US flights continue to be canceled due to COVID, bad weather

Prominent US airlines were still battling schedule disruptions on Monday, thanks to severe winter weather and crew shortages due to the Omicron variant.

More than 700 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled as of Monday morning, according to tracking data from FlightAware. Additionally, more than 700 other flights were delayed.

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 200 flights, or 6 percent of its planned daily slate. SkyWest Airlines, which operates flights for major carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, canceled 117 flights.

United Airlines canceled 102 flights, or 5 percent of its schedule. Alaska Airlines nixed 60 flights, while American Airlines canceled 13. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue each canceled fewer than 10 flights.

As of January 10, 2022, more than 700 flights were canceled due to the spreading of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Monday’s cancellations followed another troubled weekend for air travelers as winter storms hammered the East Coast. US airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights from Friday through Sunday, with Southwest Airlines alone accounting for more than 1,000 cancellations during that period.

Southwest Airlines did not immediately return a request for comment. The company’s stock was down slightly in early trading.

Airlines have been under pressure since Christmas Eve as a surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant renewed COVID-19 travel concerns. Airlines have struggled to maintain adequate staffing among their flight crews.

The US has also faced severe winter weather which has also contributed to the delays.
The US has also faced severe winter weather which has contributed to the delays.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

SkyWest, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have each cut their slate of planned flights this month, citing staffing challenges. Some operators have offered additional pay for pilots and crew members during the outbreak.

Delta executive vice president Allison Ausband addressed the airline’s recent spate of cancellations in a letter to customers last week.

“Unfortunately, a series of winter weather systems throughout the US coupled with the rapidly spreading omicron variant put extraordinary pressure on our operation, our employees and customers like you,” the Delta executive told customers.

Passengers line up at John F. Kennedy International Airport after airlines announced numerous flights were canceled during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant on December 24, 2021.
Passengers line up at John F. Kennedy International Airport after airlines announced numerous flights were canceled during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant on December 24, 2021.
REUTERS/Dieu-Nalio Chery/File Photo

“It has been one of the most difficult operational environments we’ve ever faced, and it forced us to cancel hundreds of flights as a result,” Ausband added.

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