Americans returning home from a vacation trip had to battle another day of airport chaos on Sunday, with more than 2, 600 flights canceled due to bad weather or airline staffing issues sparked by a spike in Covid cases. More disruptions are anticipated for Monday as a winter storm blows to the eastAs of 10:00 pm (0300 GMT Monday), more than 2,650 domestic or international flights starting or ending in the United States had been canceled, nearly as many as the 2,750 scrapped over the course of Saturday, the tracking service said. FlightAware flights. That number accounted for more than half of the nearly 4,400 canceled flights worldwide. Almost 8,600 US flights were delayed. Southwest Airlines, one of the worst-hit airlines, had to cancel about 400 flights on Sunday morning, a spokesperson said in an email to AFP, adding that it expected more cancellations.
Passenger Nick Kagy was beside himself after his flight to Southwest was canceled. “ARE YOU Joking at me @SouthwestAir,” he wrote on Twitter. “We waited on hold for almost 3 hours to rebook because we couldn’t rebook online, and after sorting things out (not quite), he canceled our second flight to another airport.” On Saturday, bad weather, largely related to winter storm Frida, forced Southwest to cancel 490 flights, most of them in north-central states south of the Great Lakes and reaching west as far as the Great Plains. The result; intense frustration for many travellers.
Missed connections; “This is crazy,” tweeted Haley, another Southwest passenger who was trying to fly in from Chicago. “This is the third cancellation and I am not home yet. He was supposed to be home 4 days ago !!! “Chicago airports, a major transit hub, were hit the hardest on Saturday, but by Sunday Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Houston and Newark airports were also hit hard. A woman named Kayla described her own experience: “I was supposed to get home at 10:30 am yesterday morning. and at this point I had 3 flights canceled and one delayed to the point where I lost my connection.” Around the world, air traffic has suffered problems since Christmas due to airline personnel issues related to the spread of the highly contagious variant of the Omicron coronavirus.
Many pilots and flight attendants have reported sick after testing positive for the virus or being forced to self-quarantine due to contact with someone who has the virus. This has left carriers understaffed and forced to delay or cancel flights. The latest travel chaos brought echoes of a frustrating Christmas weekend, when around 7,500 flights were canceled around the world. And rebooking canceled flights has been a huge challenge for many. One traveler, Eric Crawford, described his frustration when trying to call a Delta Airline agent to reschedule. “An estimated wait time of more than 22 hours to speak to a representative about a canceled flight,” he said on Twitter, “is not the best look to start in 2022.” And Kowshick Boddu offered this account, also on Twitter, about his problems with Alaska Air: “We were supposed to fly from Fairbanks to San Jose on December 30, but our flights were rescheduled for today, which was finally canceled again. Long hours of waiting for customer calls, no response, and flights not rebooked? Need help!!”
Travel issues are expected to continue through Monday, the first business day of 2022. Storm Frida will continue on a disruptive path eastward, forecasters said, bringing snow across a wide swath from Washington on the mid-Atlantic coast to Boston, Massachusetts in the north. Almost 1,400 Monday flights have already been canceled within, within or outside the United States.