United and Delta cancel more than 200 Christmas Eve flights in the United States amid COVID outbreak


December 23 (Reuters) – United Airlines and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) said on Thursday they had each canceled dozens of Christmas Eve flights as the spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron wreaks havoc on its flight crews and other workers.

Chicago-based United canceled 120 flights for Friday, while Atlanta-based Delta said it canceled around 90. The two said they were working to contact passengers so they wouldn’t be stranded in the air. the airports.

“The national peak of Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations. As a result, we have unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are informing affected customers in advance that they are coming to airport, ”United said.

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Delta said it had “exhausted all options and resources – including rerouting and substitutions of planes and crews to cover scheduled flights – before canceling about 90 flights for Friday.”

Travelers push their luggage after baggage claim inside the United Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) during the holiday season as the Omicron variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threatens to increase the number of cases in Los Angeles, California, United States on December 22, 2021. REUTERS / Bing Guan

Delta cited potential inclement weather and the impact of the Omicron variant on cancellations.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian on Tuesday called on the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated people who experience groundbreaking COVID-19 infections, citing the impact on the carrier’s workforce. Bastian asked that the period of isolation be reduced to five days from the current 10.

The request was echoed both by Airlines for America, a trade group representing major freight and passenger carriers, which wrote to the CDC on Thursday, and by JetBlue on Wednesday.

The CDC on Thursday released updated quarantine guidelines for healthcare workers, reducing the isolation time to seven days for workers who test positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic, provided they are negative. Read more

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Reporting by David Shepardson in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Editing by Leslie Adler

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