While the U.S. has restricted arrivals from China to U.S. residents, and China has limited entry into the country to their own residents, there remain a handful of exceptions to these rules.
China has reported its progress fighting COVID-19 as being nearly complete, with no domestic spread cases most days. That may be an exaggeration. China has been paying local jurisdictions for zero reported cases, which on the one hand encourages them to take steps to limit COVID-19 spread but also encourages them to hide cases.
Nonetheless, there’s probably less risk flying to China than to Europe and there have been flights to the U.S. by Chinese airlines in recent weeks. So it should come as no surprise that while demand is limited, it’s growing, and United Airlines is considering a once a week return to Shanghai.
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) April 6, 2020
We can expect that any United Airlines flight to Shanghai would be from San Francisco. Apple has historically purchased 50 business class seats a day on this route from United, China is beginning to restart its industry, and United wants to retain its position as the strongest U.S. carrier with flights to mainland China.
Shanghai Pudong Airport
Delta, through its partnership with Shanghai-based China Eastern, arguably has a stronger China business by extension. United and Delta have continued to operate cargo-only flights between Chicago and Shanghai and Detroit and Shanghai, respectively.