Are Flights From China Really Banned?

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In bragging about his oh so quick response to the coronavirus Trump has repeatedly bragged that he quickly acted, against supposed opposition from Democrats, to ban flights from China.

I was curious to see if Trump’s ban on flights from China was as broad as he suggests. I quickly found cases of many airlines, on their own, cancelling flights to and from China. However, I did not find any broad government imposed ban on flights to and from China.

I decided to test the question more directly. I went to travelocity.com and searched for flights from one Chinese airport (Beijing) to one American airport (Los Angeles), for one day (tomorrow, March 1st). Scores of hits came up. However, I soon realized most those hits were for flights with at least one stop. Still, if you want to fly from Beijing to LA, it appears Travelocity will sell you tickets to fly here tomorrow. Tickets start at $531 and you can hit Disneyland Monday morning.

I limited the search to direct, or non-stop flights. I found one such flight, on Air China, leaving at 6:30 pm Beijing time and landing at 2:30 pm Los Angeles. It’s Flight 983 on a Boeing 777. Travelocity offers to sell me that ticket for $742.

I went to the Air China website to more directly confirm this flight. Sure enough, it popped up. It also offered a total of four direct flights from Beijing to LAX in the upcoming week on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I picked the Tuesday flight clicking through to see its details. Flight 983 is scheduled to land in LAX at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. The coach ticket is $766. The airline provides only the standard warnings for passengers, stuff like travel identification needed and baggage restrictions.

I did find a notice from the CDC advising that foreign nationals may not come from China to the United States. However, American citizens can. Any Americans who visited Hubei Province will be quarantined for 14 days before being released. Americans who did not visit Hubei Providing, and who arrive with no symptoms, will be released to the general public and asked to self monitor their health for 14 days.

While many airlines have cancelled flights to and from China, some Chinese operated airlines have not. Further, any suggestions that flights from China have been banned by the President are false. You are free to fly to Beijing China tomorrow, and directly return on Tuesday. You can be in the crowded, long lines of Disneyland Wednesday morning.

No matter what crowing you hear from this President about his cancelling flights and closing borders, that’s the truth of it.

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