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American Airlines Extends Suspension of Flights to China, Hong Kong

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American Airlines has extended its suspension of flights between two of its U.S. hubs and mainland China and Hong Kong amid ongoing concerns due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The carrier, which isn’t alone in temporarily halting Asia-bound flights this winter, cited a “reduction in demand” for the latest update, which grounds flights between Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles and mainland China—including Shanghai and Beijing—and Hong Kong through late April.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, flights between DFW-LAX and mainland China and flights between LAX and Hong Kong (HKG) are suspended through April 24 while flights between DFW and HKG are suspended through April 23.

American had previously suspended all flights into and out of Hong Kong until February 20 and had scrapped flights between the U.S. and China through late March.

The U.S. State Department updated its travel advisory for China late last month, elevating it to a Level 4 (do not travel). “Do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” the U.S. government warned. “Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.”

American said that it will “continue to evaluate this schedule and make any adjustments as necessary.”

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Airlines Scaling Back On Some In-Flight Services Due to Coronavirus

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A few airlines, including those already affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have begun scaling back on some in-flight services as a way to help fight the virus.

The Points Guy writes that Singapore Airlines – obviously based in Asia, where the coronavirus has been most dangerous after originating in China – recently sent its frequent fliers an email about such changes.

Singapore advised its customers that some in-flight amenities will be discontinued, such as hot towel service, after-takeoff drink service, removal of reading materials from seat-back pockets, and suspension of in-flight sales.

Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, said that Chinese and Taiwanese carriers have taken similar precautionary steps based on government guidance, including removing pillows and blankets on some flights.

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“They’re changing their cabin service procedures, so the passengers will notice this,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy.

But Harteveldt also remained optimistic that passengers wouldn’t pitch a fit given the circumstances.

“Passengers will accept (the reduction in services) because they’re being done in the interest of health and wellness,” he said.

As the virus, now known as covid-19, continues to expand globally, it remains to be seen if other airlines – including those based in the U.S. who offer international travel – adopt the same practice.

The aviation industry is quite often a copycat business, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some similar changes put into place.

“As adults, we have to be logical and rational when we experience these inconveniences,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy. “This isn’t cost-cutting, this isn’t random, this is in the best interest of public health.”

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