American Airlines and Delta Airlines to cut back service due to COVID-19

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Customers come first, the airlines said

American Airlines and Delta Airlines announced Tuesday that they are making sweeping adjustments to scheduled flights in response to decreased travel demand as more and more travelers decide to stay at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19). 

American’s plans

Overall, American is reducing international capacity for the peak summer travel season by 10 percent -- including a 55 percent reduction in trans-Pacific capacity. Domestically, the airline is reducing capacity by 7.5 percent, but only in April so far. 

Specific routes that are impacted include:


  • Suspending service to mainland China and Hong Kong (HKG) from Los Angeles (LAX) through the summer.

  • Suspending service to mainland China from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) through the summer.

  • Suspending service to HKG from DFW through June. DFW-HKG will resume with a reduced schedule in July.

  • Extending the suspension of service to Seoul, South Korea (ICN) from DFW into early May.

  • Operating flights to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) and Haneda International Airport (HND) from LAX and DFW with smaller widebody aircraft beginning in May.


  • Suspending service to Rome (FCO) from Philadelphia (PHL) effective immediately through the end of April.

  • Extending the suspension of service to Milan (MXP), and suspending flights to FCO from Chicago (ORD) and Charlotte (CLT) through early summer.

  • Delaying the seasonal resumption of flights to Barcelona (BCN) from CLT and to Venice (VCE) from ORD to early June. Also delaying the seasonal resumption of flights to FCO from New York (JFK) and DFW through the end of April and suspending operation of our second daily flight from DFW to FCO for the summer.

  • Reducing service to Paris (CDG) and Madrid (MAD) for parts of May and June.

South America

  • Flights to Montevideo, Uruguay (MVD) from Miami (MIA) will become seasonal, with service ending in May and resuming in December.

  • Flights to Santiago, Chile (SCL) from DFW will be suspended through April.


Delta’s overall reduction on system capacity is considerably higher than American’s -- 15 points versus its plan -- including a reduction of 20-25 percent on international flights and 10-15 percent on domestic capacity. The airline said it will make further adjustments as demand dictates.

Specifically, Delta’s reductions include:

  • Pacific/Asia: 65 percent

  • Trans-Atlantic: 15-20 percent

  • Domestic flights: 10-15 percent

  • Latin: 5 percent

As of press time, Delta had not offered specifics as to what routes where service would be affected.

Customers come first

While cleaner airplanes may have helped give travelers a little extra confidence, it evidently wasn’t enough of an inducement to get people to fly. That has left the airlines little choice but to offer waivers and take the hit in capacity until the epidemic is completely over. 

“American will continue to take care of customers as this situation develops,” the airline wrote in announcing the changes. “American’s Reservations team will contact affected customers directly by email or telephone. Customers who booked through a travel agent will be contacted by their agency directly. If a flight is canceled and a customer chooses not to be rebooked, they may request a full refund by visiting”

“In the weeks since COVID-19 emerged, Delta people have risen to the challenge, taking every possible action to take care of and protect our customers during a stressful time,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “As the virus has spread, we have seen a decline in demand across all entities, and we are taking decisive action to also protect Delta’s financial position. As a result, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to immediately reduce capacity and are implementing cost reductions and cash flow initiatives across the organization.”

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