Christmas Travelers Face Hundreds of Cancelled Flights
Holiday travel is never fun. But this is year it’s turning out to be worse than normal with multiple airlines cancelling hundreds of flights. The main reason is that the highly contagious omicron variant of coronavirus has left airlines short-staffed.
There are over 600 flights canceled today in the United States and over 2,000 delays. Overseas there’s a similar situation, with over 1,700 canceled flights as reported by FlightAware.
United Airlines has cancelled 187 flights for Friday and 123 on Saturday, and was notifying customers before they arrived at the airport. “We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”
Delta Air Lines cancelled around 166 flights for Friday and another 167 tomorrow. It said some were due to potential bad weather, but it also noted the impact of the omicron variant on its aircraft crew and other workers.
Other domestic airlines are also canceling flights today. JetBlue has 72 cancellations today, Allegiant 34, American Airlines 16, and Alaska Airlines 11. They have also canceled some flights for tomorrow, but the numbers are not as high as United and Delta.
There’s one upside if you end up getting stuck at JFK. Shake Shack will give you free fries. It’ will not make up for your missed holiday plans, but it’s something.
According to Flightaware, nearly 3,700 flights were cancelled worldwide on Friday and Saturday. While more than half of the cancellations came from Chinese airlines, about 20% were from U.S.-based carriers.
Airlines for America (A4A), a lobby group for airlines, is looking at CDC to help with staffing shortages. It sent a letter director Rochelle Walensky asking to change current guidelines from 10 days of isolation for flight crew to 5 days from the onset of symptoms for those who experience a breakthrough infection.