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2,000 flights have been canceled this weekend with most likely due to Omicron wreaking havoc on the holiday

NEARLY 2000 flights have been canceled this weekend and more are likely being taken as the new Covid variant wreaks havoc on the festive season.

Flight tracking website Flight knowledge reported that nearly 1,000 flights departing, entering, or preparing to fly within the United States on Saturday were cancelled.

Travelers are seen going through security at Denver International Airport over Christmas weekend

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Travelers are seen going through security at Denver International Airport over Christmas weekend
Nearly 1,000 flights were canceled on Christmas Day alone thanks in part to the surge in Omicron

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Nearly 1,000 flights were canceled on Christmas Day alone thanks in part to the surge in Omicron
A family is seen wearing festive pajamas and matching masks at Orlando International Airport

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A family is seen wearing festive pajamas and matching masks at Orlando International AirportCredit: AP

This is up from 690 domestic flights that were canceled on Friday, while more than 250 flights were canceled for Sunday.

Globally, more than 6,000 flights were canceled between Christmas Eve and December 26.

Airports in New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles were among the hardest hit on Saturday.

On Friday, Delta, United and JetBlue all said the Omicron variant was causing staffing issues and leading to flight cancellations.

“This was unexpected,” United spokesman Maddie King said of the holiday tour.

Just before Sunday of Christmas weekend, FlightAware showed 989 domestic flights were cancelled, while 2,727 US-related flights were delayed.

It arrives after 690 on Christmas Eve with at least another 221 scheduled for December 26.

The three airlines canceled more than 10% of their scheduled Saturday flights.

American Airlines also canceled more than 90 flights on Saturday – about 3% of its schedule

In addition to Omicron’s strong impact with the earth, severe weather in some areas of the US also made travel complicated.

Forecasters have warned this week that holiday travel, particularly through high passes, will be hit by rain, mountain snow and strong gusts of wind.

The National Weather Service warned: “Travel will be difficult, at impossible time(s), from the Sierras to the heart of the Rockies this weekend due to white conditions and drifting snow.”

GLOBAL IMPACT

Germany-based Lufthansa said on Friday it had also canceled dozens of long-haul transatlantic flights because of a “huge increase” in pilots taking sick leave.

The cancellations of flights to Houston, Boston and Washington come despite a “large amount of additional staff” around this time.

Lufthansa said it could not speculate on whether Covid-19 infections or quarantines were responsible because it was not informed of the type of illness.

The airline said in a statement that “we have planned a very large buffer for the holiday. But this is not enough due to the high proportion of people coming to the clinic”.


The travel chaos comes as…


United said in a statement to several news outlets: “The spike across the country in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our fleet and those running our operations. we.

The airline added: “As a result, we have unfortunately had to cancel a number of flights and are notifying affected customers in advance of their arrival at the airport.”

United said it was working to re-enroll as many people as possible.

Delta said it was canceling flights on Friday because of the effects of Omicron and the possibility of bad weather after it had “exhausted all options and resources – including rerouting and replacing aircraft and crew to make scheduled flights.”

The airline said in a statement to several outlets that it was trying to get passengers to their destinations quickly.

TOURISM SURGE

Air travel across the United States is expected to increase to near pre-pandemic levels over the next few weeks.

United CEO Scott Kirby said Monday that he expects 420,000 customers a day to travel on United flights over the next two weeks.

The AAA’s holiday travel forecast, released last week, predicts a total of 6.4 million people will travel by air between December 23 and January 2.

This is an increase of 184% over the same period in 2020.

A total of 109.5 million people will travel over the holidays, according to AAA projections, despite growing concern about the new Covid variant.

About 100.1 million people are expected to travel by car, while about 2.9 million are expected to use other modes such as trains or buses.

This is up 33.9% from 2020, but still 8.2% lower than the pre-pandemic level of 119.3 million tourists in 2019.

The increase in travel comes as the US records nearly 187,000 new cases daily, up 55% over the past two weeks.

PASSENGER

For travellers, that means time away from loved ones, chaos at the airport and the stress of spending hours in line and on the phone trying to rebook a flight.

Peter Bockman, a retired actor, and his daughter Malaika, a university student, are expected to be in Senegal on Saturday to celebrate with loved ones they haven’t seen in a decade.

But their Friday night 7.30pm flight from New York to Dakar was canceled – and they didn’t find out until they got to the airport.

They were at the airport until 2am desperately trying to rebook the flight.

“Nobody sorted, tried to arrange everything,” he complained, blaming Delta for the lack of customer service.

“Nobody explained anything. Not even, “Oh, we’re so sorry, here’s what we can do to help you.”

They’ve booked a new flight for Monday night that will stop in Paris, but they’re worried they’ll have another travel nightmare when they reach Dakar.

COVID CHAOS

Since Covid hit the globe, flight delays and cancellations related to staffing shortages have been a regular problem for the US airline industry.

Airlines encouraged workers to quit in 2020, when the air travel industry collapsed and have cut staff this year as tourism activity recovers.

To ease staffing shortages, countries including Spain and the UK have reduced the Covid-19 quarantine period by allowing people to return to work sooner after testing positive or being exposed to the virus. virus.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian is among those who have called on the Biden administration to take similar steps or risk further disruption to air travel.

On Thursday, the United States shortened its Covid-19 isolation rules for healthcare workers only.

GET REFUND

If your holiday flight is cancelled, Department of Transportation (DOT) money-back guarantee.

“Passengers are entitled to a refund if the airline cancels the flight, whatever the reason, and the passenger chooses not to travel,” the DOT website states.

“DOT has not specifically determined what constitutes a ‘significant delay’,” the website continued.

“Whether you get a refund depends on many factors – including the length of the delay, the length of your flight, and your specific circumstances. DOT determines if you’ll get a refund after the delay. substantial on a case-by-case basis.”

While a refund is guaranteed, an alternative flight to your desired destination for the same price is not.

More expensive flights are common, and there is no guarantee that a flight will be scheduled on the same day.

United says the Omicron variant is causing staffing issues and leading to flight cancellations

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United says the Omicron variant is causing staffing issues and leading to flight cancellationsCredit: CBS News
Tourists wearing masks in Florida

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Tourists wearing masks in FloridaCredit: AP
Thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed

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Thousands of flights have been canceled or delayedCredit: CBS News
Passengers are seen waiting at Oakland International Airport on Christmas Eve

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Passengers are seen waiting at Oakland International Airport on Christmas EveCredit: Rex

Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90% or more in fully vaccinated people.

While there have been breakthrough cases of Covid in vaccinated people, they are rare.

In the event of a breakthrough case, it is highly unlikely that the victim will be hospitalized with severe symptoms or die from the virus.

Health officials have recommended that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakout cases.

However, the spread could be offset by all vaccinated Americans getting a booster shot.

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from infection with the Omicron variant.

With other variants, like Delta, the vaccine is still effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Studies have also shown that side effects from vaccines are extremely rare.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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