United and Delta cancel flights right before Christmas Eve

Omicron cases this week had direct impact on flight crews
Originally Published: 23 DEC 21 21:02 ET
Updated: 24 DEC 21 07:27 ET

(CNN) — Several US airlines have canceled flights just before Christmas Eve.

On Thursday, United Airlines said it had to “cancel some flights” because of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” said a United memo obtained by CNN.

United has canceled more than 160 flights, representing 9% of its total schedule, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

United said it is “notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport,” according to a company statement. “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.”

Later Thursday night, Delta Air Lines also canceled flights. The airline has canceled 120 Christmas Eve flights, according to FlightAware.

Delta said the cancellations are due to multiple issues including the Omicron variant.

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” Delta said in a statement. “Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.”

Additionally, JetBlue canceled more than 50 flights, or about 5% of its overall schedule.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it canceled 17 flights because of Omicron and more cancellations are possible on Christmas Eve.

– Andy Rose and Sharif Paget contributed to this report

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