Caixin
Dec 27, 2021 08:42 PM
WORLD

China Advises U.S. Air Passengers to Anticipate Changes After Delta Flight Turned Back

A Delta Air Lines flight scheduled to land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday morning had to unexpectedly turn back over Russia six hours into its flight from Seattle, according to media reports.
A Delta Air Lines flight scheduled to land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday morning had to unexpectedly turn back over Russia six hours into its flight from Seattle, according to media reports.

China has warned passengers with plans to fly to China from the U.S. to anticipate flight changes after several flights were delayed or canceled, including one from Seattle to Shanghai that returned to the U.S. midway.

The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. said in a notice Saturday that it complained to the airline involved, and advised passengers to confirm their flight status and complete the tests needed before boarding. The embassy and consulates would continue to urge U.S. airlines to guarantee passengers’ legitimate rights, the statement added.

A Delta Air Lines flight scheduled to land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday morning had to unexpectedly turn back over Russia six hours into its flight from Seattle, according to media reports. The captain notified passengers of the need to return, citing a temporary change in China’s entry policy that had left passengers’ health codes unapproved, according to reports that cited passengers who were on board.

A manager from the Shanghai airport told domestic media that the flight had not entered China’s airspace, and they did not know the “specific impact” China’s disease control policy had on the flight.

The flight, DL287, with 168 passengers on board, was originally scheduled to depart late Tuesday with a stop in Seoul, South Korea, but had delayed its take-off several times before it was rescheduled to depart a day later, according to media reports. The flight’s return was a concern to many passengers including Chinese students whose U.S. visas had expired, the reports said.

Delta said in a statement that the change came after “new procedures required at Shanghai Pudong International Airport were implemented while it was en route,” which “require longer time on the ground than Delta is able to schedule there.”

Several U.S. airlines’ services have been affected due to staff shortages from the spread of the coronavirus, according to U.S. media reports.

Delta noted that its holiday flight schedule had been impacted by the winter weather and the omicron variant, with 212 flights on Friday and 375 flights on Saturday canceled.

Contact reporter Cai Xuejiao (xuejiaocai@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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