Share this @internewscast.com
Flight cancellations within the US have topped 1,000 for the 12th day in a row as airlines battle inclement weather and staff shortages from the Omicron variant during a winter that has seen travel numbers climb back to pre-pandemic levels.
Airlines have cancelled 2,000 flights and delayed 2,900 flights going to, from or within the country as of Thursday afternoon, according to tracking website FlightAware.
Southwest, United and Skywest have recorded the most disruptions today, with Southwest alone cancelling 580 flights and delaying 589.
On Monday, Delta blamed ‘a series of winter weather systems throughout the US coupled with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant’ for straining its operations.
United Airlines, which cancelled 236 flights and delayed 199 on Thursday, blamed the ‘nationwide spike in Omicron’ in a statement provided to DailyMail.com.
Thursday marked the 12th consecutive day of more than 1,000 flight cancellations in the US
Airlines on Thursday axed 2,000 flights and delayed 2,900 flights. Above, travelers at Newark airport in New Jersey rest before their flights on Monday
Airlines have the Omicron variant as a reason for the disruptions. Above, passengers walk through the Miami International Airport on Monday
On Wednesday, 1,790 flights were cancelled and more than 6,000 were delayed within the United States. Above, travelers at the Delta counter at Salt Lake City airport on December 30
Airlines like United have also blamed bad winter weather for disrupting flight patterns
Meanwhile, travelers continue to sound off on social media after their post-holiday plans are thwarted, with many having a hard time getting back home after enduring delays and cancellations en route to holiday destinations.
Flights have been disrupted since before Christmas Eve, but Thursday marks the 12th consecutive day that flight cancellations have topped 1,000.
Nearly 1,000 US flights were cancelled on Christmas and more than 3,000 were delayed, with travelers sleeping on airport floors and desperately lining up at check-in counters in airports across the country.
On Wednesday, 1,790 flights were cancelled and more than 6,000 were delayed within the United States. The trend continued on Thursday.
People are still taking to Twitter to complain about widespread flight cancellations
One twitter user wrote, ‘Guess I live in Maryland now since my flight has been cancelled 4 times.’
Another one added: ‘Southwest cancelled my flight tomorrow morn and they better not cancel my evening flight now.’
Customers are jamming up phone lines along with check-in counters.
‘First time in years I booked a trip on @united,’ wrote upstate New York radio host Robbie Raugh.
‘My trip was cancelled twice in the last 4 hours without any other flights available. And now your message says you can’t process the refund and I need to call. Of course the wait time is hours. I know times are tough but wow.’
‘The nationwide spike in Omicron cases has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,’ United said in a statement to DailyMail.com
‘As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and have been working to notify impacted customers up to a week in advance of them coming to the airport. We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way.’
Delta cancelled 55 flights and delayed 240 on Thursday. The airline also blamed winter weather and Omicron and said it was working to ‘reroute and substitute aircraft and crews’
The airline predicted more cancellations due to ‘winter weather’ in the Northeast and Denver in a tweet Wednesday.
Delta Airlines, which cancelled 55flights and delayed 240 on Thursday, cited similar reasons for the melees at airports across the country.
‘A series of winter weather systems throughout the US coupled with the rapidly spreading omicron variant put extraordinary pressure on our operation, our employees and customers like you,’ the company wrote Wednesday on its website.
‘It has been one of the most difficult operational environments we’ve ever faced, and it forced us to cancel hundreds of flights as a result.’
Delta says it’s ‘working to reroute and substitute aircraft and crews’ and to get people on the next available flight as soon as possible
The airline says it’s also removing change fees and extending SkyMiles and other reward benefits.
Southwest Airlines said wintery conditions at some of its largest hubs, including the main airports in Baltimore, Denver, Nashville and Chicago.
Travelers have grown frustrated as their holiday return plans have been thwarted. Above, people waiting in line at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in New York City
Some passengers have complained of long lines at airports and even longer queues to speak on the phone with a representative. Above, Miami International Airport on Monday
The cancellations come as travelers resume flying at numbers seen before the pandemic. Nearly 1.5 million people in the US flew on Wednesday, up from 665,855 who flew a year ago
‘As we work to balance staffing amid the weather disruptions, our COVID-19 sick call counts among Employees, and the required quarantines for close contact among other individuals, are experiencing an uptick. This uptick is reflective of the national COVID-19 trend but adds another layer of complication when working to recover our network.’ the airline wrote Thursday in a statement to DailyMail.com.
Regional airline Skywest, which carries United, Delta and American passengers on smaller routes, recorded 349 cancellations and 640 delays on Thursday.
Airlines are especially struggling as the surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant coincides with a rise in travel numbers that mirrors pre-pandemic days.
On Wednesday, January 5, the Transportation Security Administration checked nearly 1.5 million people at checkpoints in airports across the country.
That’s significantly up from the 665,855 people who traveled domestically a year ago and close to the 1.8 million people who traveled on January 5, 2020, before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Similarly, 1.7 million traveled through US airports on Christmas Eve, up from about 616,000 on December 25, 2020 and inching closer to the nearly 2.6 million who traveled on December 25, 2019, days after the first patients with COVID reported feeling shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The seven-day rolling average of 587,098 new cases remains up 95 percent from a week ago
Cases began soaring in December due to the more contagious Omicron variant
Deaths, however, have remained low, with 1,986 new deaths recorded Wednesday, a 15 percent decline from week-ago levels
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of 587,098 new cases remains up 95 percent from a week ago, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths remained low, with 1,986 new deaths recorded Wednesday, a 15 percent decline from week-ago levels on a rolling average basis. On a seven-day rolling average, the US has recorded 1,318 deaths.
Hospitalizations are increasing, but remain well below their peak levels a year ago. About 85,000 Covid patients are currently hospitalized in America’s hospitals, compared to a peak of 124,000 during last winter’s surge, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Experts predicted the current flight chaos back in October.
Pilots back then were already complaining about work conditions due to understaffing.
People wait outside a COVID-19 testing site at the Miami airport on Monday
‘We want that flying to get done, but we don’t want tickets sold that can’t be fulfilled,’ Capt. Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, told CNN at the time. ‘Are they biting off more they can they chew?’
In November, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby expressed concern about staff numbers. He said he supported vaccine mandates for staff because tests were unreliable.
‘Imagine if you have thousands of employees on one day calling in and saying, “For some reason, my test didn’t pass,'” he said to investors. ‘I mean it is going to be a huge challenge for airlines that are not implementing vaccine requirements. Customers can book with confidence on United. We’re done with it.’
United has cancelled 172 flights and delayed 568 on Thursday.
Source: Daily Mail