BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Travelers across the world faced a holiday full of flight delays and cancellations over the weekend as airlines faced COVID-driven crew shortages during one of the busiest travel times of the year.
The weekend saw more than 3,000 flights canceled across the U.S., with hundreds cancelled on Monday, according to Flight Aware.READ MORE: Councilman Mark Conway Announces Hearing On GTTF Report
Delta, United and JetBlue made up the majority of disrupted flights.
“Our flight was yesterday morning,” Kelly, traveler said. “Every year we fly on Christmas day… and it was cancelled.”
Kelly is one of thousands of travelers hoping to make it to their family for Christmas this year.
Delta, United and JetBlue issued an apology to customers and said staff are working hard to rebook flights.READ MORE: Howard County Officials Announce $1,800 Bonuses For County's Educators
“Winter weather in portions of the U.S. and the omicron variant continued to impact Delta’s holiday weekend flight schedule,” says Delta Airlines. “Of the 4,155 total mainline and connection flights scheduled Sunday, the airline had canceled 161, with around 40 more cancelations forecasted for the day, fewer cancelations than predicted less than a day ago. Delta expects that around 40 flights may be canceled Monday.”
Delta surpassed that number on Monday morning, with 70 flights cancelled so far.
JetBlue Airways outlined steps they are taking to minimize Omicron risk while maintaining efficiency, including:
- “Trimming our schedule in advance to give customers as much notice as possible and reduce last-minute cancellations at the airport.
- Cancelling flights where there is the least amount of disruption to customers, especially in cases where we can combine flights to the same destination.
- Deploying leaders and managers to staff frontline operations where they are trained to do so.
- Offering additional incentives for crewmembers not scheduled to work to pick up additional shifts and trips.”
“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” Maddie King, United Airlines Spokesperson said. “As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers 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 for the holidays.”MORE NEWS: Man Killed & 16-Year-Old Wounded In East Baltimore Shooting, Police Say
Major airlines and frontline organizations are now calling on the CDC to shorten the isolation period for symptomless and fully vaccinated people, similar to what they’ve done for healthcare workers, so people can potentially return to work sooner.