Cancellations of holiday flights are increasing due to Covid-19 manning problems and bad weather

Data from the website FlightAware shows that more than 4,731 flights were canceled globally on Saturday – by far the largest day of cancellations since the meltdown began on Christmas Eve. At least 2,739 of the cancellations were within, in or out of the United States.

Sunday cancellations in the US already count 1827 flights, FlightAware showed. Sunday is generally the busiest travel day of the week, and this Sunday is probably a heavy travel day when the Christmas holidays and New Year’s week end. The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that it expects to screen 10 million people from Friday to Monday.

Including Sunday, airlines have canceled more than 14,000 flights in the last 1[ads1]0 days, including Christmas Eve, according to a CNN census of FlightAware data.

The problem is likely to continue into next week because it takes time for airlines to recover from the weather problems alone. More than 310 US flights have already been canceled for Monday.

The cancellations were across the board for US carriers. The big four on Saturday: Southwest canceled 13%, Delta 10%, American and United 8%.

About a quarter of flights departing from Chicago O’Hare on Sunday have been canceled, after 44% of flights from O’Hare were canceled on Saturday and 54% of flights were canceled from Midway.

Allegiant canceled 27% of the scheduled times on Saturday, or 64 flights. Spokeswoman Hilarie Gray acknowledged weather and Covid-19 staffing issues in a message to CNN:

“As you may have noticed, we continue to have an unusual number of cancellations this week – some due to severe weather, and some due to other factors – including the type of unforeseen covid staff that other airlines have experienced and partners in places where we are flying.

“The ongoing impact of these factors is not something we can predict, but we expect more delays and cancellations this week, unfortunately. Of course when an unforeseen disruption occurs, customer service alerts the affected passengers directly and forwards options to be resumed. – accommodated on another flight, receive a refund, credit or other compensation. “

A perfect storm

Airlines have already worked on the Omicron variant, which has led to a unique increase in Covid-19 cases, and many airline employees have been unable to work. The Federal Aviation Administration has also warned several of its own employees test positive, which can limit flights.
2022 starts with a shower of severe weather

Now a new challenge is adding to the travelers’ problems: a big storm is shooting over the Rockies and the Midwest, bringing ice and heavy snow. Nearly a quarter of flights at Kansas City International Airport were canceled on Saturday. In Detroit, the airlines canceled one of five flights.

Delta Air Lines (FROM) told CNN Business that it estimates that between 200 and 300 of the more than 4,000 daily flights will be canceled during the holiday weekend. It also advised people traveling in Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Seattle and the central and southern Rocky Mountain regions to consider changing their travel plans given the weather.
Southwest Airlines (LUV) told CNN Business that all the problems have been caused by the weather.

CNN Business’ Chris Isidore contributed to this story.

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