More than 6,000 flights were canceled worldwide over the long Christmas weekend and thousands more were delayed, according to a tracking website, as the highly infectious Omicron variant causes millions of vacation damage.

The travel chaos in the United States is exacerbated by storms in the west of the country, which devastated the roads and other routes there, although it could well bring a white Christmas weekend in the northwestern US cities of Seattle and Portland.

According to, nearly 2,800 flights around the globe were cleaned up on Saturday, including more than 970 to or from US airports, with more than 8,000 delays as of 01:30 GMT.

There were around 2,400 cancellations and 11,000 delays on Friday, while the cancellations on Sunday have already exceeded the 1,100 mark.

Pilots, flight attendants and other staff members have called in sick or had to be quarantined after exposure to COVID-19, forcing Lufthansa, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and many other short-staffed airlines to stop flights during one of the Annual peak travel times to cancel.

“Help @united flight canceled again. I want to come home for Christmas, ”a disgruntled Vermont traveler tweeted the airline early Saturday.

Flightaware data showed United canceled about 200 flights on Friday and nearly 250 on Saturday – about 10 percent of scheduled flights.

Attempts have been made to reroute pilots and planes and reassign staff, but the rise of Omicron has turned the business upside down.

“The nationwide surge in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations,” United said in a statement Friday.

“As a result, we unfortunately had to cancel some flights and inform affected customers in advance before they come to the airport,” said the airline.

Similarly, Delta canceled 310 flights on Saturday and already canceled several dozen more on Sunday as it “ran out of options and resources – including rerouting and replacing planes and crews to cover scheduled flights”.

“We apologize to our customers for delaying their vacation travel plans,” the company said.

The cancellations added to pandemic frustration for many people who were severely curtailed after last year’s Christmas gatherings looking to reunite with their families over the holidays.

Most of the cancellations were made by Chinese airlines, with China Eastern canceling more than 1,000 flights – more than 20 percent of its flight schedule – on Friday and Saturday and Air China also cutting around 20 percent of its scheduled departures during that period.

“Insidious” snow conditions

The American Automobile Association estimates that more than 109 million Americans would travel by plane, train, or car between December 23 and January 2, 34 percent more than the previous year.

However, most of these plans were made before the outbreak of Omicron, which has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in the United States, overwhelming some hospitals and healthcare workers.

New York state announced on Friday that it was seeing 44,431 new positive COVID-19 tests daily, a record while new cases also rose across the country.

On the weather front, the National Weather Service (NWS) announced winter storm warnings, including a deep freeze for much of the west, while the eastern states were unusually warm.

“Abnormally cold conditions and a flood of Pacific humidity result in prolonged periods of mountain snow and coastal / valley rain, some of which can sometimes fall heavily,” the NWS said in a statement.

Stunning snow of 61-122 cm (24-48 in) was forecast for this weekend, with higher accumulation in some locations in the northern and central Sierra Mountains of California and Oregon.

Traveling from the sierras to the central Rocky Mountains on weekends will be “tricky to sometimes impossible” due to the whiteout snow conditions, added the NWS.