What You Need to Know About the Hong Kong Airport Cancellations


Hong Kong International Airport on Monday abruptly grounded all departing flights and kept 70 flights from arriving after thousands of protesters filled the airport, stranding air passengers at one of the world’s most important transportation hubs.

A statement on the airport’s website said that operations “have been seriously disrupted, all flights have been canceled,” and that all passengers should leave their terminal buildings as soon as possible.

Here’s what travelers to and from Hong Kong need to know.

Sparked by proposed legislation that would have changed extradition policies between Hong Kong and other places, including mainland China, antigovernment protests in Hong Kong are currently in their third month. Previous protests have occurred mainly downtown, in popular shopping areas and near government buildings.

Hong Kong’s tourism commission has said that the city is safe and open for tourists. Many popular attractions, including the Ladies’ Market and the Peak Tram, have not been affected by the protests.

“Interrupting air travel is one of the best ways to galvanize attention of elites, opinion-makers and the type of people that take flights, especially international flights,” said Scott Keyes, co-founder and chief executive of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

More than 120 airlines fly in and out of Hong Kong International Airport, including most major world carriers, like British Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways.

Among the carriers based in the United States, United Airlines’ Monday flight from Hong Kong to Guam and its flight from Guam to Hong Kong were canceled. Flights from San Francisco, Chicago and New York City landed in Hong Kong as scheduled. The canceled United flights have travel waivers in place so customers can rebook.

American Airlines has two daily flights to Hong Kong, one from Dallas and another from Los Angeles. The flight from Dallas departed as scheduled, but the flight from Los Angeles was canceled. A spokeswoman for the airline said that travelers will be rebooked on the next available flight on American or a partner airline.

Two British Airways flights from Hong Kong to Heathrow were canceled. The airline is offering customers affected by the grounding the option to rebook or to take a full refund. Virgin Atlantic canceled its Hong Kong to London Heathrow flight. The airline advised travelers to check its website for updates. Both airlines still had flights from London to Hong Kong.

One Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Hong Kong was diverted back to Doha on Monday. Qatar runs two flights a day between Doha and Hong Kong — both were canceled.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways canceled several flights to and from Hong Kong on Monday and Tuesday.

The best way to find out if your flight is canceled or delayed is to get in touch with the airline you’re traveling on. Some airlines, like Air Canada, have put in place a flexible rebooking policy for customers who want to change their travel plans to or from Hong Kong. Others, like British Airways, are offering the option to rebook on another date or to receive a full refund.

If you have travel insurance, it’s important to determine if it covers delays or interruptions of this nature.

“Say you live in New York and you’re heading to Hong Kong, but now you’re delayed because the airport is closed, or you’re in Hong Kong and looking to come home, or you’re traveling through Hong Kong, but now you’re delayed,” said Michael Grossman, who runs Starr Insurance Companies’ travel insurance business. Any of those scenarios, he said, might be covered under the trip delay benefit.


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