Stuck for the Holidays? Hundreds of Flights Canceled for Second Day in US

© REUTERS / Elijah NouvelageTravelers are seen under a PSA advising social distancing in a concourse during the holiday season as the coronavirus Omicron variant threatens to increase case numbers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021.
Travelers are seen under a PSA advising social distancing in a concourse during the holiday season as the coronavirus Omicron variant threatens to increase case numbers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.12.2021
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Holiday air travel in the US has been severely disrupted due to the rapid spread of the highly-contagious omicron variant of COVID-19, the dominant strain in the country. As a result of the uptick in cases, airlines have been struggling to find healthy workers and pilots to cover domestic flights during the Christmas rush.
At least 940 Christmas Day flights within or bound to the US have been canceled, and another 1,555 flights have been delayed, according to live data from FlightAware.
United, which called off 189 flights (10% of its schedule) on Friday and more than 230 flights on Saturday, issued a statement to address the stranding of travelers nationwide.
"The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” United said in a statement. “As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport."
Delta AIr Lines released a similar notice on its cancellations, admitting to customers that it "had exhausted all options and resources—including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying."
Both airlines expressed that they are attempting to rebook passengers for later flights.
Aircraft of German Lufthansa airline are parked at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, May 4, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.12.2021
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Christmas is Cancelled: Omicron Prompts Airlines to Call Off Thousands of Flights
American Airlines emphasized that its company took a proactive approach and precancelled some trips.

"[A] number of COVID-related sick calls led us to make the difficult decision to precancel some flights scheduled for today," American Airlines told the Hill in a statement on Saturday, noting that customers were notified the day before their scheduled flight.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data showed that, despite the ongoing pandemic, travelers are coming out in full force, with more than 1.7 million and 2.1 million air travel passengers logged on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Last year, less than 850,000 passengers traveled each day.
TSA expects to screen around 30 million individuals between December 20 and January 3.
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