Airport Nightmare As 2,600 New Year’s Flights Cancelled
Thousands of flights were canceled on New Year’s Day amid growing concerns about bad weather coupled with the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
There had been approximately 2,600 cancellations for New Year’s flights into and out of the U.S. as of 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Flight Aware.
New Year’s Day saw the biggest number of COVID-19 and weather-related cancellations this week, pushing the holiday week’s flight cancellations to a total of over 12,000.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned Thursday that a surge in COVID-19 infections among airline staff along with heavy seasonal traffic would likely result in delays as the new year begins.
As COVID-19 continues to add major stress to the airline industry staff, United and Spirit Airlines released plans to fight staffing shortages by offering employees financial incentives for extra work.
“All flight attendants, regardless of how you have obtained your pairing, will be receiving 200% pay for any pairing that touches Dec. 28 through Jan. 4,” said a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the union representing approximately 4,000 flight attendants with Spirit Airlines.
United plans to incentivize pilots who take on additional flights by offering triple pay through January.
Spirit had canceled 99 flights and United had canceled over 200 flights as of Friday night.
“Things are likely to get worse before it gets better,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said Thursday, addressing COVID-related cancellations.
Hayes said he believes the CDC’s new guidelines shortening the required isolation period for asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals who have contracted COVID-19 from 10 days to five days will help alleviate some of the flight cancellations, however, the spiking number of positive cases is still concerning.