The pandemic strikes again: Thousands of flights canceled
Omicron is the visible cause of this escalation of cancellations thanks to the record numbers of infections in recent days. Climate does not help much either.
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For the fourth consecutive day, on Monday, Dec. 27, airlines in the United States canceled nearly 3,000 commercial flights all on account of the new Omicron variant that has led different countries around the world, especially in Europe, to take extreme measures to prevent the massive amounts of infections.
According to air traffic reports in recent days, fear of the new variant of COVID-19 and its accelerated expansion has forced large airlines to suspend previously-scheduled flights, much of them coming from or going to the U.S.
According to data from the portal specializing in real-time flight information, Flight Aware, of the large U.S. airlines, which accounted for a third of cancellations worldwide, the three that reported the most suspensions were United, American Airlines and Delta. Likewise, it was reported that the airport in the world most affected by this situation was Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
For now, the Biden administration, which called for calm and not panic, wants to get people through this holiday season without excessive restrictions and calls for vaccination as the only tool to stay safe.
Tune in as I join the White House COVID-19 Response Team and the National Governors Association to discuss our Administration’s response to the Omicron variant and to hear from the Governors on the needs in their states. https://t.co/BBvGrzE94c— President Biden (@POTUS) December 27, 2021
Over Christmas weekend, many travelers had to stay with their luggage ready and plane tickets unused, thanks to the more than 8,000 canceled flights.
This is the busiest period of the year for air travel according to the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which emphasized that more people circulated through their checkpoints than did in 2019, when the pandemic had not started.
Some airlines have also attributed this crisis to wintry weather in the Pacific Northwest, while others admitted they were understaffed to fly safely.
Traveling for the holidays? We continue to follow guidance issued by @CDCgov regarding face masks. Please wear your face ask from the moment you enter an airport until you've exited at your destination. However, you may need to adjust it for ID verification at our checkpoints. pic.twitter.com/5cSzSQPTuL— TSA (@TSA) December 27, 2021
"The increase in Omicron cases across the country this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations," read a memo shared by CNN, raising concerns about the difficult moment of the pandemic that threatens to delay the end of the health and economic emergency.
For their part, European airlines, which so far have not been so affected by cancellations, have already announced that a sharp drop in bookings is expected between mid-January and February 2022.