Christmas Eve travellers face chaos in the US and Australia as major airlines cancel flights.
CHRISTMAS EVE travellers face chaos in the US and Australia as major airlines cancel a large number of flights “out of an abundance of caution” because of the Omicron Covid variant.
In the US, Chicago-based United Airlines has cancelled at least 120 flights for Friday, while Atlanta-based Delta said it has cancelled about 90 and Alaska Airlines said it had cancelled 17.
Meanwhile, in Australia, numerous Jetstar flights have been cancelled after a large number of Jetstar staff were sent into Covid isolation.
United said in a statement: “The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”
Delta said the cancellations are due to multiple issues including the Omicron variant.
“We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” Delta said in a statement. “Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.”
Alaska Airlines also released a statement, saying “The COVID-19 virus is once again on the rise around the nation, this time with the omicron variant. Going into December, we increased the number of employees for reserve positions to prepare for a very busy travel period.”
“However, some of them have reported that they may have been exposed to the virus. Those employees, working in various locations, are following our protocols and quarantining at home.”
Additional cancellations were possible Friday “during this dynamic situation,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.
Jetstar spokesperson said: “Unfortunately like many people in Sydney and Melbourne, a large number of our frontline team are being required to test and isolate as close contacts given the increasing number of cases in the general community, and as a result we have had to make some late adjustments to our schedule.”
“We appreciate the frustration this causes, especially as customers are travelling for Christmas, and sincerely apologise for the impact these changes are having on travel plans.
“We are working to minimise any delays and re-accommodating passengers on flights as close as possible to their original departure times across both Jetstar and Qantas services.”
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