Delta flight to China turned around midway because new Covid cleaning rules "not viable"

Last week, a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Shanghai turned around halfway through the trip, inexplicably returning passengers to the airport they had just left. Now we know why.

Apparently, Shanghai Pudong International Airport had just announced new Covid cleaning rules that weren't "viable" for Delta.

In an email statement, Delta said the Shanghai airport's new cleaning mandates "require significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for Delta."

According to AP, China Airlines and EVA Air cut back on flights to Shanghai "citing new disinfection procedures that will take longer to complete." But Delta seems to be the only flight that actually canceled a flight mid-air when they realized they'd have to spend more time (translation: more money) than planned at the airport. Their unexpected post-takeoff cancelation "left passengers with expired COVID-19 test results and U.S. visas."