Chaos at the airports: 4,500 flights canceled worldwide now

Blaming it on the staff shortages caused by the lightning spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron strain, global airlines have canceled over 4,500 domestic and international flights worldwide during the peak Christmas weekend.

US airports accounted for more than a quarter of all flight cancelations, with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines being among the worst hit. 

According to the latest global data, 2,380 flights were called and another 11,163 delayed globally worldwide on Christmas Eve. There were 2,388 cancelations and 2,579 delays as of the Christmas Day’ afternoon. Another 747 flights scheduled for Sunday have been canceled as well.

The majority of the cancelations came from five airlines, with China Eastern forced to call off more than 1,200 journeys over the weekend. Meanwhile, Air China, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Jet Blue, and Lion Air have reported large numbers of canceled flights.

There were 688 flights canceled across the US on Friday, and another 980 have been canceled so far over the peak travel weekend.

German carrier Lufthansa said on Friday that it was canceling 12 transatlantic flights over the holiday period due to a “massive rise” in pilots calling in sick, and despite arranging for a “large buffer” of additional staff for the period.

The last-minute travel chaos added to the frustration for passengers looking to celebrate with their families over the holidays after pandemic precautions severely impacted Christmas in 2020.

According to figures released by the American Automobile Association earlier this month, airlines were expected to see an 184% increase in traffic between December 23 and January 2 from 2020. The US Transportation Security Administration expected to screen nearly 30 million people between December 20 and January 3.

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