Despite thousands of flights being canceled during Christmas eve, hundreds more were canceled on Wednesday as the current omicron variant continues to wreak havoc on travelers and airlines alike.
Some of the airline companies complained about being understaffed as more pilots, flight attendants, and ground crews are being exposed to the highly transmissive omicron variant.
According to an APNews report, over 850 flights had to be canceled by midday Wednesday and there’s a likelihood of those numbers increasing throughout the day based on data from the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
On Tuesday alone, nearly 1,300 flights entering, leaving, or traveling within the US were canceled while about 1,500 cancellations were made on Monday.
Cancellations began to spike the day before Christmas during what is already a buzzing pace for airlines this time of year.
Airline companies such as Delta, JetBlue, and United Air Line all made it known that the omicron variant has caused them to be understaffed, prompting the cancellations.
SkyWest led U.S. carriers with 195 cancellations, followed by United with 158 and Delta with 103. SkyWest, a regional airline based in Utah, has suffered an elevated level of cancellations after severe weather hit several of its hubs, but it’s reporting the same staffing issues due to COVID-19.
Seattle-Tacoma had the highest percentage of incoming and outgoing flights cancellation on Wednesday according to reports from FlightAware.
The Transportation Security Administration expects the Monday after New Year’s will be one of the busiest days of the holiday season.
That could translate to travel headaches for hundreds of thousands of people if cancellations maintain the current pace into the weekend.
TSA data also revealed that the number of those traveling by air this holiday season exceeds that of the previous year – a period when the COVID-19 vaccination wasn’t available worldwide.
Some countries across the globe have however banned or put some regulations on the number of people that can congregate this new year’s eve in order to curb the spread of the omicron variant.