Passengers who booked flights on Delta or United Airlines—or any other air carrier this holiday weekend—may be out of luck as airlines are being forced to cancel flights, citing a lack of staffing due to a rise in the number of employees who test positive for the Omicron variant.
When a person tests positive for the virus, they are required to quarantine for 10 days. That number comes from guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This 10-day quarantine, combined with passenger loads at pre-pandemic levels, is resulting in hundreds of canceled flights a day.
On Christmas Eve, CNN reported 2,000 flights had been canceled across the world, approximately 455 of them domestically. Both Delta and United Airlines reported having to cancel hundreds of flights, despite the fact that 90 percent of their workforce is fully vaccinated.
This week, representatives from Airlines for America, an organization that represents several major airlines, including Delta and United and several others, asked the CDC to modify the quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated people from 10 days to five days.
Earlier this week, the CDC adopted this reduced quarantine time for healthcare workers.
Jet Blue CEO Robin Hayes sent an open letter to the CDC asking that the quarantine for the air travel industry also be reduced to five days, noting that when the 10-day quarantine was adopted it was early in the pandemic, when very little was known about the virus. Hayes noted that both a vaccine and treatment for the virus have since been developed.
In the meantime, airlines are working to notify customers about flight disruptions well before they arrive at the airport.
The post Airlines Cancel Christmas Eve Flights, Citing COVID Spread appeared first on FLYING Magazine.