As the Christmas holiday quickly approached, millions of people had been prepared to visit loved ones to celebrate. However, those travel dreams turned into a nightmare practically in a matter of hours as dozens of airlines began canceling thousands of flights due to staffing shortages.
American Airlines and Delta led the pack in scrapping flights on Christmas Eve citing staffing shortages due to the Omicron variant, which is the latest round of Covid-19 to cause chaos in the world.
In total, more than 1,500 flights were canceled as traveled gathered into packed airports to hop on planes in major cities like Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles. Philadelphia, and Atlanta. The cancellations came as the airlines asked the CDC for shorter quarantine guidelines for flight attendants who were exposed to the virus but fully are vaccinated.
A spokesperson for discount airline JetBlue commented that staffing was at peak levels this holiday season.
In total, three major airline carriers suspended more than 10% of their total flights in one single weekend. According to international flight data, more than 3,000 flights were canceled around the globe.
Airline refund and cancellation policies are different with each carrier, however, according to recent laws by the Department of Transportation, a refund must be issued in certain situations. However, due to the sheer amount of refund requests, there might be quite a wait to get your funds back.
As for now, passengers are hoping to catch a flight to celebrate the coming of the New Year and bracing themselves if the virus's impact will cause the situation to repeat itself.