Airlines canceled more than 1,600 flights for one of the busiest travel holiday weekends of the year as the omicron variant resulted in staffing shortages — stranding thousands of passengers at airports, according to Bloomberg.
Delta Air Lines Inc. canceled 523 flights between Friday and Sunday are the highest among US airlines so far, FlightAware data showed, followed by United Airlines Holdings Inc with 484 through the weekend.
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) December 25, 2021
FlightAware shows the brunt of the cancellations will be seen on Christmas day. So far, 871 flights have been canceled “within, into, or out of the US.” That number has been steadily increasing this morning.
FlightAware said the number of cancellations worldwide totaled more than 5,650 for the holiday weekend.
Delta and United have both said flight cancellations were due to staffing shortages linked to COVID-19 cases.
“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” a United memo said Friday, which CNN obtained.
The holidays are among the busiest times for travel. Many travelers who had their flights canceled or delayed vented on social media.
— A (@brwnbarbzz) December 25, 2021
@united one leg of my trip was cancelled this morning. Your website has no other available flights. I don’t want to spend Christmas in chicago. I want to spend it in SLC. HELP!!!
— Katie Kooiman (@KooimanKatie) December 25, 2021
@united cancelling my flight and then telling me that I need to pay them another $130 to move the flight (which could also likely get cancelled) is why they are the undefeated shittiest airline around.
— Duke Jeopardy (@DukeJeopardy) December 25, 2021
@Delta Cancelling our connecting flight while we are literally boarding our initial flight was not the Christmas present we were looking for.
— Troy (@rebertruns) December 25, 2021
@Delta HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!! Flight was canceled yesterday and I’ve been trying to get a refund since yesterday! Hours spent being sent from person to person only to be offered an ecredit!! I want my money back and the sky Miles I used to upgrade my flight
— Sonny Wigginton (@SonnyW08) December 25, 2021
It seems to us that Delta and United might have underestimated their sick/call rate and didn’t staff according for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. This becomes a reliability issue that will cause mistrust among travelers who will use other airlines.