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United Airlines Extends Suspension of China Routes



United Airlines has now joined fellow U.S. carriers, Delta and American Airlines, by extending its previously announced suspension of service to China amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, formerly known as the novel coronavirus epidemic, which originated in China’s Hubei Province.

Fox News reported that United had originally suspended its China-bound routes through March 28, 2020, but announced this week that it now plans to extend its non-operation through April 24.

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“As we continue to evaluate our operation between our U.S. hubs and Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong, we have decided to extend the suspension of those flights until April 24. We will continue to monitor the situation in China and evaluate our schedule as we remain in close contact with the CDC and other public health experts around the globe,” United wrote in an online advisory on February 12.

Ticketholders who booked United flights to Beijing, Chengdu or Shanghai prior to January 27 are eligible for travel waivers, as well as those who had purchased Hong Kong-bound tickets before January 23, 2020.

A similar announcement came from American Airlines on February 11, extending the suspension of its own routes between its U.S. hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles and China, including Hong Kong, through April 24.

Back as early as January 31, Delta Air Lines also announced its suspension of all service to Chinese destinations to continue through April 30.

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



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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