Is Omicron leading to flight cancellations? How can I find out if my flight is canceled?
Delta and United Airlines have canceled over a hundred flights on Christmas Eve. We put together a travel guide to see if you will be impacted.
Thousands of people have received notifications that their Christmas flights have been canceled.
Many airlines had been struggling to staff up to their pre-pandemic levels and now Omicron and severe winter weather are straining the fragile system more. But in recent days, more staff have begun to test positive, and some airlines including American, Delta, and United have begun to cancel holiday flights.
In a statement released by United Airlines, the company said, "the nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights.” United is working to rebook customers as soon as possible, but with so many flights, and a dwindling number of employees, it could take time.
A Delta statement told a similar story, saying that their "teams have exhausted all options and resources -- including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying -- before canceling around 90 flights for Friday.”
Delta has cancelled ninety-one flights on Christmas Eve and an additional ninety on Christmas Day.
The most effected departure cities include:
The airlines are clearly struggling, and as they confront these challenges it is important to remember that small businesses in other sectors are also being impacted by Omicron. Some restaurants and shops have closed their doors voluntarily as their staff and customers get sick and business drops. With no federal aid in sight, these economic issues could risk the economic recovery thus far.
How do I know if my flight has been canceled?
If your flight has been canceled, the airline should inform you of any changes. Additionally, the website Flight Aware tracks the majority of flight delays and cancellations for major airlines.
What airlines are represented by Airlines for America?
Delta has canceled ninety-one flights on Christmas Eve and an additional ninety on Christmas Day. Some of the most impacted cities include Atlanta, Detriot, Minneapolis, New York City, and Salt Lake City.
United has canceled 145 flights on Christmas Eve and an additional forty-four flights on Christmas Day.
Airlines advocate for a shorter quarantine period for workers
On Thursday 23 December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed their guidelines to allow healthcare workers who test positive for covid but show no symptoms to stop their quarantine after seven days instead of ten. Airlines for America (AFA) wrote a letter to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, asking the agency to make similar vaccinated airline workers, both those who have symptoms and do not. The letter proposes "an isolation period of no more than 5 days from symptom onset for those who experience a breakthrough infection."
The Association of Flight Attendants also sent a letter to the CDC condemning the move made by AFA. The letter sent by International President, Sara Nelson urged "the CDC to err on the side of caution by ensuring a suitable number of isolation days so that the people who remain either infectious, symptomatic, or both are not circulating and infecting others."