immediately

American Airlines has just announced that they’re suspending operations to and from mainland China effective immediately, for travel through March 27, 2020.

American says that they’re contacting customers directly to accommodate their needs, and that they’ll evaluate the schedule for March 28 and beyond, and make adjustments as necessary. Those passengers booked on flights that are canceled are of course entitled to a refund.

American says that this decision has been made as a result of the US Department of State’s increase of the China Travel Advisory to a Level 4 (“Do Not Travel”).

American had already scaled back China flying

American ordinarily operates 28 weekly flights to mainland China, including flights from Dallas and Los Angeles to both Beijing and Shanghai.

American also flies daily from Dallas and Los Angeles to Hong Kong, though those flights aren’t impacted by this new restriction.

A couple of days ago American had already announced that they’d cancel their Los Angeles to mainland China flights between February 9 and March 27, so they’re now moving forward when those flights are being suspended, and are also adding Dallas to the mix.

American’s Beijing & Shanghai flights are canceled

This was inevitable for American

Not only are a growing number of airlines cutting service to China, but this was especially inevitable for American, since their pilots are refusing to operate flights to mainland China. This has caused the union representing American Airlines pilots to file a lawsuit against the company.

What about Hong Kong?

American hasn’t canceled flights to Hong Kong, and frankly, it doesn’t seem to me like they should. Most international airlines that have cut service to China have exclusively cut mainland flights, and not Hong Kong flights.

Yet American’s flight last night from Los Angeles was delayed by over 11 hours because the pilots allegedly refused to operate it.

Similarly, American’s flight from Dallas to Hong Kong today is delayed by over four hours.

I’m not sure if this is due to the ambiguous instructions on the part of the union, or what. In their press release about their demands for the company, the union only references “China,” with no differentiation between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Therefore I’m not sure if the union is intending to not make that distinction, or what…

American is continuing Hong Kong flights (if pilots will fly the planes)

Bottom line

It’s not surprising to see American cancel flights to mainland China. It is interesting that they’ve done so through late March, while Delta has done so through late April.

The big question involves what happens to Hong Kong flights. American says that they’re operating them as usual, though it would appear pilots are taking issue with that…

Given the latest information on the coronavirus situation, my thinking changed, and I ultimately canceled my flight through Beijing. For more on the rapidly-developing situation, check out these posts:

  1. I wonder if the planes will be re-deployed on domestic routes? maybe grace a clt transcon with a Dreamliner? … probably wishful thinking lol

  2. I can understand why HKG pilots don’t want to fly there.
    Nothing from stopping hundreds of passengers flying from mainland China to Hong Kong just to book onto a HKG-LAX/DFW flight and passing the virus along.

  3. Hong Kong and Macau should be cut as well, too much foot traffic and mainland migrant workers.

    The right thing to do here is for China to quarantine anyone (regardless of nationality) leaving the country until this thing is contained and figured out.

    People cannot wear masks for 10+ hours continuously on a plane.

    Just avoid any unnecessary travel to China right now.

  4. @when i travel the world

    I do not comment on the validity of the statement, but if you are for stopping flights from HKG just because of passengers flying from mainland China to Hong Kong to catch that flight, then AA should cancel ICN and Tokyo flights as well

  5. I am booked AA on LAX->HKG on May 1st, so sure hoping this gets slightly extended so I can refund that thing.

  6. Lucky, would love to see an article about how AA is re positing the aircraft from these flights. Folks traveling to Mexico/Caribbean might get some aircraft this winter they weren’t expecting.

  7. Man look at American following Delta again. No innovation. If anything they should have increased the number of flights to China. That way they can be industry leading and not a Delta wannabe.

  8. Are Southwest and JetBlue going to follow suit? I’ve seen practically no coverage about them on this issue.

  9. Charles S, Delta was the last of the US3 to announce any schedule changes to mainland China flying, not the first. UA announced a much reduced schedule early this week, AA followed that, and then DL. You’ve got it wrong.

  10. True… but also:

  11. Hi lucky! I was booked on AA192 from HKG to LAX on february 2nd, and just receive an alert that it is cancelled…

  12. We purchased tickets to travel to Shanghai early in March with Air Canada. So far Air Canada’s response to the virus situation has been very slow compared to other airlines. We tried to contact Air Canada’s Customer Service to discuss our options under the circumstances, only to find out it is a total mess! it’s even more chaotic than before when AC introduced it’s new reservation system. Now they won’t even put you on hold but cut you off after a brief bilingual message.

  13. Understandable action by UA/AA/DL.

    But what about the Chinese airlines? Is it at the point that the US enforces a suspension of their services as well? I would vote “yes”.

  14. I am assuming that the entry ban on any foreigner who has been in China during the last 14 days effectively halts all Chinese mainland carriers from flying to the USA. Yes?

  15. @Manny – dont expect any customer service from Air Canada, they havent picked up the phone in months. Never book anything with them. Complete joke.

  16. I have a flight during this period, and I applied an SWU to it that would otherwise have expired on Jan 31st. Will I get that SWU back now? Can they just switch me over to a flight to Tokyo on the same day, same class?

  17. @Bob – true when you say: @Manny – dont expect any customer service from Air Canada, they havent picked up the phone in months. Never book anything with them. Complete joke.

  18. For the redemption fanatics amongst us readers, golden times have arrived. Plenty of seat availability nowadays.

  19. Meanwhile, for those who think face masks on planes will protect them, Bloomberg reports:

    While doctors have focused on respiratory samples from pneumonia cases to identify coronavirus patients, they might have ignored a less apparent and hidden source of the spread: diarrhea. The novel coronavirus was detected in the loose stool of the first U.S. case — a finding that hasn’t featured among case reports from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. However, that doesn’t surprise scientists who have studied coronaviruses, nor doctors familiar with the bug that caused SARS.

  20. On phone with AA rep… As of Saturday, Feb 1st in Hong Kong, the first available AA flight from HKG to DFW (USA) is Feb. 14th.

  21. I’m in HK and I just canceled my flight for the 4th because my fiancé’s daughter would probably be refused entry (we were on the mainland for CNY). Rebooked for the 14th, fingers crossed that the various governments won’t clamp down more in next week or so.

    I do hope that everyone griping about this virus is sure to get a flu shot every year. Regular flu has already killed 10,000 people in the US this season and it isn’t done yet. It’s a deadly incurable hyper-spreading virus that everyone seems comfortable with because it’s familiar.

  22. So much misinformation & hysteria on this flu. Transmission & death rate low. Thank the Chinese govt for isolating the area. Another US propaganda to push China down. Please look into the facts. WHO president should be ousted (there seems to be a campaign to get him out as the facts do not support the WHO’s global warning.

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