United Airlines has cancelled flights to Delhi due to bad air quality

Delhi’s air pollution has reached such severe levels that United Airlines has decided to cancel all its flights arriving into IGIA, Delhi until Monday, November 13, 2017.

Delhi Air Pollution

IGIA Airport Delhi during smog

Flights to Delhi from Newark and New Jersey have currently been suspended between November 9 and November 13, 2017. The airline has said that any change fee and any difference in fare will be waived off for passengers booked on  United flights departing until November 18, 2017. Travel can be rescheduled in any fare class in the same cabin.

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Turns out that the current air quality in Delhi is worse by 40 times the World Health Organization’s safety levels.  United in its statement said that:

“United has temporarily suspended our Newark-Delhi flights due to poor air quality concerns in Delhi and currently has waiver policies in place for customers who are travelling to, from or through Delhi,”

“We are monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies.”

New Delhi’s air quality is presently ranked among the world’s worst, even leaving behind Beijing in China. Though every year around this time the problem worsens when farmers in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn their fields after the crop harvest sending severe smoke in the city.

The government has been taking various initiatives like prohibiting burning crackers and reducing air pollution from cars but nothing seems to be working.


  1. Agreed that the Delhi is under the wave of smoke and pollution, but this is not the exact reason of cancelling flights. The condition was more worse in Beijing last year but they didn’t cancelled any flight, so pollution is just an excuse. And for pollution, we should try our best to come up with some solutions and cooperate government.

  2. While the problem of pollution no doubt seems scary just by reading about it, the way United Airlines are reacting is not justified. They didn’t cancel their flights to beijing when the pollution level there was similar or even more worse.. This is a lame excuse being given to cover up for some other internal issue

    • Agreed, I’m stuck in Dheli currently- if they are so concerned about our “safety” then why aren’t they letting people out? All my colleagues were able to fly out of Deli successfully last night. Very frustrating, and I’ve been told to not be optimistic about reimbursements because it is “weather” related. They cancelled well over 24 hours in advance, doesn’t make sense. Will be curious if the “true” reasoning for the flight cancellation ever makes it out.

  3. What a dumb excuse to cancel the flights. Rather than pretending it to be because of “health concerns” , they should admit it’s because of the long delays on the tarmac. On Wednesday , I myself sat inside the plane for a good 3 hours , and so did all the passengers in the Air Canada flight right next to mine.

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