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American Airlines is rerouting and diverting some of its flights to Asia to avoid Russian airspace amid growing geopolitical tensions, and has issued a travel waiver for affected customers who may wish to change their flights.
As reported by, the airline detailed in a memo to its pilots on Saturday that three of its flights — Dallas (DFW) to Hong Kong (HKG), Dallas to Beijing (PEK) and Chicago (ORD) to Beijing — have been rerouted following .
“The team at American regularly monitors global geopolitical issues and makes changes to aircraft routings when warranted,” the note to pilots said.
For flights that typically operate over Russian airspace, operations have been shifted as of April 14, which the airline says could cause diversions and delays for passengers. In order to accommodate the new, longer routing, American has had to reroute the three affected flights through Los Angeles (LAX) because of aircraft range limits. This has also caused crew “time out” issues, meaning the maximum daily hours that pilots and flight attendants can work.
As shown on, American Flight 263 from Dallas to Beijing flew over Russia on April 11:
But on Saturday, AA263 diverted to Los Angeles (LAX), where it refueled and swapped crew before continuing on to PEK. Though it avoided a large swath of northern Russia, it did ultimately fly through Russian airspace en route to PEK.
only if you have ord-pek, or dfw-pek/hkg. won't route the lax flight. already tried.
only if you have ord-pek, or dfw-pek/hkg. won't route the lax flight. already tried.— The Flight Deal (@TheFlightDeal) April 15, 2018
At this point, Delta and United have yet to announce if any of their flights will be rerouted. American said in its memo that it’s coordinating “with the US government in order to resolve any issues.” The carrier noted that it’s working “on our contingency plans in case certain areas are restricted,” adding that although the change in routes isn’t a “long term solution, we are doing everything possible to minimize the disruption for our customers and team members.”
Along with the escalating tensions between the US and Russia, an agreement that allows aircraft from the two countries to use each other’s airspace is set to expire on April 17. It’s not yet known what will happen for both US and Russian airlines if that agreement expires without being extended by the two sides.