A United Airlines flight was ordered to stay out of Russia by authorities on Wednesday, just days after a doctor was violently dragged from a flight.
A United flight from San Fransisco to Shanghai, China was diverted away from Russian airspace for “diplomatic reasons,” according to reports from passengers.
The unscheduled diversion forced the flight to refuel at Tokyo’s Narita airport.
United has come under severe criticism over the last few days after a doctor was dragged from an overbooked flight by airport security after having had his teeth smashed for not cooperating with the airline.
Whilst the reason for the diversion hasn’t been made clear, some people believe it may be to do with the tense relations between the U.S. and Russia over the recent false flag attack in Syria on April 4.
In 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev discussed the idea of banning Western airlines access to Russian airspace.
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.”