Wow: United Airlines Hugely Scales Back Asia Flights

Filed Under: United

We’ve seen airlines cancel many flights to mainland China, Hong Kong, and now even South Korea.

However, we haven’t seen that many airlines reduce service to other parts of Asia. Well, United Airlines has just scaled back their Asia flying for this spring in a significant way.

United had already canceled mainland China & Hong Kong flights

United Airlines had already suspended all of their flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, as of a couple of weeks ago. These routes are all canceled through April 24, 2020.

However, given the overall reduction in demand, United is now reducing their Asia flying even further, through a combination of route cancelations, service reductions, and plane downgrades.

Three routes to Tokyo Narita being suspended

United Airlines is suspending three of their routes to Tokyo Narita this spring:

  • Houston to Tokyo Narita is being suspended March 8 through April 27, 2020
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita is being suspended March 8 through April 27, 2020
  • Chicago to Tokyo Narita is being suspended March 8 through March 27, 2020 (then as of March 28 the route switches to Tokyo Haneda)

On top of that, United is reducing frequencies on one route:

  • Newark to Tokyo Narita is being reduced from daily to 5x weekly March 28 through April 24, 2020

Lastly, United is downgrading one route to Tokyo Narita:

  • Honolulu to Tokyo Narita will be downgraded from a 777-200 to a 787-8 April 1 through April 30, 2020

All of United Airlines’ Haneda services remain unaffected by these changes. This includes the new Haneda services starting on March 28, from Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, and Washington.

United Airlines is greatly reducing Tokyo Narita flying

Seoul flights being reduced

United Airlines ordinarily flies once daily from San Francisco to Seoul, and in April the route was supposed to have 12x weekly frequencies. Now United will operate 3x weekly flights in the market from March 8 through April 24, 2020.

United is cutting back frequencies to Seoul Incheon

Singapore flights being reduced

United Airlines flies twice daily between San Francisco and Singapore. From March 8 through April 24, 2020, United Airlines will be reducing the route to once daily.

United is halving service to Singapore

Osaka flights being reduced

United Airlines will reduce operations between San Francisco and Osaka. From March 28 through April 24, 2020, United will operate 5x weekly flights rather than daily flights.

Taipei flights being downgraded

While United Airlines will maintain their frequencies to Taipei, from March 1 through April 30, 2020, United will downgrade flights on this route from a 777-300ER to a 787-9.

Bottom line

It’s not surprising to see United significantly scale back flying to Asia as a result of reduced demand. Even for destinations not directly impacted by coronavirus all that much, demand has still fallen off significantly.

My goodness, United is going to have a lot of spare wide body planes this spring. United Airlines is by far the strongest US airline in Asia, so they’ll likely also be hardest hit by this situation among the “big three” US carriers.

I suspect United won’t be alone in greatly cutting back flights to Japan, Singapore, etc.

What do you make of United Airlines’ Asia service reductions?

  1. Still just the tip of the iceberg. A few more weeks and Americans will be avoiding all flights, even domestic ones. Have you seen the empty pictures of Navigli, the normally bustling area of Milan? Fear is not a rational beast.

  2. @Bobo. I’m someone who has curtailed my travel in general. I’m not nervous about getting the virus – the chances of getting it seem low and the symptoms mild in many people. But, I am concerned about impacts like above where flights get cancelled, travel bans, sights closed, etc. I don’t want to make a bunch of non-refundable reservations and then not be able to go for some reason.

  3. People are pathetic … you will not travel due to a 1 in a million or less chance of getting a virus yet those same people will drink and drive or get on the road at all. This is the biggest over-reaction to a virus in history and nothing anyone is doing will stop it.

  4. Not afraid of getting the virus, but still have to consider curtailing int’l travel. Just got the first (of what I imagine will be many) notices from a large client stating that for the near future we will not be allowed in their main US based office if we’ve been outside North America in the previous 14-days. Not sure how they plan to check/enforce that, but also not worth losing the business. Beyond that, the risk of delay, cancellation or some version of quarantine/check upon return is enough to make me re-think travel this spring.

  5. The change To the Singapore flights affects me. If the change in travel times is more than a few hours, do I have any recourse or do I just have to accept?

  6. Can you dedicate a continuous topic on this monster coronavirus that is causing havoc in the travel industry and everywhere else?

    I have a Europe tour booked for all of June and I am very nervous. Not so much of the virus or the possibility of getting quarantined in Europe for 14 days if someone is found to have the virus on the plane, hotel, tour bus and getting quarantine in the US again for another 14 days, but it is more the fear that is going around.

    Oh…I almost forgot, flight cancellation may leave you stranded over seas?

  7. Again. All this for a virus that is milder than the flu. The flu is the biggest killer and everyone is still out traveling in the winter. Texting and driving kills more people everyday than corona virus and yet the people who won’t go to Asia or Europe are in their cars texting away. We just lack common sense. You have to love your life free of fear. Be vigilant and be aware but not scared. The media is the biggest Killer. I’ve said more people will die from the reaction band fear from the virus then the virus itself. Remember how many people die when the economy goes bad.

  8. @Ryan, LoL, I agree, but I think it is the psychological impact driving this craze and things that are out of our control, like airlines cancelling flights all together.

  9. @Ryan
    No. Covid is 20x more virulent than seasonal flu, at least in respect of mortality for certain age groups/those with pre-existing conditions.
    It had the potential to overwhelm even the best healthcare systems ( and even those who suffer only modest symptoms, could infect someone more vulnerable).
    No one knows what will happen: while I agree that being fearful serves no purpose, equally there is every reason to be extremely vigilant.
    I have no desire to be stuck in quarantine, self-imposed or otherwise. Consequently I wouldn’t go to Korea, have cancelled Milan, and am considering dropping Japan.

  10. Sitting here with my eye on my EVA air LAX>TPE>MNL flight for mid April, and worse maybe my return through ICN on Korean Air.

  11. Quarantining infected individuals has been very effective in controlling the disease. Quarantining communities and people that might have been infected has not been successful (see the Princess cruise ship).
    WHO and CDC mouths talking about a given that the disease will spread is irresponsible and creating unnecessary fear.

    China mismanaged the early phases of this disease which is why it got out of hand. The rest of the world and esp. the US is managing the disease well in an interconnected world.

    There simply is no reason for irrational, widespread fear and those that are peddling it will be seen as having lost credibility.

    As Tiffany eloquently said, just washing your hands and practicing good personal hygiene will do wonders.

    United had an extensive Pacific network that had a lot of duplication (operating dual Narita and Haneda flights after the Haneda cutover), double daily on many routes. There simply is a lot of opportunity to reduce capacity and still maintain a pretty viable network. The real issue for UA is reallocating all of those planes and employees.

  12. I’m not afraid of the virus. I am afraid of showing up at a random customs hall and finding an 8-hour queue in front of me. It’s just easier not to travel for a while.

  13. Thinking US will be doing better than China, South Korea, or any other country in the virus front will get you nowhere. Be prepared people.

  14. Yep, worried about my SEA->ICN->KIX in 2 months bought with United miles on Asiana. I was hoping they’d switch me to the SEA->SFO->KIX flight, but now there are fewer of those and some passengers from the canceled Narita flights might take up some of the remaining seats.

    My backup plan for the backup plan is, gasp!, buying a coach seat with actual cash on Delta. SEA->KIX and save about 5 hours of travel time. $650 vs. 180,000 miles for J one way.
    (Hmmmm, why wasn’t that plan A?)

    This is all assuming Japan doesn’t go into total lockdown for an abundance of caution before the Olympics.

  15. @RYAN;
    Conflating overcautious (in your opinion) precautions with drunk or distracted driving is nonsensical.There seems to be enough evidence to warrant extreme caution. This strain seems to be significantly deadlier than the typical flu. The political and edicts that are happening can wreak havoc with any travel. I was travelling in Germany when the airports were crippled by the volcanic ash, it was a long and tense trip down to Spain to possibly fly home.

  16. Many of these flights would have low load factors during normal time sand these are not normal times. Business travel demand has not only dropped but business travel is actively discouraged at many multinationals. Combine these facts with the fact that there is now a valid excuse to cancel flights and BINGO.
    I can’t imagine any airline will face loss of a route because they did not operate it.

  17. @RYAN
    I have a simple question. You suggest remaining vigilant. Where does vigilance start to help. I deplaned recently at JFK terminal 1. There was a huge mass of humanity, lined up shoulder to shoulder. You could arrive from a relatively safe area (LOL) and get a full force sneeze from a sick person that somehow transited from a risky area. Does being vigilant include wearing facemasks in an airport?
    BTW, In no way are my comments to be construed as criticism of anybody, I do disagree with some comments.

  18. @Ryan – not sure where you’re based or what you’re up to, but are you actually considering the real implications of people travelling at the moment? As someone who is currently travelling in Southern Japan, let me explain from my perspective.

    I’ve had four airlines suspend routes/massively reduce flights and two governments introduction immigration restrictions. This has meant, the countries I was planning on going too, I couldn’t actually go to. No, this was not meant to be a Southern Japan trip.

    I’ve then spent time, dealing with airlines and hotels trying to get refunds, before having to book new hotels and flights (not that airlines refund money quickly). A positive is that hotels are very cheap because there is little demand, but last minute one way flights still ain’t (luckily I have some frequent flyer points). Then even if you book that flight, you’ve just got to consider whether that flight will actually happen. There isn’t the large number of options there usually is if the airline pulls the pin two days beforehand.

    I enjoy reading airlines commercial policies, not everyone does.

    Then once you get somewhere, you might discover what you came for ain’t even open. I’m sure a few people proceeded to go on a dream trip to Tokyo Disneyland… Nup, its closed. Or even the basic stuff, like that roof top bar you normally go too… Closed.

    Head to Hong Kong. Enjoy spending your day in a mask. Yeah, they may not be effective, but if you’re literally the only person on the MTR train carriage without one on… You want to be that person? Btw – wearing a mask all day, not enjoyable.

    Turn up at your hotel, get your temperature checked. What happens if you are just unwell? You don’t have corona, just a common cold with raised temperature…that’ll be fun discussion. And if you’re really unlucky and get corona, is your insurance actually going to cover the hospitalisation? Being sick overseas is never fun and I can’t imagine getting this virus will rank highly on the enjoyable scale.

    You have your trip, you didn’t get sick, but you get home, and the government decides that due to the country you’ve been in you need to self quarantine for 2 weeks. More fun!

    I have very little worries of getting corona and if I did, I’m not in a high risk category that it would be fatal. But I definitely do have concerns about going somewhere and then having difficulties getting out.

    Despite this I don’t regret going away. I’m pretty flexible, by myself and can go with the flow. But there has definitely been a fair few frustrations. So I can completely respect if someone didn’t want to go away right now. It is certainly not for everybody and is probably the wise decision. I just hope that once it’s done, people head back quickly… Some small businesses will desperately need it.

  19. @Donato:

    I essentially agree with Ryan. There are more people killed in the U.S. from hornet, wasp and bee stings in a year than have died – or who are likely to die by December 31 of this year – from Covid. The mortality rate from SARS was 9%. So far, Covid appears to be in the 3-4% range.

    Common sense and keeping up on the latest information should replace fear. The problem is, our lazy and incompetent news media is more interested in ginning up fear – nevermind the psychological and economic cost – to keep ratings up than in telling people facts.

    If you choose to give in to hysteria (on whatever level), that’s entirely your choice, but I’ll stick to the facts and common sense. And, if you’re that concerned about masses of sneezing people, wear a mask and carry hand sanitizer/wipes. It’ll remove virtually any risk of catching this and a multitude of other diseases.

  20. My employer issued travel restrictions across the board. So this is the tip of the iceberg if the travel restrictions are widespread. I would expect to see more reductions in flights across the board going forward.

  21. No one probably read my comment but I will post it anyway.

    The problem of COVID-19 is not whether *you* will survive it or not (most people here probably survive it fine), it’s because of long incubation time, during which no symptoms are displayed but it is already contagious. If you contracted the virus, chances are you will infect other, immune-compromised people which may lead to fatality waaaay before you know you have the virus.

    This is in contrast to influenza, where the incubation is only 1-4 days. You likely won’t be infecting as many people before you know you have influenza.

  22. @ Ricport — Chiming in here because I thought the bee sting stat was interesting. A quick check of the CDC says that the annual average death from hornet/bee/wasp family stings is…62 per year. So not sure that’s a comparable event, or one that provides useful context. Bee stings, to my knowledge, are not contagious.

    As we were discussing yesterday, the difference with COVID-19 is the infection rate, not the mortality rate. There are estimates that between 40% and 70% of the world population will be infected in 2020. Not everyone who is infected will get sick, and not everyone who gets sick will require hospitalization — potentially as few as 10%-15%. But even that number requires far more healthcare infrastructure than most cities and towns in the US are prepared for.

    That’s not hysteria, just math, and preparing for the practical and economic realities of a potential outbreak isn’t unreasonable. Worst case, you’re prepared for other things too.

    But yes, wash your hands!

  23. “the countries I was planning on going too, I couldn’t actually go to. No, this was not meant to be a Southern Japan trip.”

    That’s really my concern. I planned to travel for 3 months in SE Asia starting in Malaysia. Itinerary, besides a long stopover in Tokyo, TBD. Going as planned, at the end of March, could get me stuck just about anywhere. I haven’t given up hope and will decide at the last minute what to do but logic and the post above tells me I should probably cancel my trip 🙁

  24. I know this might sound horrible but a situation like this, though I never wanted people to get sick or die, I just mean the financial crisis were about to go through is the type of thing that will inevitably decrease international travel world wide and create more award seats like after 01 and 08. Am I right?

  25. How will United re-accommodate if you purchased a PE ticket on the 777, but end up flying on a non PE 787?

  26. @tiffany
    Thanks for your reply – but no one has bothered to state what percentage of people are exposed to common cold or flu viruses – which are related to covid-19.

    Testing positive for covid 19 is important for those that might have been exposed and the CDC itself did not take seriously even concerns from doctors in CA which contacted the first non-travel related US case. It is because quarantine does work that testing has to be a close second to hand washing.

    But let’s also be clear that we have no idea what the mortality rate is in communities with good health care systems and rapid diagnosis. The reason why China’s death toll is so high is because so many people were not tested, the disease ran rampant for weeks, and then the medical system was overwhelmed when they all came down sick. That doesn’t describe a single other country in the world that has seen the disease now. The disease will take lives but it doesn’t come close to the number of people that die from other communicable diseases.

    The ebola virus has a far higher mortality rate and yet just a single American died in the 2014 outbreak. None have died from covid-19 in the US. The vast majority of deaths in the world still have occurred in China.

    I don’t want to belabor the science and medical aspects of the disease other than to note that travel is cratering because of hysteria about the potential spread of a disease based on what happened in China – which will not be replicated anywhere else.

    Airlines will fail. the number of free award seats will be slashed. Employees will lose jobs.

    There is a place for being properly prepared and for aggressively controlling the spread of disease when it is detected.

    There will be much greater loss of life due to loss of jobs and economic impacts than from the disease outside of the primary outbreak areas of China. No one will be around to measure that impact.

    Let’s be clear that that there will be

  27. A lot of tourist attractions being closed and flights cancelled are real considerations to take, even if you don’t think the mortality risk is that bad.

    For example all the Asia Disney parks are closed, and I don’t know when Paris follows suit.

  28. @Tim Dunn

    Comparing death to Ebola? Do you even know how much precautions were put in place for Ebola. That same level would easily prevent Covid-19.
    Not replicated outside China? What about Italy, South Korea, Iran?

    While you are aware of the impact, your ignorant will result in you not taking precautions and potentially be part of community spread.

    At least let’s not drop the ball and downplay the situation like in Wuhan in the very early days. US has a few month lead time to prepare, people should be taking this more seriously when we still have a fighting chance.

  29. @Justin – unless you are GS, don’t expect the bump up to J.

    I had to deal with it – was able to negotiate a refund down to a W fare (back in economy) so could still use a (legacy) GPU to try to upgrade to biz.

    If you can find another PP route, they will probably let you switch to it.

  30. Have CNN, The NYT, MSNBC, ABC, NBC or CBS blamed the President yet? Surely not, not even their hatred of the President could cause them to blame him. Surely not. What about those mad left-wing Governors in CA and NY, have they? Surely not.

  31. @Eskimo
    I compared the death rate of Ebola because it is absolutely relevant how well the US has handled global infectious diseases – and the track record for SARS, Mers, and all of them over the past 20 years has been very strong.

    I never said we shouldn’t be prepared and that hospitals and health care workers should be prepared for yet another infectious disease.

    But as with every other major global infectious disease, there is minimal risk to the vast majority of Americans.

    And the result of statements by public health people about the spread of the disease without putting those comments in context or explaining terms like “pandemic” (which have very specific meanings which the vast majority of non-science/medicine Americans do not understand) is resulting in enormously negative impact to the US economy and the travel industry.

    As a travel industry blog, this site should be a place where reason and logic come in balance with legitimate data-driven risk analysis.

    There is an enormous amount of hysteria and a severe lack of data and risk analysis as it relates to the US as a whole in statements and discussions about covid-19.

    There will be jobs unnecessarily lost. Airlines will go out of business. No one should underestimate what is at stake either from a health or economic perspective.

    But there needs to be a lot more analysis and a lot less rhetoric for individuals to make informed decisions.

    We should be prepared – about every risk including wearing seatbelts, washing hands, and making sure our children are protected. And then carry on with our lives and what it is we each do best and love doing.

    United sadly had to make cuts to align with a falloff in demand that very likely is not driven just by the actual quarantines and sick people.

  32. Geez Eskimo, would be nice if you’d proof-read your posts before you press Enter ! Or maybe you skipped basic grammar during English lessons at school?

  33. @Tim Dunn
    “There is an enormous amount of hysteria and a severe lack of data and risk analysis as it relates to the US as a whole in statements and discussions about covid-19.

    There will be jobs unnecessarily lost. Airlines will go out of business. No one should underestimate what is at stake either from a health or economic perspective.”

    We have the data. This virus has between a 1% to 3% fatality rate for those that are 50+ and puts about 20% of the people in the hospital. Look at the flight crew of international long haul flights, mostly older more seasoned employees.

    They are near retirement and are at prime risk for hospitalization or death.

  34. @travelinwilly

    Article on how many companies are ending all travel including domestic

    Expect all premium heavy routes including nyc-la to see cuts

  35. As someone who has been in East Asia the entire time the outbreak has been happening, I can tell you one thing: Life does, will and must go on. I’m not an M.D., so I won’t attempt to assess the seriousness of COVID-19, relative to flu or otherwise (though I do believe the media plus certain governments and private sector elements are overreacting). At any rate, the most important medicine we all need to take is a damn chill pill.

  36. The suggestion that the USA would not suffer because it has a superior healthcare system is simply risible. Beyond ludicrous. The system works for those with insurance, but a pandemic disproportionately affecting the elderly would see the system overwhelmed very quickly.
    Perhaps public policy/planning has improved over the past few decades. One would hope so: the early official response to the AIDS crisis in the ‘80s was woefully inadequate, resulting in hundreds of thousands of premature and unnecessary deaths. It was several years into that crisis before the President could even bring himself to mention the disease publicly. Even a third world country like Thailand had an infinitely superior response.

  37. We have been in Thailand since 28th Jan and kept away from busy places. Cases here are low and there are still visitors from Europe ,USA and Canada but hotel occupancy is low at 30% . Mainland Chinese are restricted , and now Iranians and Italians are likely to be also ( accordingly to local sources ). We just look at statistics and situation on a day by day basis, wash hands and keep away from crowds .When our visa runs out on 27th March ,we may go to Vietnam for a few weeks . Vietnam has had 16 cases reported and 16 recovered . One of the lowest in the region, but you never know how true some of these numbers are . We think that we are more likely to catch something from an Italian or Iranian visiting Thailand , than from a local Thai or Vietnamese. No hysteria on our part , just common sense and lots or evaluation from various sources ( we ignore media hype like CNN, Sky news etc ).

    I am 73 and my wife is 64 and frankly we have as much risk in Europe of catching ordinary pneumonia so we stay in a warm climate in winter .
    Interestingly , one Thai friend suggested that because food in countries like Thailand , Malaysia , Indonesia ,India etc has lots of spices , this is a reason for the virus not spreading in these countries. Interesting theory , anyone have an opinion ?

  38. @Paolo
    The US will fare better because it has aggressively contained those that have been exposed to the virus.
    And the US does have the best healthcare in the world; it is not the most economical but it is medically the best. And there are very good public hospitals throughout the US. The best medical schools do large portions of their training in public hospitals.

    Western Europe except for Italy has also handled this disease very well.

    There are more people from around the world that seek treatment in the US than any other country.

    Once, again, there are less than 100 people that have died from this disease outside of China. That includes Italy, Iran and S. Korea.

    Is this a potentially deadly disease that requires high quality health care for those that need help? absolutely. I have never argued otherwise.

    But it is not running rampant throughout any country outside of China – and it isn’t impacting all of that country.

    Every other country except for China has recognized the danger of this virus and worked aggressively to contain it and treat those that have the disease.

    As with every disease, it will be deadly for some people.

    The US has an outstanding track record against every global communicable disease of the past 20 years. Look up the statistics and post them here if you disagree.

    And all of the discussions about the medical aspects won’t change that airlines will go out of business and the economy will be impacted – not because of the disease but because of the fear of it.

    United had a massive Asia route system and has already given indications this is going to be very hard on them. By all accounts, demand across the Pacific has plummeted. A whole lot of their aggressive strategic initiatives will be sidelined.

    This disease will result in a hard reset for commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region with impacts on airlines around the globe.

    You can decide in a year if it was all worth it but I happen to think there will be a widescale recognition that what is happening now is a huge overreaction without dealing sufficiently with the people that really need the most help.

  39. @Paolo

    The elderly in the USA are covered by the government-run health insurance called Medicare.

    Are you seriously arguing you would have said a good word about President Reagan if he had said the word gay and then ordered to shut down all the gay bath houses in the country to stop the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s? Numerous presidents have said gay many times since then–the AIDS vaccine is still not available.

    Don’t forget to ban my phone ISP address after you banned my home one–twice already.

  40. @Tim Dunn
    I can’t agree with your characterisation of the US system as “world’s best”. It is no better , in respect of patient outcomes/experience, than 30 or 40 other countries. Some would say worse than many of them. But in terms of access, vastly inferior for those in most need.
    Where the US system is indeed world best, is in medical research…in my view, that is undeniable, but not germane to this situation.

  41. @Paolo
    The US medical system does not produce the best patient outcomes because it isn’t equally accessible for all people but THAT is irrelevant to this discussion.

    only if you think that the US government or states will tell people that the level of care they get for this communicable disease is dependent on finances. That will not be the case precisely because the US government cannot afford to allow infected people to be handled by any type of medical care – unless they are ready to allow the disease to run rampant.

    Every state offers public health programs. The focus on this disease will ensure that everyone gets treated. That might not be the case for every other disease.

    Again, if you think I am wrong, let’s wait til it is all over.

    I think it will be shown that airlines, as they often do for other macroeconomic events, will experience far more financial impact than was necessary to control the spread of the disease.

  42. Ive been in Japan for the last week and the lack of gaijin tourists has been great, however I am at he NRT ANA F lounge right now and they only have beer in cans and plastic wrapped finger food. Disappointing. I will drink enough Krug onboard to kill any viruses I may have in me.

  43. Geez glenn t, I don’t proof-read my posts before I press Enter ! Or maybe I did skipped basic grammar during English lessons at school.

    You is HR or college admissions?
    Me is don’t care and Millennial and lazy and not American and not English and no good gramma and using finger and iPhone and auto correct and its aaznmig you culod aulaclty raed tihs taotl mses and sitll uesdtannrd it whoutit a pboerlm.

    Now please leave grandma alone with grampar and focus on the virus situation.

    @Tim Dunn
    For every Ebola success there is the HIV failure.
    Unlike Ebola, we still have much to learn about this virus. The fear is from the unknown.
    The good news, which I think the media (intentionally or not) did not emphasize (and prevent people from taking this virus lightly) is the recovery rate. In short, we are healing faster than we are getting sick. That is until some unpredictable local outbreak blows up.

    The virus doesn’t have wings and fly around, it is us humans who help the virus. Airlines unfortunately get caught as the main vessel of transmitting the virus. Same reason 737MAX crash gets a big coverage even when DUI kills much more annually, they are the few very large targets than we can unanimously and easily point our fingers at.

    But don’t worry, less travel doesn’t hurt airlines which had several peak years with huge profits. Wait, they spent them on grounded 737MAX and unions took the rest of that too. So the virus shouldn’t really be the major blame. It’s just a catalyst, just like the fall of HNA or soon to be in trouble CX.

  44. @Grrizzly
    Yes, Reagan said and did nothing for 2 years in the middle of the biggest health crisis in decades, probably including Polio. If he hadn’t been shamed into action by Elizabeth Taylor and others, he would have dithered even longer. The delay in funding anti-viral therapies research cost tens of thousands of lives in the US alone.
    There are some parallels with AIDS and the current situation ( at least in the event Covid-19 does get established), ie can/should governments mandate things like travel/ quarantine/public assembly / or in the AIDS situation the bath houses. In my view, they should.
    And, I couldn’t find a nice word for Reagan ( the nicest that comes to mind is unprintable)

  45. Very soon Americans will be avoiding all flights, even domestic ones with the way things are going right now..

  46. @TimDunn sounds like you drank the Trump Kool Aid….I am in the healthcare field and let me tell you the US is lagging way behind in this… instead of allowing the experts to do their job DJT and his Covid 19 Tzar M Pence (the guy who preferred to pray away an HIV epidemic in Indiana rather than accept the advice of experts in needle exchange – oh, the prayers didn’t work) are doing nothing but trying to stabilize the stock market while muzzling A Fauchi from NIH and others who actually know what they are doing. Hospitals are scrambling, supplies of masks/sanitizer are low or not available and we are 6+ weeks into this – let nobody fool themselves into thinking the rhetoric, lies and Pences jumping for Jesus will protect us. The virus has been politicized and it’s going to cost lives. While China dragged its heels on origins and containment, at least when they acted, while somewhat draconian it was loud and clear – it will be business as usual in US pointing fingers, blaming others, banning nationals certainly of Iran, perhaps Italy, next Korea?? Or will political favors and schennigans keep certain planes in the sky and borders open. It’s a pandemic, make no mistake – it just may not have fully dotted the I or crossed the T – 100 million lives at risk globally (at minimum) and we have “effective containment” in the US??? Don’t put your trust in a government that allowed tens of thousands of its own citizens to die in the 80s because of Republican anti gay sentiment – and a jumped up ex movie “star” president who refused to utter the word AIDS for years, and now a reality TV show “president” is going to do the right thing???? Make no mistake, you need to be your own advocate and be smart about this – because, well……if you don’t get it by now, no point in me wasting my time trying to convince you! Now wash your hands, cover your mouth and keep your distance from others…and good luck! (on the flip side, prepare for the airlines to start begging for your business before long and there will be deals/offers the likes of which we haven’t seen since post 9/11…..)

  47. Luckily, thanks to this post regarding Singapore, I called United and they made sure I am confirmed in a Polaris bed from SFO-SIN March 13. Both my outbound and return were canceled yesterday and this article helped me avoid being stuck in economy on the combined flights.

  48. @jkmd
    For someone that argues that handling of the virus crisis has been politicized, your post confirms exactly what you argue against.

    I have no idea what specific steps you think people at the NIH were prevented from doing (please let us know) but there were doctors in CA that thought the patient that is testing positive without a travel history or contact from China wanted to disease that patient but were told by the CDC that he didn’t meet the requirements and therefore wasn’t tested until days later. In the meantime, hundreds of healthcare workers were exposed. And then we have a high ranking official from the CDC tell the American people that they might see large-scale impacts to their lifestyles in order to cope with a potential spread of this disease.

    Let me tell you right now that the American people will not accept the wholesale quarantining of communities that China did. S. Korea has not done it, Japan has not done it and I can assure you there will be blood in the streets if a US public health official thinks they can lock up sections of the country because the CDC itself failed to listen to doctors who believed that there was a risk which the CDC brushed off. The White House had nothing to do with those calls; trying to turn those bone-headed decisions by the CDC into a political statement is just plain wrong. Those decisions by the CDC were exactly what happened in China and why the virus grew so rapidly.

    btw, the Chinese government lab that first sequenced the virus in Shanghai has been shut down because it apparently did not run its findings up the chain of command before releasing the sequence to the world. The patient test kits are based on the findings from that lab.

    I would suggest you and others read the South China Morning Post. They have outstanding, western coverage including a very lengthy article on why the virus got out of hand so quickly.

    commercial aviation is the backbone of the free movement of people, ideas and wealth across the planet. Disease is spread by human. Those that are disease need to be quarantined. Air service cannot be cut off as a disease-fighting tool. Notably, S. Korea and Japan are both maintaining air links with the rest of the world other than the Chinese world. You may want to dispense with basic freedoms of democratic societies to fight disease but the vast majority of westerners will not accept it.

    United had to cut service because of demand cuts- driven by disease hysteria.

    Appropriate infected individuals need to be identified and treated.

    and finally, covid-19 has one of the lowest mortality rates of the large global outbreaks of the past 50 years. For those who get the disease and it advances untreated, it can quickly kill via pneumonia (read the SCMP for detailed descriptions of what happens to the lungs). but nearly half of the people that have been exposed to covid-19 recover with limited medical help – not unlike the flu. About 15% of patients need major medical intervention but we have no idea what percentage of those people based on global statistics received early diagnosis and treatment.

    The US has outstanding capabilities in infectious disease identification and treatment and it is available through public and private health systems as well as ensured by Medicaid and Medicare using either channel.

  49. Do you know what they are doing with all these spare widebodies? Are they being deployed domestically? Are they speeding up Polaris conversions (guessing probably not since isn’t some of this work done in China?).

    I am surprised with some of these reductions, but also not surprised – they must be losing hand over fist on some of these flights. Look at UA881 for ORD-NRT tomorrow 3/1. It’s a ghost ship.

  50. @Tim Dunn

    Don’t believe everything in SCMP. Big brother is watching.

    Now I don’t disagree with your freedom in movements.
    But your faith in the free Western society will face it’s biggest test yet, the summer Olympics.

  51. It’s great to see our peers in the West saying “yes” to the world, and desiring contact with Asia. It wasn’t too long ago when you were all briefly so mean, blaming Asia for the end of the world.

    Even if not directly spoken, we definitely felt unwelcome.

    Just look at Delta. It literally dismantled its Asia network, and is reconstituting it in South America. Not because South America demand will be high. Not because LATAM is a better partner. There is a reason why Delta is engaging with so many strong foreign airlines. They want to shrink. A premium positioning airline means Delta must be picky with its hubs.

    Delta and Alaska actually have very unfortune brands. In Asia, Delta is associated with D-grade in academia. That’s mediocrity assumed. It’s not fair especially since Delta’s biggest rival, has the most noble word in humanity. Alaska’s Chinese name is literally a slur against Islam.

    I’m actually worried about SQ though. They are the most affected airline group.

  52. United is being very cordial here, actually. The rumor on the grapevine is that United was kicking Singapore’s ass on the ULH flights. UA offers “The Private Suite” ex SIN, and it was popular with those flying United Y and wanting to splurge a bit. There remains more Singapore residents who are MileagePlus than Krisflyer. SQ does not allow points transfers for Singapore market, so KF is frigging useless. PPS Club… it’s no longer easy to spend S$25,000 on FIrst and Business and Suites on SQ now.

  53. @paolo.
    that is indeed disappointing but the US per capita still has one of the lowest infection and death rates.
    As was stated yesterday, there is no fear for the vast majority of healthy people even if exposed to the virus.
    And it appears that most of the cases in the US are in the northern tier of states including N. California.

    @dominic yeo.
    Delta is the 2nd largest airline across the Pacific based on published schedules before all of the schedule reductions started. Delta has still cancelled a lower percentage of its transpacific schedule than United which was the only airline larger than Delta before the cuts started. Given that United operated duplicate flights on many of its routes, it can and likely will reduce a lot of capacity and still have an intact route system.
    So, no, Delta didn’t dismantle its transpacific network.

    Delta’s Detroit hub is (or was before cuts) the second largest US carrier transpacific gateway behind United at San Francisco. Delta at Seattle was number 4 behind American at DFW which even before the cuts had basically decided to reduce its Pacific network to DFW to Asia plus LAX to Tokyo.

    Facts are your friend – unless they highlight biases.

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