How Many Flights Have Been Canceled on Christmas Eve?

by Matthew Memrick

There were hundreds of flights canceled for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the pandemic and weather are to blame.

Flight Aware, a flight-tracking website, said United Airlines stopped 168 flights from happening on Friday. Another airline had 47 flights stopped for Saturday. Delta Air Lines dropped 115 flights on Christmas Eve while canceling 52 for Christmas Day.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” a United Airlines spokesperson told The New York Post.

Hopefully, passengers have checked their flight before heading down to the airport this morning. Airlines were reaching out to affected customers.

If you’re curious, the least busy days for airlines have typically been Dec. 24, 25, 31, and Jan. 1. The website Vacationer said that the worst days to depart this year were Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, while the worst returning days were Dec. 26 and Dec. 27.

Weather A Factor In Christmas Eve Cancellations, Too

In Seattle and Salt Lake City, winter storms also put the kibosh on flights. 

Fox Weather reported that heavy snow in Washington state to California might happen in mountain areas. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for those regions.

A Delta spokesperson told the New York Post that officials worked hard to “reroute” and “make substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying.” However, the airline canceled 90 flights for Friday.

Delta apologized and informed the newspaper’s readers they were hard at work making the necessary arrangements for passengers.

Self-Isolation Days A Debate For Airlines, Others

A recent USA Today report mentioned that airline executives are urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update national guidance on cutting the length of quarantines for those under COVID-19 protocols. Currently, the CDC and a flight attendant group pushed for ten days. 

The news story mentioned that Delta, JetBlue, and trade group Airlines for America (A4A) wanted reduced days. Delta and AFA wanted five days.

A4A’s Thursday letter to the CDC said things have changed with the initial guidance over self-isolation. The trade group added that “vaccine rates, improved treatments, and mask mandates” should be factored in as the pandemic and science evolve. 

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which backs about 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines, wrote to the CDC to voice support for the 10-day guidelines.

According to CNBC, more than 90% of Delta employees and more than 96% of United’s U.S. staff got vaccines before Christmas Day. The website also mentioned that some airlines like American and Southwest had battled staffing shortages by offering compensation for staff to work peak holiday trips and reach attendance goals.