Thousands of New Year’s Day flights were canceled amid concerns about inclement weather and the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
Approximately 2,600 cancellations for New Year’s flights into and out of the U.S. occurred as of 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Flight Aware.
New Year’s Day saw the greatest number of COVID-19 and weather-related cancellations this week, pushing the holiday week’s canceled flight total over 12,000, ABC News reported
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned Thursday that sharp inclines in COVID-19 infections among airline staff and heavy seasonal traffic may contribute to delays as the new year begins.
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on airline industry staff, United and Spirit Airlines released plans to combat staffing shortages by offering employees financial incentives for their work, Reuters reported.
“All flight attendants, regardless of how you have obtained your pairing, will be receiving 200% pay for any pairing that touches Dec. 28 through Jan. 4,” said a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the union who represents approximately 4,000 flight attendants at Spirit Airlines, the outlet added.
United plans to incentivize pilots who take on additional flights by offering triple pay through January.
Spirit canceled 99 flights and United canceled over 200 flights as of Friday night, ABC reported.
“Things are likely to get worse before it gets better,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told CNBC Thursday, speaking of COVID-related cancellations, the outlet added.
Hayes said he believes the CDC’s new guidelines shortening the required isolation period for asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals who have contracted COVID-19 from 10 days to five days will help, but the significant number of people contracting the virus is still concerning.