United cancels flights from Delhi on the back of Covid-19 concerns; to resume from April 25

There seems to be more friction in the way flights from/to India will operate in the coming days, and we can anticipate more difficulties and confusion in the times ahead. United seems to be one of the airlines which appears to have been affected by some new change implemented at Delhi Airport. On April 22, 2021, the flight eventually flew back with fewer passengers and the flight for April 23, 2021, was cancelled.

The Backstory

Here is the update from United Airlines on the flight to operate from April 22, 2021, between Delhi and Newark. The “unconfirmed” requirements seem to be about RT-PCR Testing at Delhi Airport, where the crew refused and flew back on the plane, taking back along any crew in Delhi hosted for operating future flights as well.

The customers were not impressed, and United did not want to leave any crew behind, offering up to USD 5000 for people to drop out of the flight for the evening.

Subsequently, the flight between Delhi and Newark for April 23, 2021, was cancelled, owing to “ongoing CoVid-19 travel requirement discussions with local authorities.”

a screenshot of a message

As per MoneyControl, who received a statement from United,

As we seek clarity regarding COVID-19 travel requirements to India, we have temporarily suspended service to DEL for April 22 and canceled the corresponding return flights. We are working to provide alternate options to our customers and plan to resume our scheduled service as soon as possible.

The UA899 Delhi – Chicago and UA868 Delhi – San Francisco have been cancelled for April 24, 2021.

Update: As per more reporting by the Business Standard, the flights are set to resume from April 25, 2021.


United has cancelled flights from India in the foreseeable future, and per social media, customers have been offered flights into Mid-May 2021 with current cancellations. Air India, although, looks okay to operate flights at the moment between India and the USA non-stop.

This is another one of those big stops where Indians will face troubles in the days ahead travelling outside the country, this time to the USA. Check before you leave home.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Legally you are (actually QR is) not allowed to transit trough Doha.

    You night be able to go through the current confusion sieve but bubble agreement (commercial aviation has been suspended for the last 12 months) is for direct flights only.

    Be prepared to be disallowed from boarding at Indian airport.

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