Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak, These Travel Brands Have Suspended or Altered Service to China

Global emergency decreases demand and increases concern for companies

A number of airlines have suspended flights to China. Getty Images
Headshot of Mónica Marie Zorrilla

In light of the grave concerns raised by the novel coronavirus outbreak—and the over 200 deaths from the contagious respiratory illness—the World Health Organization declared the virus a global emergency and the U.S. State Department is discouraging Americans from traveling to mainland China.

Brett Snyder, founder and author of the popular airline industry blog Cranky Flier, confirmed to Adweek that airlines have seen dramatic decreases in demand for China because of concerns about coronavirus, and that many of these airlines have canceled all flights to mainland China for a month or more.

“It remains to be seen whether this will remain isolated to panic around China travel, or if it will expand,” Snyder said.

Several airlines including United Airlines have offered waivers on change fees or a cancel credit for flights to and from mainland China and/or Wuhan, which is under lockdown to contain the spread and severity of the outbreak.

Romey Louangvilay, head of communications at Elmntl (whose clients include the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Tourism), told Adweek that while it is worth noting that the coronavirus is a serious disease, it shouldn’t stop you from traveling—you should just be cautious and alert.

“From the tourism perspective, a lot of DMCs, tour operators and some of my clients who are government tourism boards are feeling the pinch,” Louangvilay said. “We receive a lot of questions on social media about the safety of travel, and we’re working closely with our client, as well as people on the ground, to keep the public updated on traveling to Asia and Southeast Asia.”

Elmntl has had to reschedule several of our press and influencer trips to Southeast Asia for later in the year since the news around the virus has caused widespread panic about traveling to the region.

“Everyone in the tourism space is feeling the decline from sales and cancellations,” Louangvilay added.

Even Disney has felt the pinch. Both Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland, which attract millions of tourists a year, have been closed in the wake of the contagion.

Per Yahoo Finance, every canceled voyage to mainland China could cost $3 million to $4 million in revenue for cruise operators. Royal Caribbean Cruises has already announced that cancellations (such as their Spectrum of the Seas cruise in the Asia-Pacific region) will trim its earnings by 10 cents per share and would likely take another stock hit if travel restrictions continued until the end of February.

However, direct travel brands aren’t the only ones affected by the novel coronavirus scare.

Domestic companies with a global presence have also felt the brunt of the outbreak and subsequent lockdowns and public fear over the contagion. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Airbnb, Starbucks, McDonalds, Razer and LG have all reportedly halted employee travel to and from mainland China, and have closed their stores in high-risk areas of the country. Universities from Kentucky to Pennsylvania have been temporarily suspending their study abroad programs and restricting student travel to and from China until further notice.

Here’s more specific information on how travel plans to and from mainland China might be affected or postponed over the next couple of weeks:

Domestic and International Cruise Lines

The Cruise Lines International Association, considered the leading voice of the global cruise industry, released a statement on Thursday, Jan. 30 regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

The statement confirms that all CLIA members have temporarily halted crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual who has traveled to or through mainland China within the previous 14 days.

CLIA is comprised of AIDA Cruises, American Cruise Lines, Azamara, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Celestyal Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Mystic Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Pearl Seas Cruises, Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, TUI Cruises, Virgin Voyages and Windstar Cruises.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA

The AFA-CWA, which represents 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines (including Cathay Pacific U.S., Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Norwegian, United Airlines and Omni Air International), issued a statement on Jan. 31 calling for U.S. government intervention and direction to ban all travel to China by U.S. airlines until the spread of the contagious virus is contained.

Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA International President said in the statement that the government “must work with our airlines to discontinue all service, with consideration for evacuation of flight crew, and with consideration to service that facilitates efforts by public health officials to contain spread of the virus.” The association also indicated that crews who were assigned to travel to and from China be pay protected and provided with any resources (such as food) while remaining out of public contact, if need be.

The association’s site has a handy how-to guide for reducing the spread of the respiratory illness. All of the tips are in accordance with public health safety measures that the CDC has already approved.

Air Canada

Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China.

Air France

Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China.

All Nippon Airways

Cabin crew on flights to Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities are wearing masks.

American Airlines

Temporarily suspended flights from today through March 27 to mainland China.

British Airways

Temporarily suspended flights to between Britain and mainland China.

Cathay Pacific Airways

No longer offering hot towels, pillows, blankets, magazines to passengers traveling to and from mainland China. Moreover, passengers are receiving all their meals in one tray.

Delta Airlines

Temporarily suspended flights from Feb. 3 through April 30 to mainland China.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China.


Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China.

Hong Kong Airlines

Stopped offering blankets and pillows to passengers traveling to and from mainland China.

Kenya Airways

Canceled all flights to and from Guangzhou.

Lion Air

Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China.

Lot Polish Airlines

Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China until Feb. 9.


Canceled all flights to and from Guangzhou.


Temporarily suspended flights to mainland China.

Thai Airways

Cabin crew is wearing masks and gloves on flights when flying to high-risk areas in mainland China. All aircraft returning from mainland China are undergoing a thorough, 45-minute disinfection.

United Airlines

Flights from Feb. 1-8. between U.S. hubs and Chinese cities (Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai) have been canceled.

@monicroqueta monica.zorrilla@adweek.com Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.