Both, United Airlines and American Airlines have taken drastic steps and have announced this evening that they will suspend all flights to Hong Kong until at least February 20th.
Both carriers have already suspended flights to the mainland until the end of March in reaction of a lawsuit from pilots unions which claimed danger for the crew when flying into potentially contaminated areas.
With this latest wave of cancellations including Hong Kong as well the situation changes rapidly as the city has so far remained open and in business.
You can access United Airlines cancellation policy here.
In response to the continued drop in demand, we are suspending travel to Hong Kong beginning February 8 until February 20. Our last flights will depart San Francisco on February 5 (flight 877 and flight 869) and the last returning flight will depart Hong Kong on February 7 (flight 862).
Please check united.com for important travel information as well as current travel waivers.
American Airlines has suspended all flights to Hong Kong from Los Angeles and Dallas for about two weeks, citing a lack of demand.
The giant US carrier’s decision came as Hong Kong on Tuesday confirmed its 18th case of the new coronavirus and recorded its first death in the outbreak, which was believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread to more than 20 countries.
According to a statement by the Texas-based carrier, the suspension will last until February 20, affecting flights to Hong Kong from both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles.
The decision was made “due to demand”, according to spokesman Ross Feinstein. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any updates as needed.”
Americans own, official travel policy announcements don’t make any mention of Hong Kong yet.
Passengers with reservations to or through Hong Kong should contact their ticketing carrier in order to get rebooked onto alternate flights or to receive a refund as desired.
Citing “continued drop in demand” is certainly only half of the story. The carriers flew during SARS and even right now the planes aren’t entirely empty. The recent lawsuits representing the airlines pilots have put pressure on the carriers however.
In the end it likely gave them a welcome excuse to just pull the plug on flights right now, at least temporarily. Very inconvenient for those seeking to travel back to North America though.