Delta Air Lines launched its new nonstop service from Sea-Tac to Shanghai this month, both increasing the number of non-stop connections to Asia that the airline provides, and providing a non-stop flight from Seattle to Shanghai. Direct flights from Greater Seattle to Asia are a rarity even with the continual increase in importance of the relationships between the Pacific Northwest and, particularly, Eastern Asia; in fact, when Hainan Airlines inaugrated their non-stop route from Sea-Tac to Beijing in 2008, Governor Gregoire announced “Hainan Airlines Day” on June 9, 2008 in celebration of the decision.
The route joins Delta’s several other non-stop connections to Asia, including Beijing, Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda, and Osaka. Delta’s partnership with China Eastern will also give travelers good connections to locations within China. On the American side, the flight is also intended to be a one-stop haul for Shanghai to New York, providing ease of transit for Chinese travelers going on to the East Coast.