Delta, United Cancel 200 Christmas Eve Flights As Soaring Omicron Cases Hit Staff

United Airlines and Delta have canceled some 200 Christmas Eve flights as skyrocketing cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant take their toll on flight and ground crews.

The travel disruptions are the latest sign of the variant’s increasingly damaging impact on life that seemed only recently to be heading back to normal.

As of Thursday night, United had canceled 131 mainline flights for Friday, or about 7% of its schedule, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware, as rising numbers of workers began calling in sick.

Delta, which is cutting at least 90 flights, also blamed omicron’s impact on personnel — along with expected bad weather in its Salt Lake City and Seattle hubs.

The cutbacks are a last-minute blow to flyers heading to see loved ones over the holidays.

“The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” said a statement from United.

“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.”

Delta said the company has “exhausted all options and resources ― including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying ― before canceling around 90 flights for Friday.”

It also cancelled more than 80 Saturday flights, CNBC reported.

The airline is still operating nearly 3,100 flights Friday, though the number of cancellations, now 4% of its total flights, could still increase.

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” Delta said in a statement. “Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.”



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