🚨 Breaking: Delta Exits Hong Kong Market

by Sam Roecker

Delta Air Lines is axing its Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) to Hong Kong (HKG) service effective October 4. The daily Boeing 777 flight is Delta’s last remaining flight to Hong Kong. Delta canceled its Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Hong Kong service in 2014.

Per Delta, service will end in the fall:

“Delta has made the difficult business decision to cease Seattle/Tacoma-Hong Kong service, with the last flight out of Hong Kong on October 4. Delta will continue to serve Hong Kong from Seattle/Tacoma via Seoul-ICN, with its joint venture partner Korean Air.”


Image by Great Circle Mapper

Delta plans to resume service between Seattle and Osaka-Kansai (KIX), flown on a Boeing 767-300ER, sometime in 2019. Delta currently serves Osaka from Honolulu.

Seattle will be without one connection, however. There no other airlines offering nonstop service between the Pacific Northwest tech hub and Hong Kong.

A Global Airline Without Service to Hong Kong

United and Delta are the strongest US carriers to Asia, competing heavily in key markets like Tokyo and Shanghai. Delta was already at a competitive disadvantage with just one daily flight to Hong Kong. Compare that to United, with service to Chicago, Guam, Newark, and San Francisco. American also serves Hong Kong from its hubs in Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles.

It’s hard to believe the world’s second-largest airline will not serve an important market like Hong Kong.

United Service to Hong Kong (HKG) | Great Circle Mapper

Partner Flights to Hong Kong

Delta’s Hong Kong exit does not mean Delta loyalists will be without options to Hong Kong. Delta will offer codeshare service through its joint venture partner, Korean Air.

A quick search on delta.com from Seattle to Hong Kong also shows available connections – but not codeshare flights – through SkyTeam partner China Eastern as well as United’s partner ANA (operated by Air Japan), a member of Star Alliance.


Correction: A previous version of this story indicated Delta’s Seattle – Hong Kong flight is six-weekly. The flight operates daily, with a slight time adjustment on day 4 (Wednesday). 

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Mimi T June 14, 2018 - 2:33 pm

Wow, this is surprising. So now Delta will route everyone onto Korean Air. So strange that they couldn’t make HKG work. This is good news for Alaska. It’s also good news for AA, UA & CX since there’s one less carrier in the USA-HK market.
I’m sure there’s more cuts coming to Delta’s Asian network.

Sam Roecker June 14, 2018 - 2:36 pm

Indeed, very surprising, especially considering they’ve tried Seattle, Tokyo, and Detroit over the years. At least now we know where the 777 for Minneapolis to Seoul-Incheon is coming from.

Peter June 14, 2018 - 3:39 pm

I just booked SEA-HKG for Xmax.
What should I do?

Sam Roecker June 14, 2018 - 3:54 pm

I would definitely recommend calling Delta. They will most likely rebook you on a connecting flight through Seoul on Korean Air (SEA-ICN-HKG). Generally, airlines are pretty flexible with rebookings when they drop a route, so this is a good opportunity if there’s a specific airline or flight you want to take. I’d love to know what options they give you. Keep us posted!

Peter June 14, 2018 - 4:07 pm

I just called.
CSR told me they did not see that was cancelled in system and currently there is no much option they have and suggest me to wait until Delta have alternative solution.

I booked as award flight, so currently there is no alternative award flight for my flight date . Have to wait couple more days to see Delta give me option. I can go though Japan or S Korean if they allow me to change

Sam Roecker June 14, 2018 - 4:12 pm

Sorry to hear that. Airlines usually update schedules over the weekend so it’s entirely possible it may not show as “dropped” until Sunday or Monday. Definitely push back if they say “no options” – there’s always inventory somewhere. Be persistent. Thanks for the update, and again, keep us posted.

David June 22, 2018 - 9:06 am

I’m in the same situation. I called CSR and also tweeted to Delta. Both have the same response. There’s no internal memo regarding this. We will have to wait until we hear. I also book with points. There’s no inexpensive option. I’m pretty pissed since I booked award at 70K. Rerouting options are greater than 80K, plus higher taxes. Delta delaying the communication are basically screwing screwing us, since availability is less. I’m hoping they will add another flight or two through SK to increase availability.

Sam Roecker June 22, 2018 - 10:56 am

Sorry to hear that, David. Keep us posted on what happens.

MilkyBlack August 8, 2018 - 7:49 am

Hi David,
Any Update?. Im also facing the same issue.Is the availability increased now?

Greg Glockner June 17, 2018 - 4:33 pm

Delta’s fares on SEA-HKG were high. It was worthwhile to drive or fly to YVR.

Sam Roecker June 18, 2018 - 9:18 am

Business or economy? Makes sense Delta would charge high J fares given the nonstop.

weever June 27, 2018 - 12:03 pm

Delta called
Give me reroute option from ICN, SEA-ICN-HKG
Original arrival is 5:50PM, now is 10:50PM
Should I ask delta for any compensation?

Sam Roecker June 27, 2018 - 2:48 pm

Definitely! Personally, I would focus on the inconvenience of having to connect (versus original nonstop): “I booked this route specifically because it was nonstop and I needed to arrive in HKG by XX time… etc.” A five-hour difference in travel is substantial – definitely a worthwhile follow up. Keep us posted on Delta’s response 🙂

Laura Mancini July 2, 2018 - 1:05 pm

I am in the same situation. I found out, from a Diamond rep, that an official internal memo was released 3 days ago but that it will not be released to the public or in the system until July 17th.

They are allowing that time to (supposedly) rebook people in the interim…although, no one reached out to me and I am a Diamond MM…I am getting the run around and have spoken with numerous Diamond reps and supervisors. My situation is complicated as I booked thru Delta Vacations…and apparently no one clued them in on the memo 🙁

I will post once resolved…still on hold…

Sam Roecker July 2, 2018 - 1:42 pm

Laura, thanks for commenting and so sorry to hear about your frustrating experience. Did Delta offer an acceptable solution?

Laura Mancini July 2, 2018 - 3:30 pm

After several hours and escalation. We finally resolved it 🙂 I am happy to report. They agreed to rebook me to Premium select; I had paid for Economy Comfort before and it is no longer offered and I will now arrive earlier at 11 am but will be travelling longer as I depart the day before at 7:55 pm instead of 8:00 am. They needed to get a supervisor to approve but all worked out. Best of luck to all in this situation!

Sam Roecker July 2, 2018 - 3:50 pm

Thanks for the update, Laura!


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