Depressed Christmas season for both passengers and airlines
Passengers returning home during Christmas have had a bad experience, as the air transport industry continues to be severely disrupted, the number of flights canceled at the last minute reaches a record. According to figures from a flight tracking website, global airlines have canceled more than 4,500 flights over the Christmas holiday, mainly due to the Omicron variant impact.
According to data from the website of flight tracking company FlightAware, there were 2,175 flights around the world canceled on Christmas Eve. Among that, about a quarter of flights were in the US and the remaining 1,779 flights were scrapped worldwide. In addition, another 402 flights scheduled for the next Sunday also put their names on the cancellation list.
It is known that the majority of cancellations came from 5 airlines, of which China Eastern canceled 474 flights, while Air China scrapped 188 flights. United called off 177 flights, Air India with 160 and Delta canceled 150.
The airlines’ social media feeds have been flooded with frustrated responses from passengers asking for assistance after a series of flights were canceled on Christmas Eve due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
“@Delta for real?! You canceled my Christmas Eve flight at 12:30 am?? I woke up at 2am to go to the airport with my kids and husband and didn’t see the cancellation notice until I got to the airport to check my luggage,” one passenger tweeted at Delta airline on Thursday, one of a number of similar messages, aimed at air carriers that have had to reluctantly suspend flights.
Out of Delta, Omicron is extending its influence around the world
Airlines have been facing staff shortages as of the appearance of Omicrons, even though most airport staff had completed their vaccinations.
United said: “This week’s spike in Omicron cases across the country has had a direct impact on our flight crews and those who run our operations. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying affected customers in advance of their arrival at the airport.”
Delta, meanwhile, said it had “exhausted all options and resources – including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to carry out scheduled flying – before canceling around 90 flights on Friday.” The airline blamed the impact of the Omicron variant and adverse weather conditions.
Reportedly, in response to the pre – holiday turmoil, airlines have called for the relaxation of isolation rules for vaccinated staff. Specifically, Delta CEO, Ed Bastian has petitioned the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the period of self-isolation for people who have completed their immunizations from ten days down to five days.
The year 2021 will certainly be a terrific year for airlines around the world, as they have to constantly face unprecedentedly served situations. On Christmas Eve, we can only pray for the Covid-19 pandemic to disappear soon. Under the current situation, the gods perhaps have no way to help us…