The number of flights between the U.S. and China will double within the coming weeks, marking an easing of tensions between the two countries.
An order from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), announced this week, will allow both United and Delta airlines to double their weekly service from four flights to eight. The order will also allow China to double the number of flights coming to the U.S.
Both of the U.S. based airlines were allowed to increase their existing flights to and from China as they met the criteria of the Civil Aviation Authority of China to increase their flights.
Delta Air Lines will increase its flights between the U.S. and China, starting Aug. 24, the airline announced. The airline will add flights to Shanghai-Pudong via Seoul-Incheon Airport from Seattle and Detroit. The two routes are already flying once per week. Because Delta is operating with reduced cabin capacity through September due to COVID-19, availability on these flights will be limited.
United also announced it will double flights from San Francisco to Shanghai also via Seoul-Incheon from two to four weekly flights, beginning Sept. 4.
At the start of this year, there were more than 300 flights per week between the two countries, according to The Associated Press. But when the U.S. State Department issued a warning against travel to China due to the COVID-19 outbreak in January, Delta, United and American all canceled their flights.
When China recovered from its outbreak and began to let international flights reenter the country, a loophole effectively prevented any U.S. flights from returning. A dispute between China and the U.S. threatened to block Chinese flights from entering American airspace. After negotiation, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) allowed the U.S. to resume a small number of its flights.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she’s usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter @cai_rizz, Instagram @cai.rizz and caileyrizzo.com.
Video: Department of Transportation Announces Flights Between the U.S. And China Can Increase (Travel + Leisure)