United Airlines Cancels All Hong Kong Flights

Filed Under: United

With United’s latest announcement, the “big three” US airlines have now suspended all flights not just to mainland China, but also to Hong Kong.

United Airlines already suspended mainland China flights

On January 31, 2020, United Airlines announced that they’re suspending all flights to mainland China, including to Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai.

These cuts are planned for February 6 through March 28, 2020, though obviously have the potential to be extended, depending on how the situation evolves.

United Airlines suspends all Hong Kong flights

Historically United Airlines has been the biggest US airline in Hong Kong. Back in the day the airline flew to Hong Kong from Chicago, Newark, and San Francisco, and last fall the airline was even adding a second daily San Francisco to Hong Kong flight.

However, in light of the Hong Kong protests, the airline already reduced service a while back:

Following the coronavirus outbreak, the airline suspended Newark to Hong Kong flights and one of the daily San Francisco to Hong Kong flights, and now the airline is taking it a step further.

United Airlines will be suspending all flights to Hong Kong between February 8 and 20, 2020. In other words, this means they’re pulling their one remaining San Francisco to Hong Kong flight. The last flight to Hong Kong will be UA877 on February 5, and the last flight from Hong Kong will be UA862 on February 7.

United says that this decision is being made due to the continued drop in demand.

United Airlines has suspended all flights to Hong Kong

American already suspended Hong Kong flights

American, Delta, and United had all already suspended mainland China flights. Delta doesn’t fly to Hong Kong, while American announced yesterday that they’ll cut all flights to Hong Kong through February 20, 2020.

American flew to Hong Kong from both Dallas and Los Angeles, using 777-300ERs.

American Airlines has also suspended all Hong Kong flights

Bottom line

I don’t think anyone is surprised to see United Airlines completely pull out of Hong Kong for the time being. The challenge for airlines here will be deciding what approach to take going forward.

Obviously they’re only canceling flights for fairly limited periods, but I imagine it’s highly likely that these cancelations will be extended.

This all comes at the same time that Cathay Pacific is slashing 30% of their flights in the short term, given the huge drop in demand.

Are you surprise to see United completely pull out of Hong Kong?

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. That’s too bad. Hopefully the suspensions will not last a long time.
    I wonder what happens to FAs based in HK during this time?

  2. “On January 31, 2020, United Airlines announced that they’re suspending all flights to mainland China, including to Beijing, Chengdu, and San Francisco.”

    Should be Shanghai instead of San Francisco I presume?

    Anyway, it’s interesting to think about what airlines will do with the planes that would normally operate China/Hong Kong flights considering that some airlines use their best products on these routes.

  3. “On January 31, 2020, United Airlines announced that they’re suspending all flights to mainland China, including to Beijing, Chengdu, and San Francisco.”

    In what province is this San Francisco?

  4. @ ah — I know many airlines are doing heavy maintenance on planes earlier than expected because of this. However, given that it’s still winter, I can’t imagine there are many places these planes can profitably be deployed last minute.

  5. Look like United has replaced flights to Tel Aviv from Newark with the 777-300ER, great capacity boost, on one of their most lucrative routes in the system!

  6. I am guessing one of the factors in these cancellations is labor relations. They would hate to have a union issue over a single remaining flight.

  7. Interestingly Singapore has a higher infection rate than Hong Kong, yet no airline has stopped flying there.

  8. HKG just closed the land borders with the mainland as well.
    Cathay workers have been asked to take three weeks off with no pay.

  9. Correction: all crossers from the mainland (regardless of nationality) will be screened and then asked to do a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine if asymptomatic. They are also closing the immigration offices at Kai Tak and Ocean Terminal.
    As for how they will enforced the quarantine, that remains to be seen…

  10. I am wondering if United is allowing passengers to reroute from Singapore on their SIN-SFO flight. I have a March 3rd flight on HKG-SFO confirmed and United will not allow me to re-route as my flight departs after Feb 20th. They only offered to refund the return portion. Since it is a discount economy ticket, that means no refund at all.

    Has anyone with a current HKG-SFO ticket due to fly BEFORE Feb 20th been able to re-route without fare being re-priced?

  11. @lucky I’m booked to fly SQ2 HKG-SFO on Feb 25th… any thoughts on whether Singapore Airlines will look to cut this flight?

  12. No comments from @Sean lately.. I feel like he’d be a great resource to tell us what’s happening to all of these wide-bodies (not just on UA, but also DL, AA) that are either grounded or being reutilized on other routes.

    Any ideas on this Ben?

  13. This is very refreshing. While I do want to go to Japan and Korea as a tourist in the next few years, I find it refreshing the western world can shut off travel to and from China with no ill effects. We don’t need China for anything and it is unfortunate we allowed ourselves to be sold to China and Mexicans (whether they are in the U.S. or south of the border). I know this won’t happen but I wish people realize how important it is to have other trading partners and to pay a little more to buy quality products from Australia, Europe, Argentina and Brazil. If they don’t exist we should start making them.

  14. @John Waters – everyone will feel the effects of Chinas isolation in a few months time . Many factories are shut so all the goods made in those factories in China will dry up. Already , some cars built in Germany cannot be completed due to a shortage of a certain part from China.
    So stores in UK, USA, Europe and elsewhere will see a shortage of certain products when stocks run out .

  15. Hi Ben,

    What do you think UA will cut Newark Hong Kong permanently? Because everybody (say Boston, Washington DC) able to transit Tokyo or San Francisco, Newark not a must, this route benefit New Yorkers only

    Another route, Singapore Airline, SFO HKG, why Singapore Airline doesn’t flight SFO SIN directly?

    Nowadays, thanks pro-China Chinese media, Hongkongers become more and more dislike USA (I can say even hate USA), they prefer visit or study at Australia, Canada or United Kingdom, but not USA! As Hongkongers enjoy visa free, Commonwealth countries and no gun when they visit or study at Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, so the demand to flight USA is dropping

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