Omicron Grounds Thousands of Flights

By Sasha Budesa, Staff Writer

Thousands of flights have been canceled across the United States as the Omicron variant tears through the United States. The cause of most of these cancellations has been COVID-19 outbreaks among airline staff.

Airline cancellations started just before Christmas, at the peak of holiday travel, but have continued well into January. In addition to rising Omicron cases, several airlines operating in the Northeast have had to ground flights due to heavy snowfall.

As of January 11th, 2022, more than 5,000 flights have been canceled in the United States alone. 2,500 flights were grounded Sunday, and an additional 1,700 on Monday.

United Airlines, whose hub is at Newark Airport, canceled more than 500 flights, a significant part of its schedule.

In an effort to alleviate the shortage of staff, United Airlines has been offering pilots large bonuses of cash to pick up unstaffed flights.

“Flight attendants are trying their best … people who are flying just to go on vacation are part of this issue because they’re infecting flight staff,” said Chayse Buckley, a senior at Wayne Hills.

Airlines are hoping that the so-called “holiday rush” of air travel will subside soon, when decreased travel demand may give them some breathing room.