Nearly 2,000 flights were canceled Sunday morning over omicron-fueled airline staff shortages and bad weather — adding to an already chaotic holiday weekend travel nightmare, according to airline data.
At least 1,979 flights were called off domestically as of 9:45 a.m. with airports in Chicago and Denver among the hardest hit, according to flightaware.com. Another 870 flights were delayed, frustrating fliers and leaving some temporarily stranded.
Overall, Southwest airlines scrapped the most trips with 264 cancellations on Sunday, followed by JetBlue with 169 and Delta with 16. Americans Airlines also canceled 136 flights on Sunday, and United halted 94 flights.
The post-New Year’s travel headache comes after at least 2,700 US flights were canceled Saturday — and a total of 14,000 flights were called off since Christmas eve, according to the flight data.
To combat staff shortages, United has offered to pay pilots triple their normal wages for picking up open flights through mid-January while Southwest has also offered to increase the payment of workers.
The Federal Aviation Administration has warned of travel delays due in recent days due to infected FAA employees along with snowstorms and icy conditions in some parts of the country.
“To maintain safety, traffic and volume at some facilities could be reduced, which might result in delays during busy periods,” it warned.