Winter Storms and Omicron Continue to Exacerbate Number of Flight Delays and Cancellations

Southwest Reports ‘Uptick’ in Crew Absences as Flight Cancellations and Delays Mount

By Paul Riegler on 6 January 2022
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Southwest Airlines cancelled 611 flights on Thursday, a full 20% of its scheduled departures, and posted an additional 750 delays, representing 24% of its schedule.

Airlines operating in the United States cancelled 2,017 flights Monday as of 5:30 p.m. EST for flights within, flying into, or departing from the country, amid severe winter weather in portions of the country exacerbated the travel chaos already caused by crew members calling in sick due to positive coronavirus tests.

The number of flights delayed in the United States was 3,242.

Southwest said it is “challenged” by weather conditions throughout the country, adding that it is seeing an “uptick” in sick calls by crew members due to Covid.

As a result of the staffing disruptions, the Dallas-based carrier said it would extend its holiday bonus pay for crew members through January 25.

In a memorandum to employees from Sonya Lacore, the airline’s vice president of inflight operations that was viewed by Frequent Business Traveler, the airline said it was its “hope to stabilize the operation again as we work through winter storms, navigate the national Covid-19 spike, and maintain sufficient staffing.”

Elsewhere in the United States, regional carrier SkyWest had cancelled 248 flights or 10% of its Thursday schedule, while United Airlines said it had cancelled 11% of its flights for the day, or 236 flights.  Alaska Airlines cancelled 122 flights, some 16%, on Thursday, with an additional 103 flights, or 14%, delayed.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines only were forced to cancel 2% of their respective schedules on Thursday.

Southwest has already announced 369 cancellations, 11% of its schedule, for Friday, while United has posted 159 cancellations and JetBlue, 150.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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