Several airlines have announced cancelations of flights set to depart on Christmas Day due to the surge nationwide in COVID-19 cases after canceling hundreds of flights on Christmas Eve.
Nearly 700 flights in, to or out of the U.S. were canceled Friday while more than 3,600 were delayed. Hundreds more were canceled Saturday morning.
Update 9:30 a.m. EST Dec. 26: Officials with the Transportation Security Administration said they screened 1.5 million people through airport checkpoints nationwide on Christmas Day.
The number was over 400,000 higher than the number of people screened through checkpoints at the same time last year, but still well below travel numbers reported in 2019, before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic prevented many from traveling by air. In 2019, 2.4 million travelers were screened by TSA on Christmas Day.
Update 8:15 a.m. EST Dec. 26: Airlines canceled nearly 1,000 flights scheduled to depart on Christmas Day in, to or from the United States, according to numbers from tracking site FlightAware.
Delta Air Line canceled 310 flights, or 15% of its schedule for the day, while United Airlines canceled 240 flights, amounting to 12% of its schedule, JetBlue Airways canceled 126 flights, also 12% of its schedule, and American Airlines canceled 97 flights, or 3% of its schedule , according to FlightAware. Alaska Airlines also canceled 23 flights.
As of Sunday morning, nearly 640 flights set to take off on the day after Christmas had been canceled.
Update 3:55 p.m. EST Dec. 25: As of Saturday afternoon, more than 940 flights to, in or from the U.S. had been canceled by airlines, including more than 300 from Delta Air Lines and nearly 240 from United Airlines, according to a tally by flight tracking site FlightAware.
JetBlue Airways also canceled 123 flights while American Airlines canceled 92 and Alaska Airlines canceled nearly 20, according to Flight Aware.
More than 1,600 flights other were delayed across the U.S. on Christmas Day.
Update 12:15 p.m. EST Dec. 25: More than 900 Christmas Day flights had been canceled to or from the U.S. by Saturday afternoon and nearly 1,000 others were delayed, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
Delta Air Lines canceled 300 flights, amounting to 15% of its schedule for the day, while United Airlines canceled nearly 240 flights, or 12% of its schedule, FlightAware reported. Another 120 flights were canceled by JetBlue Airways, which also delayed just over 160 flights.
Update 11:30 a.m. EST Dec. 25: Officials with the Transportation Security Administration said they screened 1.7 million people through airport checkpoints nationwide on Christmas Eve.
The number was more than twice the 616,470 passengers screened through airports on the same day in 2020, but far below the 2.5 million travelers screened in 2019.
As of Saturday morning, airlines canceled nearly 890 flights and reported that almost 870 others were delayed, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
Update 8:15 a.m. EST Dec. 25: As of Saturday morning, airlines had canceled more than 850 Christmas Day flights while over 420 others were delayed, according to a tally from flight tracking site FlightAware.
Delta Air Lines canceled just over 280 flights, amounting to 24% of its schedule, according to FlightAware. United Air Lines canceled nearly 240 flights while JetBlue Airways canceled 120 and American Airlines canceled 88.
Update 11:52 p.m. EST Dec. 24: Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines confirmed late Friday that flight cancellations will continue through the weekend after airlines across the country were forced to ground flights, WSB-TV reported.
According to the airline, as many as 200 additional flights may be canceled on Christmas Day, and another 150 Sunday are expected to be canceled. as well, the TV station reported.
Delta officials attributed the flight disruptions to a combination of the omicron variant of the coronavirus impacting staffing levels and inclement weather across certain regions of the country, WSB-TV reported.
Update 11:14 p.m. EST Dec. 24: By 11 p.m. Friday, 681 Christmas Eve flights had been canceled and more than 3,325 other have been delayed according to a tally from flight tracking site FlightAware.
Of those figures, nearly 380 JetBlue Airways flights were delayed, representing about 37% of the airline’s scheduled flights. The carrier also canceled 75 flights, according to FlightAware.
Meanwhile, United Airlines’ cancellations saw a slight uptick to 198, while delayed flights increased to 298, or roughly 15% of the carrier’s scheduled flights; American Airlines canceled only 23 flights but delayed 348 fights, or roughly 13% of its departures; and Delta Air Lines canceled 173 flights and delayed another another 204, according to FlightAware.
Update 7:02 p.m. EST Dec. 24: By 7 p.m. Friday, 655 Christmas Eve flights had been canceled and more than 2,800 other have been delayed according to a tally from flight tracking site FlightAware.
More than 320 JetBlue Airways flights were delayed, representing about 31% of the airline’s scheduled flights. The carrier also canceled 78 flights, according to FlightAware.
Meanwhile, United Airlines’ cancellations held steady at 192 but delayed flights increased to 246, or roughly 13% of the carrier’s scheduled flights; American Airlines canceled only 18 flights but delayed 293 fights, or roughly 11% of its departures; and Delta Air Lines canceled 171 flights and delayed another another 174, according to FlightAware.
Update 3:45 p.m. EST Dec. 24: As of Friday afternoon, more than 2,100 Christmas Eve flights have been delayed while 625 others were canceled in, to or out of the U.S., according to a tally from flight tracking site FlightAware.
More than 260 JetBlue Airways flights were delayed, accounting for 26% of the airline’s schedule. The company also canceled 72 flights, according to FlightAware.
About 10% of United Airlines flights -- just under 190 -- were canceled while another 10% -- just over 190 -- were delayed Friday afternoon. Delta Air Lines also canceled 167 flights while delaying almost 140 others were delayed, according to FlightAware.
Nearly 400 flights set to take off on Christmas Day in, to or from the U.S. have also been canceled, the site reported.
Update 3 p.m. EST Dec. 24: More than 600 flights have been canceled to or from the U.S. on Christmas Eve amid staffing issues cased by an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the arrival of the omicron variant.
According to the flight tracking site FlightAware, United Airlines had canceled nearly 190 flights by 3 p.m., amounting to 10% of its schedule. Delta Air Lines canceled 8% of its schedule, or 166 flights, while JetBlue Airways canceled 72 flights -- 7% of its schedule.
The cancellations come on top of the cancellation of 375 Christmas Day flights as of 3 p.m., according to FlightAware.
Update 1:55 p.m. EST Dec. 24: Nearly 590 flights leaving from or departing to the U.S. have been canceled on Christmas Eve and more than 315 have been canceled for Christmas Day, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.
As of Friday afternoon, nearly 1,660 flights were also delayed nationwide, FlightAware reported. JetBlue Airways reported 220 delayed flights, amounting to about 21% of its schedule, according to FlightAware,
Update 12:30 p.m. EST Dec. 24: Airlines continue to cancel more flights set for takeoff on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in or to the U.S., according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.
As of 12:30 p.m., 535 flights had been canceled while 1,325 were delayed on Friday. An additional 272 flights were canceled for Saturday, according to FlightAware, including 121 Delta Air Lines and 93 United Airlines flights.
Update 11:20 a.m. EST Dec. 24: The number of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day flights being canceled by airlines in the U.S. has risen to more than 510 on Christmas Eve and nearly 240 on Christmas Day, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.
Nearly 1,000 flights departing from or to the U.S. were also delayed Friday, FlightAware reported.
Update 10:30 a.m. EST Dec. 24: Airlines have canceled 225 Christmas Day flights in or to the United States as of Friday morning, adding to the nearly 500 cancelations reported on Christmas Eve, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.
Delta Air Lines canceled nearly 105 flights as of 10:30 a.m. while United Airlines canceled 68, FlightAware reported. JetBlue Airways has also canceled six flights.
Update 10:05 a.m. EST Dec. 24: As of Friday morning, 475 flights within, into or out of the United States have been canceled, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.
United Airlines canceled 173 flights while Delta Air Lines canceled 141, according to FlightAware. JetBlue canceled 53 flights, Alaska Airlines canceled 11 and American Airlines canceled 10, the site reported.
The cancellations come as airlines across the globe grapple with the impact of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the recently identified omicron variant. As of Friday morning, more than 2,000 flights were canceled worldwide, according to FlightAware.
Update 11:30 p.m. EST Dec. 23: JetBlue and Allegiant also announced flight cancellations for Friday flights, The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, United Airlines spokesperson Joshua Freed said it remained a possibility that flights would be canceled on Christmas Day.
“We are really managing this day by day,” Freed told the Times. “There may be some more flight cancellations for Saturday. It’s possible.”
Update 10:16 p.m. EST Dec. 23: As of 9:20 p.m. EST, Delta Air Lines has canceled 84 flights on Christmas Day while United Airlines has canceled 28, according to USA Today.
Neither airline has confirmed the Christmas Day cancellations.
Update 10:02 p.m. EST Dec. 23: Later Thursday, Delta Air Lines announced that it had canceled 93 flights. Alaska Airlines also announced it had canceled 17 flights nationwide on Thursday.
“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,” Delta said in a statement. “We apologize to our 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.”
The 93 cancellations represent 4% of Delta’s total flight schedule, CNN reported.
Alaska Airlines also released a statement, saying “The COVID-19 virus is once again on the rise around the nation, this time with the omicron variant. Going into December, we increased the number of employees for reserve positions to prepare for a very busy travel period.”
“However, some of them have reported that they may have been exposed to the virus. Those employees, working in various locations, are following our protocols and quarantining at home.”
Additional cancellations were possible Friday “during this dynamic situation,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.
Original report: United Airlines announced Thursday that it has canceled more than 100 Christmas Eve flights due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
In a statement, United said COVID-19 cases, particularly an uptick in the omicron variant, have caused staffing concerns.
“The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” the airline 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.
“We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”
The flight cancellations were confirmed by FlightAware, a flight-tracking site.
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