Three of the most popular airlines in the U.S. — Delta, American and United — have canceled flights to and from mainland China amid efforts to control the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Delta Air Lines said on Friday that it would suspend all its flights to China from Feb. 6 to April 30, the longest announced by any airline at the moment, according to Business Insider.
“The last China-bound flight departing the U.S. will leave on Monday, Feb. 3 with the last return flight back to the U.S. departing China on Feb. 5,” Delta said. “The airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve.”
Customers can request a refund, rebook flights after the suspension or talk with an agent for more options.
American Airlines’ decision to cancel all flights to China immediately comes after 15,000 pilots filed a lawsuit on Thursday, citing “serious, and in many ways still unknown, health threats posed by the coronavirus.” Its flights to Hong Kong will continue to operate.
“Based on the U.S. Department of State’s recent increase of the China Travel Advisory to a Level 4 (Do Not Travel), American is suspending its operations to and from the Chinese mainland beginning today through March 27,” American said in a statement. “Our teams are contacting affected customers directly to accommodate their needs. We will continue to evaluate the schedule for March 28 and beyond and make any adjustments as necessary.”
United Airlines also said on Friday it was suspending flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai from Feb. 6 to March 28. The airline will continue to “operate select flights to help ensure our US-based employees, as well as customers, have options to return home.” It will fly one daily route between San Francisco and Hong Kong according to CNN.
The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, has since spread throughout China and other countries, including the U.S. and Japan. More than 11,000 people have been infected, and at least 259 people have died, as of Jan. 31, 9:30 p.m. EST, based on data from an interactive map created by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
The outbreak is now a public health emergency, the World Health Organization declared.