Trans-pacific airlines avoiding North Korea?

I am flying from San Francisco to Shanghai next week and noticed this interesting flight route for United’s flight yesterday.

a map of the world with a plane











It appears that flight is diverting to avoid travelling over North Korea, although it seems odd it doesn’t go West rather than East.


  1. It’s not only avoiding North Korea, it’s avoiding certain areas of mainland China. My wife and I live in Hong Kong and often fly to Shanghai and Beijing, and there are narrow corridors cleared for commercial traffic with the rest being reserved for military. Many times had a bumpy flight and been told by the pilot that not much they can do about it since they’re locked into the flightpath.

  2. That’s odd, going all the way to Japan since they weren’t avoiding flying over China (as it sometimes happens). Looks like it flew almost to KIX before continuing towards Seoul and then to PVG…

  3. I have noticed the same thing on SQ flights between SFO and ICN. Sometimes we cross over North Korea and sometimes we don’t.

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