Omicron Surge Caused More Flights Cancellation On Christmas

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : December 29, 2021

Many Americans celebrated Christmas 2021, without their loved ones at the dinner table, due to concerns over the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

Omicron Surge Caused More Flights Cancellation On Christmas

Risks caused by this Omicron wave cancelled thousands of flights, kept many families apart and led to a new cycle of restrictions.

Omicron Surge Caused More Flights Cancellation On Christmas

As airports were hit by the pre-pandemic level crowds for the holidays, more than 900 flights were cancelled on Christmas day. According to data from FlightAware on Saturday, Delta airline cancelled 309 flights, United cancelled 240 flights, JetBlue had 123 and American Airlines had 92.

Globally, more than 5,000 flights were cancelled on Christmas Weekend, according to FlightAware, including about 1,700 flights within, to and from the U.S.

This new Omicron surge directly impacted the flight crews and operating staff. Because of this, unfortunately, airlines have had to cancel some flights. They are notifying impacted passengers in advance of them coming to the airport and also trying to rebook the tickets for passengers, a United Airlines spokesperson told CBS News in a statement. 

Delta teams exhausted all options – rerouting and substituting aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying before cancelling 90 flights on Friday, the airline member said on Friday.

They apologized to their customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working hard so that their customers can reach their destination quickly and safely on the next available flight.

Airlines are noticing an increasing number of sick calls from pilots and other staff due to Omicron like many other businesses and organizations, said JetBlue in a statement.

For this holiday season, they were ready with the highest staffing levels and are using all the resources to cover up their staffing needs. Regardless of their best efforts, they had to cancel the number of flights. Future flight cancellations and delays are possible due to high Omicron community spread, added JetBlue.

Alaska Airlines employees who are healthy will receive extra pay from working additional shifts this Christmas weekend. The airline said many of their employees were quarantined after reporting that they might have been exposed to Covid-19. Due to this reason they had to cancel 10 flights on Christmas Eve. 

A number of Covid-19 related sick calls led them to make a difficult decision to cancel some of the flights, an American Airlines representative said in a statement on Saturday. They are also apologising to their customers for the disruption to their holiday travel plans.

The group Airlines for America, which acts on behalf of all major U.S. airlines, asked the CDC to make the quarantine time shorter for fully vaccinated individuals.

Nick Calio, A4A’s CEO, proposed the quarantine period be shortened to five days for vaccinated people

Still, FlightAware tracked more than 120,000 arrivals in the last 24 hours.

Robert Sinclair, who is a manager of public affairs at AAA Northeast, confirmed that they are 27% ahead of last year; it shows people have more confidence with vaccines and the boosters.

CDC urges people who are planning to travel to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19, avoid crowded places and wear a well-fitting face mask.

As of Saturday, the U.S. recorded 73.2% of new infections are due to the Omicron variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. A couple of weeks back, it accounted for only 12.6% of new cases.

A new round of restrictions is implemented in countries across the world. Large outdoor gatherings are prohibited, shuttered theatres and museums and again restored mask mandates in the European countries.

Extreme winter weather is also the reason for flight cancellation. The National Weather Service predicted that the western U.S. could expect significant snowfall and rain through the holiday weekend. A snowstorm is expected to see by parts of the western U.S.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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