The number of nationwide flight cancellations on Saturday is the largest in a single day with over 4,000 amid increased COVID-19 cases and winter weather.
There has been a steady increase in the number of flight cancellations since Christmas Eve. As of Saturday afternoon, a total of 4,526 cancellations nationwide with 2,601 being domestic flights according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking software website.
Southwest Airlines has the most cancellations of all U.S. carriers having 472 canceled flights. The airline has blamed severe winter weather for some of its cancellations.
Major carriers such as Delta, United, and JetBlue have blamed the Omicron variant for causing staffing problems that ultimately lead to flight cancellations. As of Saturday,Delta Air Lines had 205 cancellations, United Airlines had 158, and JetBlue Airways recorded 118.
The disruptions have continued throughout the holiday week, stranding holiday travelers at airports across the nation. More than 11,000 flights have been canceled since Christmas, according to FlightAware data.
Since Christmas Eve, there have been more than 13,700 canceled U.S. flights, and thousands more were delayed, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware
Airports nationwide have felt the impact of the pandemic and the several strains that drove unprecedented levels of hospitalizations and infections. Most recently, the Federal Aviation Administration has warned that its employees are testing positive, which may restrict flights.
Staffing shortages have been a continued issue for the U.S airline industry this past year. This comes as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) projected that travel volume will be near pre-pandemic levels.
The Air Line Pilots Association and United Airlines have offered triple pay for aviators to pick up open trips through most of January. Additionally, some airlines such as Spirit Airlines, American Airlines, among others have offered additional pay during the holidays.
On Friday, the TSA screened 1,650,795 individuals yesterday at checkpoints around the country.