‘I’m going to overlook Christmas with my household!’ 1000’s of flights canceled globally attributable to omicron’s unfold


‘Tis the season for cancellations.

Thousands of flights were canceled around the world over the Christmas weekend as the COVID-19 Omicron variant continued to spread rapidly and put pressure on staff at both airports and airlines.

According to FlightAware, which tracks delays and cancellations in real time, 2,855 flights worldwide and 2,054 early Sunday were canceled on Christmas Day, while 996 flights to or from the US were canceled on Christmas Day and 633 on Sunday.

Delta Air Lines canceled a total of 441 flights on Christmas Day and early Sunday, United Airlines canceled 220 flights on both days, Jet Blue JBLU, + 0.20%, canceled 236 flights and American Airlines AAL canceled 151 flights.

The Transportation Security Administration said 30 million people are expected to travel from December 20 through January 3, up from about 44 million during the 2019 holiday season because of the coronavirus pandemic alone.

Passengers used Twitter TWTR, + 0.59%, to express their frustration and disappointment. “I will miss Christmas with my family!” Wrote one man. “They canceled my direct flight on Christmas Eve,” tweeted another airline passenger.

“This week’s nationwide surge in Omicron cases has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations,” United Airlines UAL said, +0.67% in a statement released on Christmas Eve.

“So we unfortunately had to cancel some flights and inform affected customers in advance when they come to the airport.” The airline said it was working hard to rebook passengers.

“Delta DAL, + 0.43% teams have exhausted all options and resources – including rerouting and replacing aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flights,” the airline said in a statement ahead of the Christmas weekend.

Covid-19, the disease caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus, has killed 809,300 Americans. According to the New York Times tracker, the US has a daily average of 197,358 new cases, up 65% in two weeks.

Related: Cancellation of Christmas travel plans due to COVID-19? This will avoid wasting time and money

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