Dec 27, 2021 - World

Delta says flight to Shanghai turned back due to COVID rules

A Delta flight
Photo: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A recent Delta flight from Seattle to Shanghai turned back midair due to new pandemic-related cleaning rules at the Shanghai airport, Delta confirmed Monday.

Driving the news: The new cleaning requirements, which Delta said were issued on Dec. 21, "require significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for Delta," the airline said in an emailed statement.

  • It's unclear what the rules are, AP noted. They come as the Chinese government continues to enforce a "zero-COVID" strategy, with tight border and travel restrictions and other measures. The Beijing Winter Olympics are about six weeks away.

What they're saying: "We apologize for any inconvenience this is causing for customers as we continue to work on rebooking on alternate flights," Delta said in a statement.

  • The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco said Sunday that many flights from the U.S. to China have been delayed or canceled, AP reported.
  • The consulate “made a stern representation to the airline,” the statement added without specifically naming Delta, per AP.

The big picture: China Airlines and EVA Air, two Taiwan-based airlines, have reduced the number of flights heading to Shanghai Pudong International Airport citing the new restrictions, according to AP.

Go deeper: Two years of COVID-19

Go deeper