Flight delays, cancellations in the thousands
Thousands of travelers see vacation plans disrupted due to a combination of downsizing blamed on skyrocketing COVID-19 omicron variant and winter weather conditions causing thousands of flights to be canceled and delayed flights across the country.
According to FlightAware, between December 24 and 10:00 a.m. PT, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines were forced to cancel or delay more than 2,466 flights.
FlightAware’s Misery map, which describes flight disruptions, showed that the greatest number of problems were in the hub airline cities of Denver, Chicago and Seattle leading the pack.
See the misery map here
Much of the flight has been canceled because the airlines don’t have the flight crews to work them. This is, in part, due to the number of groundbreaking cases of COVID. If a person tests positive for the virus, airline protocols require the person to be quarantined for 10 days.
The week before Christmas, airline officials pleaded with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the required quarantine period from 10 to five days. The reduction has already been adopted by the health sector.
The soaring omicron variant is the second part of a punch suffered by airlines in the personnel department. In March 2020, when air travel fell by 90%, many airlines cut their salary costs by offering early retirement to senior flight crews. Many pilots and flight attendants took advantage of the offer. These crew members have yet to be replaced, although air travel is on the rise again, with several air hubs reporting pre-pandemic levels of travelers passing through their doors.
Mother Nature has also shaken airline schedules, as a winter storm crippled the Pacific Northwest with snow, ice, freezing rain and teenage temperatures. Cities in the Seattle metro area are mostly built on hills, and municipalities do not have a significant number of snow plows or sand trucks or the staff to operate them, making access difficult. at the airport and any other place if not impossible.
As the 2021 holiday season approaches, airline hub airports were already reporting passenger traffic at pre-pandemic levels on normal travel days.