Coronavirus Outbreak: United, Delta and American Airlines cancel flights to China

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- United, Delta and American Airlines announced they will suspend services to and from China, increasing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on both travel and business.

Delta and American Airlines have already started suspending operations. United will suspend operations on Feb. 6.

On Feb. 1, Delta made the decision to speed up its plan and released this update:

"Delta has made the decision to accelerate its plan to temporarily suspend flights between the U.S. and China to Feb. 2 following updated U.S. Health and Human Services screening protocols that will go into effect on Feb. 2. The last China-bound flight departing the U.S. will leave on Saturday, Feb. 1 with the last return flight back to the U.S. departing China on Feb. 2."

The airline had previously announced a plan to suspend operations effective Feb. 6 but advanced that timeline based on new U.S. requirements that will deny entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the past two weeks, or subject to possible quarantine those U.S. citizens who have been in China's Hubei province.

San Francisco resident Teresa Chow arrived to SFO from China Saturday evening. She visited her parents in Shaoxing for the Lunar New Year.

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"I have texts from everywhere, my friends, you got to come home soon you know the U.S. may be closing. A lot of people have bought a last minute ticket, I guess they changed their flights- so they can come home," Chow said.

Chow's hometown of Shaoxing is a popular tourist destination, and is a home to famous Chinese writer Lu Xun. Chow said normally the streets are crowded and filled with people this time of the year but her husband showed us pictures of the scenic area empty.

"There's no business. What's the point flying to China? Nobody is going to China right now," Chow said.

In San Francisco's Chinatown, Lunar New Year celebrations are still underway.

Ding Lee, the president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, says concerns over the coronavirus should be kept to a minimum. Locals and tourists shouldn't stop themselves from visiting restaurants or other touristy areas.

"That's why we have to keep the balance, have to keep the economy going. The restaurant business, especially in Chinatown, is the most important economy, we still have to eat, we have to celebrate," Lee said.

Aside from Lunar New Year celebrations, the new travel restrictions impacted his travel plans. "I canceled my trip to Asia for next week," Lee said. That trip cost both him and his wife $8,000.


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