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A Few Cheap Flight Deals, Courtesy of the Coronavirus Effect

A Few Cheap Flight Deals, Courtesy of the Coronavirus Effect
Anya Kartashova

Little stops avid adventurers, and the new virus outbreak isn’t one of those things. As airlines take extra precautions by canceling flights to China and airports across the globe take safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), wanderlusters are looking for ways to score cheap flights.

Before you get upset over irresponsible travel advice, let me make one thing clear. We don’t recommend throwing yourself to the wolves and booking a flight to Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus from China outbreak, tomorrow.

In fact, the U.S. Department of State has listed China at a Level 4: Do Not Travel “due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.” The more lenient Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges travelers to “avoid nonessential travel to China.”

Having said that, the World Health Organization (WHO) has maintained its advice for international travelers to “practice usual precautions” and advises against any international traffic limits. “In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider,” the WHO’s latest situation report said.

So, this article is definitely for an intrepid traveler who will practice cough etiquette, wash their hands frequently and avoid close contact with people with acute respiratory infections. At the end of the day, it’s your call to make. None of these flights actually end in China—it’s just a list of deals to other Asian destinations. Who knows, there might be a vaccine developed by the time you travel.


Cheap Flight Deals Tokyo Japan

Los Angeles to Tokyo for $485 on Xiamen Air

If you’d like to visit Tokyo right before the Golden Week festivities, which take place between April 29 and May 6, then consider a flight with Xiamen Air. Yes, you will have a layover in Xiamen, China, but it’s 645 miles (or 1,037 kilometers) away from Wuhan, China, where the first case of the new coronavirus was registered.

Take lots of preflight vitamins, wash your hands frequently and limit close contact with other passengers. To put things in perspective, Japan has confirmed 161 coronavirus cases, 135 of which happened on a cruise ship in Japanese waters, according to the WHO. Japan’s population is about 126 million (2019).



Air China Business Class Cheap Flights Tokyo


New York City to Tokyo in Business Class for $2,232 on Air China

If flying in comfort is what you’re after, then this business-class deal from New York City (JFK) to Tokyo Narita might be more your speed. You’ll fly in a lie-flat seat on the almost-12-hour flight to Beijing and continue on in an angled-flat seat on the three-hour flight to Tokyo.

Again, you’ll have to make a stop in China in both directions, so it’s something to keep in mind before making the decision to take the trip to Japan in business class.


Cheap Flight Deals to Asia

San Francisco to Seoul for $705 on EVA Air

South Korea is a great country to visit during the month of May, and EVA Air happens to be selling flights from San Francisco to Seoul for $705. It’s a bit pricier than the first example to Tokyo, but it’s still a good price point.

You’ll make one stop in Taipei, Taiwan, in each direction. The country is moving against the virus outbreak and has been urging nations to lift already-imposed travel bans to Taiwan by asking not to be included with the One-China policy. As of Feb. 11, the country has confirmed 18 cases of the illness per population of about 24 million (2018).


Cheap Flights to Singapore

Seattle to Singapore for $568 on United Airlines

Gardens by the Bay and the hawker stalls are calling your name. This great deal for Seattleites doesn’t even involve traveling via China at all. You’ll fly in economy class to Singapore on United Airlines via San Francisco in both directions for just $568 round-trip.

Cheap Flight Deals to Asia

The city-state, home to about 5.6 million people (2018), has had 45 cases of coronavirus so far, as per the WHO.


Cheap Flight Deals to Thailand Bangkok

The Floating Markets in Thailand

Chicago to Bangkok for $530 on United, ANA

This itinerary from the Chi-town to the Thai capital in March costs just $530 and takes you all the way to Bangkok via Tokyo. The return requires an overnight layover in Tokyo, but you can book a night at a nearby hotel or even inside the airport at one of the two hotels.

As is the case with the deal above, you don’t have to pass through China to get to Thailand. The Southeast Asian country has confirmed 33 cases of the new virus for a population of 69 million (2017).

No countries, except for China (1,017) and the Philippines (1), have registered any deaths related to the new coronavirus as of Feb. 11.


Would you travel to Asia in the midst of the coronavirus from China? Why or why not?

View Comments (9)


  1. CaliforniaSteve

    February 12, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Not sure where you are getting your numbers on infections. As of this morning (2/12), Singapore had reported 50 (per Ministry of Health and reported on Yahoo Singapore; WHO reported 45 on its webpage as of 2/11), not 90. And Thailand had reported 33, not 66 (per WHO webpage).

  2. view-with-a-room

    February 12, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Over 1000 people are dead and you have medical advice to “(t)ake lots of preflight vitamins” and “limit close contact with other passengers”. The context of the article is of interest but the “humor” isn’t. Zero options to limit close contact with other passengers on a plane.

  3. OZFLYER86

    February 12, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    all airlines will be doing some insanely low airfares, to stimulate air travel, as international leisure airline bookings die. Domestic travel has even been effected apparently.


    February 13, 2020 at 11:40 am

    I’d like to know what the cruise ships that have been diverted are changing as their fares should be super cheap and likely they will avoid (at least for a while) the SE Asia coastline. To Austrailia, NZ, Middle East?

  5. FlyingNone

    February 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    ….”avoid close contact with people”….on an airplane ??
    The worst cold in my life I acquired by being in the same row with a coughing, sneezing, sniffling, hacking passenger.


    February 13, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    USA to Thailand is the biggest “no-brainer”. It’s totally stupid that neither Thai nor the US carriers fly the route.

  7. AnyaK

    February 14, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    @CaliforniaSteve: The numbers are from the WHO, but I accidentally read the table incorrectly. The post has been updated. Thanks!


    February 22, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I’m waiting to see the flights from the U.S. to Europe and other non-Asian destinations happen. AA, BA, United, etc all canceled flights to China so it seems they’d have a pile of planes and crew sitting around, it would make sense to start selling some off season cheap flights to places like Europe, South America, etc. to scratch back some cash at least, we can hope anyway…I haven’t seen any CV outbreaks in say Iceland? How bout it airline execs?

  9. googs185

    March 17, 2020 at 7:56 am

    These prices aren’t even that good, especially in the wake of Coronavirus. They should be MUCH cheaper.

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