Omicron Chaos: Christmas Eve Plagued with 2,000 Flight Cancellations 

United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport as the coronavirus pandemic slows air travel on April 22, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. Compared to the same time last year, Denver International Airport is operating 1,000 fewer flights daily. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Two thousand flights have been canceled Christmas Eve in relation to the omicron variant, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.

As President Biden promised to “shut down the virus” during the 2020 presidential campaign, nearly a year later omicron is impacting airlines’ ability to transport Christmas travelers in a timely fashion.

FlightAware shows about 1,175 flights have already been canceled for Saturday, Christmas Day.

United Airlines told the Wall Street Journal that flight crews and operational employees are in short supply due to omicron exposure.

“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 Airlines told the Journal.

Delta Air Lines revealed to the publication they are canceling flights because of “bad weather in some areas,” along with the omicron variant.

“Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources—including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying—before canceling around 90 flights for Friday,” the airline said.

The omicron chaos is impacting one of the busiest travel weekends since the pandemic reached American shores.

In the weeks before and after Christmas, United Airlines estimated it will transport an average of 420,000 passengers, or five percent more volume than over Thanksgiving weekend.

Delta said they will transport 7.8 million consumers during about the same period of time, the most volume since 2019 and more than twice the amount during the 2020 Christmas season.

Many companies in the airline sector have implemented very harsh vaccine mandates on their labor force.

Delta has instituted a monthly fine of $200 for employees who remain unvaccinated.

And out of United’s nearly 67,000 workforce, 2,000 remain unvaccinated, but United has effectively fired those employees by placing them on indefinite unpaid leave.

Senators grilled United CEO Scott Kirby on this decision on December 15. Those employees have sued United, arguing this decision violates federal civil rights laws.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø


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