Airline cancellations rose for the seventh day in a row on Thursday, threatening to disrupt weekend flights home for leisure travelers.
Airlines canceled more than 1,000 U.S. flights on Thursday and have already canceled 500 from Friday’s schedule, according to aviation tracking website FlightAware.
In all, FlightAware recorded more than 8,500 U.S. flight cancellations since Christmas Eve, when heavy vacation travel collided with a spike in coronavirus cases among industry workers and weather conditions.
Alaska Airlines said winter weather in the Pacific Northwest is causing it to cancel one in five flights at Seattle headquarters to “give the extra time it takes to ice planes.” It canceled 14% of Thursday flights and asked passengers who do not have to travel this week to reschedule.
“We urge flyers with non-essential travel scheduled for January 2, 2022 to consider changing their travel to a later date using our flexible travel policy,” the airline said.
JetBlue Airways told DailyExpertNews it has “seen an increase in the number of sick calls from Omicron” and will shorten the schedule for the next two weeks to “educate our customers as best we can to make alternate plans and have them again on other flights.” to place.” It told Reuters the cuts amount to about 1,280 flights, or 10% of the schedule. JetBlue canceled about 17% of flights on Thursday, FlightAware said.
Budget leisure wearer Allegiant Air canceled 17% of its flights, according to FlightAware, warning customers that phone wait times were “unusually long.”
United Airlines canceled 8% of its Thursday schedule, which FlightAware data shows is about the average since Christmas Eve, telling DailyExpertNews it’s “running this from day to day.”
Delta Airlines canceled 3% of Thursday’s schedule, but warned it expects storms en route to its hubs in Salt Lake City and Detroit to complicate travel “in the coming days.”
The weather influences are not limited to snow and ice. The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that the jetstream weather pattern over the US was “stronger than usual” on Tuesday, reaching 170 knots in the skies over the Great Lakes. A strong jet stream can slow travel west and accelerate flights east at the high altitudes where aircraft operate.
In the meantime, Southwest Airlines told DailyExpertNews it has “not yet seen any impact on our operation” from coronavirus illnesses, but is “monitoring this closely.” President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven told employees in a memo shared with DailyExpertNews that Southwest carried 3 million passengers last week and canceled less than 1% of flights.