United, Delta cancel dozens of Christmas Eve flights as COVID hits crews

Published on : Friday, December 24, 2021

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United Airlines and Delta Airlines cancelled dozens of Christmas Eve flights as COVID hit crews.

The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on thier flight crews and the people who run our operation, United said in a statement on Thursday.

United said it was trying to rebook travelers as possible.

U.S. airline executives this week asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials to loosen quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID to five days from the current 10, citing potential staffing shortages and flight disruptions.

The CDC loosened its guidelines for healthcare workers on Thursday.

United cancelled more than 131 mainline flights scheduled for Friday, about 7% of its schedule.

Delta cancelled more than 90 flights, or 4% of Friday’s schedule, citing bad weather in the Salt Lake City and Seattle area, two of its hubs, and the impact of the fast-spreading omicron variant. More than 80 of Delta’s Saturday flights were cancelled.

Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying — before cancelling around 90 flights for Friday, the airline said in a statement. They apologised to their customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans.

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.

More than 90% of Delta employees and more than 96% of United’s U.S. staff are vaccinated, the airlines have said.

Delta and United’s flight disruptions, however, are fewer than the mass cancellations some airline customers faced this summer and fall as carriers including American and Southwest grappled with staffing shortages. Both of those airlines offered staff compensation to work peak holiday trips and meet attendance goals.

Airline executives in recent weeks have said they expect some of the busiest days since the pandemic began over the year-end holidays, despite the increase in COVID cases around the country.

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