Delta Airlines Cancels More Than 80 Flights on Christmas Day

by Shelby Scott

Flight cancellations have been a common issue over the last year. Now, with the emergence of the latest COVID-19 variant, it appears things will only be getting worse. United Airlines has canceled around 120 flights for Christmas Eve. The announcement preceded Delta Airlines who’s now canceled more than 80 flights for Christmas Day. And with airline patrons already fuming over delays, Delta is sure to receive backlash very soon.

COVID-19’s Delta variant definitely dealt a blow to Americans upon its emergence. However, its effects are already incomparable to those of the new Omicron variant. Now, identified as the pandemic’s most infectious strand, Omicron remains the main reason for hundreds of now-canceled flights.

According to yahoo!news, Delta Airlines canceled 84 flights on Christmas Day as of 7:30 p.m. ET, on Thursday. Christmas Eve saw an additional 79 flights canceled by the airline.

Meanwhile, United reports a total of 121 canceled flights for Christmas Eve accompanied by 27 Christmas Day.

COVID Restrictions Pose Challenges for Major Airlines

For now, the news outlet reports Delta has not made any comment regarding the holiday cancellations. However, United did address concerns, citing the Omicron variant as a major contributor toward canceled and delayed flights.

Now, while airlines take suffer major flack for continuous cancellations, several airlines and related industries have appealed to the CDC to shorten recommended isolation times for vaccinated individuals.

The 2020 guidelines require infected or exposed employees to isolate for a period of 10 days. However, airlines like JetBlue, Delta, and trade group Airlines for America have sent letters asking the national agency to alter previous requirements.

In regard to the latest COVID-19 variant, Airlines for America CEO Nick Calio said, “The Omicron surge may exacerbate personnel shortages and create significant disruptions to our workforce and operations.” As such, “[W]e believe that variables such as vaccine rates, improved treatments, and mask mandates should be considered as the pandemic and science continue to evolve.”

United Patrons Furious Over Holiday Cancelations

Among the latest Christmas flight cancelations, airline patrons have shared furious responses on social media. Most prevalently, United Airlines has taken major hits following their 100+ Christmas Eve cancelations.

One woman wrote, “‘Apologies for inconvenience'[…]do nothing for a woman who cannot see her dying mother. No organization and a lack of compassion make [United Airlines] a JOKE.”

Another frustrated United patron posted, “[Asked] the [United Airlines] flight attendant for advice since the delay was gonna make me miss my connection and he said ‘What do you want me to do about that? Good luck.'” The post, already highlighting frustration among passengers and personnel alike, was followed by the hashtag, “Merry Christmas.”

As a whole, the latest variant has been kind to no one, and as the Christmas holiday is literally hours away, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not more cancelations follow.