A man looks at the departure board at Salt Lake City International Airport on Friday. In the US alone, thousands of flights were canceled over the Christmas weekend, with airlines citing bad weather and the pandemic. Rick Bowmer / AP Hide caption
Rick Bowmer / AP
Rick Bowmer / AP
The travel stress during the Christmas season has only escalated with the advent of the Omicron variant. Several airlines report Shortage of staff before the spread of the coronavirus, leaving passengers with delayed or canceled flights.
According to flight tracking Flight conscious, 997 flights within, to, or out of the United States were canceled at Christmas. So far, another 888 flights have been canceled on Sunday. They are among the more than 5,000 flights that were canceled worldwide this weekend.
Hundreds of the delayed and canceled flights come from China Eastern and Air China, but US airlines such as Delta, United and JetBlue are also seeing high cancellations.
“The winter weather in parts of the United States and the Omicron variant influenced the Delta flight schedule on Saturday, Christmas Day, to continue to prevent these cancellations,” Delta Airlines said in a statement to NPR on Saturday afternoon.
Delta had expected more than 200 of its flights to be canceled on Sunday; By early afternoon Eastern Time, 161 had been canceled, the airline said. delta says it canceled 375 flights on Saturday and 212 on Friday.
American Airlines, which canceled at least 88 flights on Saturday, said in a statement to NPR that their operations were “running smoothly” but that COVID-related medical calls caused them to pre-cancel some of their scheduled flights for the day. Affected customers were notified on Friday, it said.
While air traffic regained momentum before the Omicron variant surfaced, the massive increase in positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks has raised concerns among airlines for the safety of flight personnel and passengers.
Legislators, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Are calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Aviation Administration to make a sweeping change and require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to cope with everyone to be able to travel domestic flights.
“Ensuring the health and safety of air travelers and their target communities is of crucial importance in order to contain the sustained increase in COVID-19, especially as the virus continues to develop,” the legislators wrote in a Letter to the CDC and FAA on Monday.
“Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for domestic flights would improve public health and address passenger concerns about flying,” the letter said.
Vaccination protocols for international travelers entering the US are according to the CDC.