Of the more than 2,800 canceled flights, about 1,000 were within, to or from the United States, according to FlightAware. Almost 11,000 flights are delayed.
Cancellations occur at the busiest time of the year for air travel. The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration said it screened millions of people every day over the holiday weekend, peaking at 2.19 million travelers on Thursday, December 23. More people passed through TSA checkpoints on Wednesday than on the same day in 2019.
Alaska Airlines, which canceled 133 flights from 19% of its operations on Monday, attributed its cancellations and delays to winter conditions in the Pacific Northwest. The airline said it canceled nearly 250 major flights scheduled to arrive or depart Seattle on Sunday. As of Monday afternoon, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport had the most delays and cancellations in the world, according to FlightAware.
“We are working as quickly as possible to ensure that all of our affected passengers are reassigned to other flights while operating safely,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “Reservations experience extremely long wait times of up to 11 hours.”
Air travel was slower on Saturday due to flight cancellations: more than 1.53 million people passed through security checkpoints on Saturday.
“The national peak of Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations,” said a note from United obtained by CNN.
“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their vacation travel plans,” Delta said in a statement. “The folks at Delta are working hard to get them where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible on the next available flight.”
European airlines are also experiencing a small number of cancellations amid a record number of Covid-19 cases in several European countries.
A British Airways spokesperson told CNN on Monday that the airline had canceled “a number of flights due to operational constraints” and was instead using larger planes, where possible, to get customers to their destinations. destinations. According to the tracking site FlightAware, 46 British Airways flights were canceled on Monday.
Virgin Atlantic told CNN the flights were continuing “as planned,” noting the exception of one of their London Heathrow – New York JFK rotations which saw cancellations on December 21. A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told CNN: “We continue to take preventative measures to maintain operational and workforce resiliency, always putting the health and safety of our customers and employees first.”
German airline Lufthansa has announced it will cancel 10% of its winter flight program as the pandemic continues to hit the aviation industry.
In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last week, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said that due to a “sharp drop in bookings” the airline will have to cancel 33,000 flights from mid-January to February 2022, i.e. 10% of the group’s winter flight program.
Spohr’s comments were confirmed to CNN by the Lufthansa press office.
– CNN’s Pete Muntean, Arnaud Siad and Ramishah Maruf contributed to this report