US Flight Cancellations Continue As Weather And Omicron Take A Toll

2022 has got off to a very difficult start for the world of commercial aviation in the US. Simple Flying has been following the situation since the holiday season, but the woes brought on by poor weather and coronavirus have now reached the second week of the year. The US saw thousands of delays and cancellations yesterday, with hundreds more expected today.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A320 Snow
Snow often hits the US, but COVID has worsened the existing issues. Photo: formulanone via Flickr

Widespread disruption yesterday

The state of affairs in terms of air travel in certain parts of the US has been a miserable one for a good couple of weeks now. Airlines and their passengers have had to contend with a difficult combination of adverse winter weather and coronavirus-induced staff shortages.

According to USA Today, an East Coast snowstorm forced the cancellation of more than 2,500 US flights on Friday. The Washington Post reports that Southwest Airlines was particularly badly affected, with 17% of its flights that day unable to run. USA Today adds that the low-cost giant also had to cancel a fifth of its Thursday flights due to staff sickness.

The widespread disruption also continued into the weekend. According to data from FlightAware, there were 4,320 delayed flights either within, into, or out of the US yesterday. Furthermore, the country accounted for 1,320 of Saturday’s 3,592 global cancellations. Alaska Airlines, American, SkyWest, Southwest, and United each had over 100 of these.

Southwest Airlines Snow Getty
Southwest Airlines has been hit especially hard by the recent disruption. Photo: Getty Images

Issues ongoing today

Data from FlightAware shows that the disruption faced by US carriers and their passengers will continue today. At the time of writing, there were 1,456 delays to flights reported today, of which 185 could be found in the US. This represents a proportion of just under 13%. However, the situation is somewhat bleaker when it comes to flight cancellations.

Indeed, of the 2,460 flight cancellations that had been reported at the time of writing, the US accounted for almost 1,000 of them. All in all, the 925 cancellations represented around 37.6% of the total global figure. Of course, this may well rise over the course of the day.

As it stands, Southwest, United, and regional specialist SkyWest are the airlines with over 100 cancellations reported today. At 8% of its daily departures, United’s 170 cancellations represent the greatest proportion of non-starters today. Denver was the most disrupted airport at the time of writing, with 106 cancellations, representing 13% of today’s operations.

American Airlines Snow Getty
US carriers have already begun canceling services for tomorrow. Photo: Getty Images

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Problems set to continue into next week

Unfortunately, FlightAware’s data appears to suggest that the disruption will remain ongoing in the early part of next week as well. As it stands, the US accounts for 428 of the global total of 993 cancellations listed for Monday. As reported by USA Today, Sonya Lacore, Southwest’s Vice President of Inflight Operations, hopes to stabilize the situation, stating that:

Our hope is to hope is to stabilize the operation again as we work through winter storms, navigate the national COVID-19 spike, and maintain sufficient staffing.”

Once again, the Dallas-based low-cost carrier has the most cancellations of any US airline on Monday, with 187 reported so far. Operators across the country will hope for a swift resolution to the crisis, so as not to hinder the strength of a potential period of recovery.

What do you make of the situation in the US? Have the cancellations affected your own travel plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.



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