New York (AP) — Due to staffing issues related to COVID-19, airlines continued to cancel hundreds of flights on Saturday, confusing holiday celebrations with one of the busiest travel times of the year. ..
FlightAware, a flight tracking website, has recorded about 1,000 flights from 690 flights that were abandoned on Friday to about 1,000 flights that entered or left the United States on Saturday or were canceled in the United States. Over 250 flights have already been canceled on Sunday. FlightAware does not state why the flight was cancelled.
Delta, United and JetBlue all said on Friday that a variant of Omicron would cause staffing problems and lead to flight cancellations. United spokesman Maddy King said staff shortages are still causing cancellations and it is unclear when normal operations will resume. “This was unexpected,” she said of the impact on Omicron’s staffing. Delta and JetBlue did not answer Saturday’s question.
According to FlightAware, three airlines have canceled more than 10% of their scheduled Saturday flights. According to FlightAware, American Airlines also canceled more than 90 flights on Saturday. This is about 3% of the schedule. American spokesman Derek Walls said the cancellation was due to a “COVID-related illness call.” European and Australian airlines have also canceled their holiday season flights due to staffing issues related to COVID-19.
For travelers, it meant time away from loved ones, turmoil at the airport, and the stress of hours side by side trying to rebook a flight over the phone. Retired actor Peter Bockman and college student daughter Malaika were to celebrate Saturday in Senegal with relatives they hadn’t seen in 10 years. However, the flight from New York to Dakar on Friday at 7:30 pm was cancelled. It only turned out when they arrived at the airport. They were there trying to rebook the flight until 2am.
“No one was trying to organize things and organize things,” he said, blaming Delta for lack of customer service. “No one explained anything. But,” I’m sorry, this is what we can do to help you. “
Their new flight has a connecting flight in Paris on Monday night and I’m worried that there may be a problem with that flight as well. They missed a large family gathering already scheduled for Saturday.
According to FlightAware data, airlines have dropped more than 6,000 flights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in total as of Saturday evening, accounting for almost one-third of the affected flights to and from the United States. .. Many of the canceled flights are made up of Chinese airlines, and Chinese airports are at the top of the list of flights with the highest number of canceled flights in FlightAware. The reason was not clear. China is implementing strict pandemic measures, including frequent blockades, which the government set earlier this week in Xi’an, a city of 13 million people.
Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and Lion Air, an Indonesian airline with many canceled flights, did not respond to emails on Saturday.
Flight delays and cancellations associated with staff shortages have become a regular issue in the US aviation industry this year. The airline urged workers to resign in 2020, when air travel collapsed, and this year the recovery of travel led to a shortage of staff.
To alleviate staff shortages, countries such as Spain and the United Kingdom have a period of COVID-19 quarantine by allowing them to return to work sooner after a positive test or exposure to the virus. Has been shortened.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian was one of those who called on the Biden administration to take similar steps or run the risk of further disrupting air travel. On Thursday, the United States shortened the COVID-19 quarantine rules for healthcare workers only.
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