By DAN MCCALEB
THE CENTER SQUARE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
(The Center Square) – Monday began with thousands of more flight cancellations globally and nearly 5,000 delays as airlines continued to struggle with staffing issues during this holiday travel season.
Domestically, 956 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled as of noon Eastern Monday, according to the tracking site FlightAware. An additional 2,421 flights in the U.S. were delayed.
Globally, more than 2,500 flights were canceled Monday as Christmas travelers sought to return home. More than 7,600 international flights were experiencing delays.
United Airlines canceled 93 flights as of noon Monday, American canceled 81 and Delta, 73.
SB municipal airport had no cancellations either Sunday or Monday morning, due to Omicron.
“We did have one United cancellation on Christmas morning. Although we do not have confirmation on the reason for the cancellation, the 5:20 a.m. flight to Denver did not come in the night before in order to be on the ground for the first departure of the day. Passengers were generally re-booked on later United Denver flights that day. But it’s possible – in fact, probable – that those later flights would not have enough capacity to accommodate everyone since that first United departure is a larger aircraft. Departures for all airlines right now out of SBA are quite full, so finding available seats the day of departure is pretty difficult,” Deanna Zachrisson, development business manager for the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, told the News-Press in an email.
All United Airline flights out of Santa Barbara on Sunday and early Monday morning departed normally.
The omicron variant, the dominant coronavirus variant currently infecting people in the U.S., is being blamed for much of the staffing shortages. Omicron is significantly more transmissible than earlier variants but early studies indicate its symptoms are far less severe on most individuals who contract it.
Bad weather in certain locations also is leading to cancellations.
JetBlue canceled 66 flights as of Monday morning. Spirit has canceled 50 flights; Southwest, 48.
On Sunday, more than 1,500 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled, while more than 3,200 were canceled globally.
News-Press Correspondent Katherine Zehnder contributed to this report.