WorldUS Flight Cancellations Thwart Multi-Person New Year's Plans

US Flight Cancellations Thwart Multi-Person New Year’s Plans

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The cancellation of more flights frustrated travelers on the last day of 2021 and seemed almost certain to hit hundreds of thousands more over the New Year’s holiday weekend.

Airlines noted that many of the cancellations were due to a staff shortage related to the increase in cases of COVID-19, and cold weather in parts of U.S it only compounds the problem.

By Friday afternoon on the country’s East Coast, airlines had canceled more than 1,400 domestic flights – 6% of scheduled flights – and 2,900 international, according to the FlightAware tracking service.

With this, the total of cancellations in the United States exceeds 9,000 since Christmas Eve.

Cancellations come as travel numbers rise heading into the New Year’s holiday weekend. Since December 16, more than 2 million travelers have passed through security checks at US airports every day, an increase of nearly 100,000 a day since November.

Flight cancellations began to increase shortly before Christmas, especially with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways.

On Friday, United canceled more than 200 flights, or 11% of its schedule, and that doesn’t include cancellations from its regional affiliate United Express. CommutAir, which operates many of the United Express flights, cut a third of its schedule by noon, according to figures from FlightAware.

JetBlue canceled more than 140 flights, or 14% of its schedule, and Delta suspended more than 100, or 5%, of its flights by Friday noon.

Other forms of transportation were also affected by the spike in coronavirus cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it is monitoring more than 90 cruise ships for COVID-19 outbreaks. The health agency asked people not to travel on cruise ships, even if they are fully vaccinated against the disease.

The remnants of the delta variant and the rise of the new omicron variant raised the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the United States above 350,000, about three times the rate of two weeks ago, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

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