Flights continued to be canceled by the hundreds across the country over the Christmas weekend as airline workers come down with the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Nearly one thousand flights domestic and international flights with one leg in the US were shelved Saturday, up from 690 grounded flights the day before, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.
More than 570 flights scheduled to depart in the US on Sunday had already been canceled.
Representatives from Delta, United and JetBlue said the disruptions were tied to staffing problems related to the spread of the variant as the three airlines canceled over 10 percent of their Christmas flights.
American Airlines said its 90 Saturday cancellations stemmed from “COVID-related sick calls.”
A United spokesperson said it was unclear when the “unexpected” cancellations would resume.
“Nobody was organizing, trying to sort things out,” Peter Bockman, a retired actor, said after his Friday flight from New York to Dakar was canceled. “Nobody explained anything. Not even, ‘Oh we’re so sorry, this is what we can do to help you,’” he said of Delta’s customer service.
Bockman and his daughter Malaika ended up missing their family gathering in Senegal and getting a new flight on Monday evening with a layover in Paris, a connection that did not reassure the family as 6,000 global flights were canceled over the weekend.
Delta was among the US airlines that called on the White House to reduce the length of COVID-19 quarantines to jump start the industry. On Thursday, the CDC cut the isolation time for health care workers exposed to the virus from 10 to seven days.
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