2021 is closing out the end of the year causing quite a headache for air travelers. Throughout the United States, passengers are arriving at the airport only to be met with cancellations and long delays of their flights. Since Christmas Eve there have been over 9,000 US flight cancellations and nearly 45,000 delays — 1,100 just on this past Friday alone!
Alaska Airlines Struggles
Every US carrier has in some way been affected and impacted these past few weeks, some more than others. The Seattle based company Alaska Airlines seems to be hit the hardest, canceling nearly 14% of their flights on a single day this week.. The company attributes these cancellations to crew calling out sick from Covid-19 and a hard hitting storm that has been beating down relentlessly in the Pacific Northwest. Citing these reasons as potential delays or future cancellations, Alaska Airlines has encouraged all non-essential travelers to change their flights.
“We strongly urge flyers with non-essential travel scheduled before January 2, 2022, to consider changing their travel to a later date.” Alaska Airlines said in a statement recently. “We’re not able to re-accommodate most guests for at least three days.”
JetBlue Hit Hard By Covid-19
Alaska Airlines isn’t the only company being hit hard over New Year’s. New York Based company JetBlue Airlines, a company that usually serves 1,000 flights a day, has already announced that they plan on significantly cutting their schedules in the coming weeks. Between December 30th through January 13th, they plan on canceling at least 1,280 flights. Blaming the scheduled cancellations on the overwhelming number of Covid-19 cases already affecting their pilots and flight attendants.
A memo that went out to staff from JetBlue Airways stated, “This past week has been one of our most difficult periods during the pandemic. The exponential growth in Omicron cases over just a couple of days is at a level that no one could reasonably prepare for.”
Even with the CDC’s recent changes in recommended quarantine reduced from ten days to five days, JetBlue still finds themselves facing challenges. Most of JetBlue’s flight crews are based within the Northeast of the United States, a location as of now, where the Omicron variant seems to be surging at extreme levels. New York state recently reported over 74,000 positive cases on a single day, far higher than any single day during these past two years of the pandemic. The United States overall reported nearly 356,000 cases this past Thursday. JetBlue airlines anticipates things getting worse as far as cancellations go, before they will get better.
What About The Other Airlines?
It’s not just Alaska Airlines and JetBlue, who have foreseen cancellations and delays in the near future, United and Delta airlines have also been reporting high cancellation rates too. As of print date, Delta has already canceled hundreds of flights for this upcoming weekend, with the likelihood of many more to come.
As more flights are canceled and passengers re-booked, a domino effect can happen as a result, with airlines scrambling to rebook and accommodate passengers on future flights. This often leads to passengers being involuntarily bumped off the flight they paid for. With the Covid-19 cases surging within airlines, and some heavy snow expected this weekend in the west, airlines warn passengers to be prepared for changes and anticipate long delays at airports.
Lastly, remember to check the status of your flight online before you head out to the airport — this may save you precious time and a headache!
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