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Delta and American Airlines Respond to Demand with More Flights to China this Winter

Airlines are quickly cashing in on the decision of the U.S. and Chinese governments to allow more commercial flights between the two countries from next month

by Fergus Cole

August 22, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Kin Li / Unsplash

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines will add more flights to China for the winter season following a recent agreement between the U.S. and Chinese governments to increase flight capacity. The airlines are taking advantage of the growing demand for travel in the Asia-Pacific Region.

From October 29, Delta will begin operating daily flights between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PDG), increasing the three weekly flights it currently operates on this route. On the same day, it will launch an additional weekly flight to Shanghai from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), taking the total number of flights between Shanghai and Detroit to three per week.

The Atlanta-based carrier also confirmed in a press release that it will resume its service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Shanghai in March 2024, a route that was axed from its schedule in February 2020. The new flights will be operated four times per week.

Photo: Delta, Airbus A330-900neo. Courtesy of Airbus.

Delta will use an Airbus A330-900neo to operate the Seattle-Shanghai route, which has a total capacity of 281 passengers. Meanwhile, the flights from both Detroit and Los Angeles will be operated with the larger Airbus A350-900, which has a capacity of 306 passengers. Both aircraft will offer passengers a choice of four classes of cabin – Delta One Suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+, and the Main Cabin.

“As demand continues to increase and the busy travel season to the Asia-Pacific region commences, the Delta team is ready to welcome even more travelers to the region this winter, providing our award-winning customer service on every journey,” said Jeoff Moomaw, Vice President – Asia Pacific for Delta.

Shanghai back online

Meanwhile, American Airlines has confirmed plans to operate daily flights to Shanghai from its primary hub of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) from January 2024, increasing the four weekly flights it currently serves.

Other major airlines have also recently announced plans to increase flights between the U.S. and China, including U.S. carrier United Airlines and Chinese operators Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern.

Photo: China Southern, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy of Scarbor Siu / Unsplash

Last weekend, United said it would be increasing flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Shanghai on October 1 from four weekly flights to daily, while it also announced it would be resuming daily flights from San Francisco to Beijing (PEK) from November 1.

These flurry of announcements come just days after the U.S. and Chinese governments made a reciprocal agreement to double the number of commercial flights permitted between the countries.

Currently, just 12 flights operated by Chinese airlines are permitted to enter the U.S. each week, but this will increase to 18 flights per week from September 1 and then to 24 per week from October 29, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has confirmed, with the Chinese government agreeing to the same increase in flights for U.S. carriers heading to China.