Delta offers non-stop service between Seattle and Shanghai

Updated: 2013-06-18 11:03

By Deng Yu in Seattle (China Daily)

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 Delta offers non-stop service between Seattle and Shanghai

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson (center), Seattle Airport Director Mark Reis (second from right), Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant (third from right), Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani (third from left) cut the ribbon for Delta's inaugural non-stop flight from Seattle to Shanghai. Deng Yu / China Daily

Delta offers non-stop service between Seattle and Shanghai

Delta Air Lines Inc started its new service connecting Seattle and Shanghai at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday, the latest addition to Delta's growing Asian gateway in Seattle.

Delta Air Lines and the Port of Seattle announced the move in front of Gate S-7 in the airport. Passengers on the first flight to Shanghai were also in attendance.

"Delta's new Shanghai service is the latest step toward building Seattle into a world-class Asian gateway," said Richard Anderson, Delta's CEO. "Seattle's strong business and cultural ties to Asia, as well as its geographic location, make it a natural departing point for flights across the Pacific."

Seattle has a long history of cultural and economic ties with China, including a maritime trip between Shanghai and Seattle launched in 1979 when a Chinese cargo ship called on a US port - the year when diplomatic relations were officially established between China and the US.

"Thirty-four years after the Chinese ship Liu Lin Hai traveled from Shanghai to Seattle, Delta nonstop service will connect Seattle and Shanghai again," Washington state governor Jay Robert Inslee wrote in a letter read at the press conference by Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani. "China is Washington State's top trading partner. Delta's nonstop service to Shanghai, in addition to nonstop service to Beijing, will make the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport a premier west coast gateway to China."

"Especially for business travel," added Joseph Borich, president of Washington State's US-China Relations Council. "Often times Shanghai is the destination for business with China. I see many of our members looking forward to the nonstop service."

Like all of Delta's trans-Pacific flights, the new Shanghai service features full flat-bed seats in Business Elite, as well as Economy Comfort seating and in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. The flight will operate using a 208-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with 36 full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, 29 seats in Economy Comfort and 143 Economy class seats.

Delta flight 589 will depart from Seattle daily at 2:30 pm and arrive at Shanghai at 5:50 pm the following day. Return flight 588 leaves Shanghai the following day at 12:20 pm to arrive in Seattle at 8:50 am the same day. Flight timing is ideal for connections on both ends, Delta said.

Shanghai service is Delta's second route between Seattle and China, following Beijing service, which began in 2010.

In Seattle, Delta has enhanced its facility, including a new Delta Sky Club, new power ports, expanded ticket counters and lobby renovations as part of its ongoing $3 billion investment to improve service.

Delta's international expansion and customer enhancements in Seattle are through a strategic partnership with Alaska Airlines that benefits customers of both carriers by creating more travel options in the Pacific Northwest region. Travelers on Delta's new Shanghai service will have convenient connection times to 58 US cities via the two airlines' domestic network.

Likewise from Shanghai, Delta's partnership with China Eastern will provide extensive connection opportunities throughout China for customers traveling from Seattle.

In addition to its Asian routes, Delta operates nonstop service from Seattle to Paris and Amsterdam. This summer the airline will operate more than 45 daily flights to 18 destinations worldwide from Seattle.

Delta's recent partnership with Virgin Atlantic also provides the opportunity to offer new service between Seattle and London-Heathrow, pending government approval.

The expanded service between Seattle and Asia allows the airline to build up its presence in Asia and capitalize on the ready-made Asian passenger base in Seattle for both leisure and business travel.

Statistics from show that 14 percent of the city's population is of Asian descent, which is higher than the 1 percent Asian population in Delta's Detroit hub, the 3 percent representation in its Atlanta headquarters and the nearly 6 percent Asian population in the carrier's Minneapolis hub.

(China Daily USA 06/18/2013 page2)