The holidays are always accompanied by chaotic travel interruptions. These include everything from highway traffic to flight delays. Now, United Airlines is facing backlash among an onslaught of canceled flights. Citing staffing shortages resulting from COVID-19’s latest variant, Omicron, patrons have seen 120 flights canceled the day before Christmas Eve. Now, those same individuals are ripping on the airline, stating the company lacks compassion overall.
According to The U.S. Sun, United confirmed the 120 canceled flights in a direct statement to the outlet on Thursday. Specifically, the airline said, “The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation.”
With that, the company canceled flights, notifying patrons “in advance of them coming to the airport.”
In conclusion, United Airlines stated, “We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”
Travel Rates on the Rise this Christmas Season
Alongside the challenges imposed by the latest COVID-19 variant, the news outlet states the cancelations come at a time when air travel has nationally is expected to rise close to pre-pandemic levels ahead of the holidays.
AAA’s holiday travel forecast predicts 6.4 million Americans will travel by air between December 23rd and January 2nd. Therefore, while the cancelations are surely inconvenient, the total imposes a 184% increase compared to statistics from 2020.
Nevertheless, frustrated passengers had much to say regarding the most recent cancelations.
One woman, in tagging the company, shared on social media, “‘Apologies for inconvenience'[…]do nothing for a woman who cannot see her dying mother. No organization and a complete lack of compassion make [United Airlines] a JOKE.”
Another frustrated patron shared a different interaction to their social media account. “[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.'”
Now, flight crews, airline staff, and patrons alike continue to face major frustration ahead of holiday celebrations. That said, we can only hope a solution can be identified rapidly.
Airlines Face Further Potential Cancelations and Delays in 2022
For many airlines across the country, the challenges resulting in flight delays and cancellations just don’t seem to let up. Ongoing staffing shortage accompanied by the ever-developing COVID-19 pandemic create issues enough for airlines. However, 2022 potentially adds another challenge within the industry.
Cellphone companies across the nation continue to work to improve their services. Although now, 5G networks may cause expensive cancellations and delays with the arrival of the new year.
The latest improvements in cellphone technology are set to roll out on January 5th immediately following the New Year. However, as airlines report the technology could jam in-flight systems and result in 350,000 flight delays annually, several companies are begging brands like Verizon and AT&T to delay the rollout.
On top of hundreds of thousands of delays and cancelations, an industry group reports the cell interruptions could result in a loss of more than $2 billion annually.