Flight cancellation chaos continues as airlines blame weather, omicron


Thousands of flights around the world were canceled this week in an extension of the travel chaos that unfolded over the holidays, with airlines blaming the spread of the omicron variant and adverse weather conditions for the disruption.

As of Wednesday morning, more than 2,280 flights had been canceled worldwide for the day, with more than 740 flights in, to and from the United States, according to the FlightAware flight tracking website.

As of Tuesday, more than 3,100 flights were canceled, of which 1,291 were expected to take off in, to and from the United States.

U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines were among those to cancel flights this week, with the two collectively canceling hundreds of flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Delta had said it planned to cancel more than 250 of 4,133 scheduled flights on Tuesday, while Alaska canceled 170 flights on its network and warned of more cancellations and delays throughout the week.

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Both airlines blamed the weather and the spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19 for the disruption.

The cancellations come after a week of chaos in vacation travel that saw airlines cut thousands of flights, with some blaming the omicron for the spread among crew and other staff.

A traveler waits for a delayed flight after dozens of flights were listed as canceled or delayed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on December 27, 2021. Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Delta said it was working to change the route and replace some planes.

Meanwhile, Alaska said as Wednesday and Thursday approached, it was proactively reducing departures from Seattle by about 20% to allow more time to de-ice planes amid winter storms in the west. the United States.

Snowy weather in the Pacific Northwest contributed to the cancellation of more than 110 flights scheduled to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday alone, according to Reuters.

Amid the travel chaos, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday they were not considering recommending a Covid vaccine warrant for domestic flights after the possibility was suggested by Dr Anthony Fauci, the most the country’s leading expert on infectious diseases.

“Right now what we’re talking about are ways to get people vaccinated,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told National Public Radio. “Certainly, domestic flights have been a topic of conversation, but it’s not something we are revisiting.

Tuesday the United States hits record seven-day average of cases of 262,034 cases, surpassing a record of 252,776 cases set on Jan.11, according to an analysis of NBC News data. Data can be skewed by days with abnormal data entries, which are common around the holiday period.

A family works at check-in at the Alaska Airlines ticket office after dozens of flights were listed as canceled or delayed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on December 27, 2021. Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

According to the CDC, omicron accounted for 58.6% of all Covid cases in the country during the week ending Dec. 25, while the delta variant accounted for 41.1% of cases.

Globally, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the number of recorded Covid cases rose 11% last week, compared to the previous week. The largest increase occurred in the Americas, according to data from the United Nations health agency.

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