United, Delta Cancel Hundreds of Christmas Eve Flights Due to Covid-Related Staffing Shortages

By Kurt Stolz on 23 December 2021
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Airlines in the United States began to cancel hundreds of flights on Thursday that were scheduled to operate on Christmas Eve as the omicron variant began to dramatically impact airline staffing.

United Airlines, the world’s fourth largest carrier, cancelled at least 173 flights as of 10 a.m. EST on Friday, along with at least 68 scheduled for Christmas Day, while Delta Air Lines, the second largest carrier, had cancelled 143 for Friday and 104 for Saturday, according to data from FlightAware, which tracks such information.

Other airlines including JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines also posted cancellations in the coming days, bringing the total to over 1,500 just in the United States alone.

American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, said early Friday that it did not have any flight cancellations for either day at the present time.

In prepared statements, airline officials said that they were working to rebook passengers to the extent possible to get them to their destinations.

United said that the omicron variant’s “direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation” led to the cancellations.

“As a result,” United said, “we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”

Meanwhile, Delta said that it had “exhausted all options and resources –  including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying –  before canceling around 90 flights for Friday.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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