It was reported that Russia no longer welcomes the United Airlines into their airspace.
A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Shanghai, China was diverted from flying over Russian airspace for “diplomatic reasons” early Wednesday morning, passengers on the flight say.
Those diplomatic concerns forced the flight to refuel at Tokyo’s Narita airport, the flight’s captain told passengers, several of whom posted about it on social media.
It is not entirely clear what diplomatic concerns may have forced the diversion. The most obvious explanation would be the tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia over Syria’s use of chemical weapons during an attack on April 4.
Flight logs tracked on the website FlightAware show that the flight from San Francisco was diverted at 7:32 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The flight, which normally takes less than 13 hours, was delayed nearly three hours. It left San Francisco’s airport at 2:10 p.m. local time on Tuesday and arrived in Shanghai at 8:22 p.m. local time.
A spokesman for United Airlines confirmed to The Daily Caller that the flight was re-routed and that because the airplane “required a longer route,” it was forced to refuel.
The spokesman declined to comment on whether diplomatic concerns were at play. He said that United is in communication with air traffic control, including the Federal Aviation Administration, to determine the reason for the diversion.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration sent this statement after publication:
“A U.S. flight was routed around Russian airspace Tuesday. These kinds of reroutes are routine and most often occur when there are issues with the paperwork that is filed to obtain clearances to access that airspace.”