Over 3,000 flights canceled on Christmas morning
It’s a blue Christmas for some travelers this year, as airlines have already canceled more than 3,000 flights and delayed more than 9,600 others before noon EST Sunday. A combination of harsh winter conditions and continued staff shortages contributed to the problem.
On Christmas Eve, airlines around the world canceled 5,775 trips and delayed nearly 19,000 others, according to monitoring site FlightAware. Of that total, some 3,488 canceled flights were to, within or outside the United States.
These numbers are much higher than last year, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics: in December 2021, about 420 flights per day were canceled on average and only about 3,800 delayed.
Many thanks to Winter Storm ElliottSouthwest Airlines ranked worst among US-based airlines for on-time departures Sunday morning, with 471 cancellations (about 12% of its entire schedule) and 1,112 delays (30%).
According to the travel industry blog View from the Wing, Southwest is suffering from a shortage of pilots and ramp agents. Her customer service phone line was under such siege that she reportedly stopped taking calls. On Saturday, the airline declared an “operational state of emergency” at its hub, Denver International Airport, where nearly half (46%) of all flights were delayed.
“With more than half of the airports where we operate in the continental United States under the stress of the storm, Southwest is particularly affected, given its size and structure,” Southwest said in a notice.
Delta came in second for the most missed flights on Christmas morning, with 445 cancellations and 231 delays.
“The decision to cancel flights is never one that Delta takes lightly, especially during the holiday season,” the airline said in a statement posted on its website. “But the safety of our customers and staff is paramount. We strive to cancel flights well in advance of scheduled departure to allow our customers to adjust their plans before heading to the airport.”
United, the second closest carrier, had just 145 cancellations and 312 delays.
Thanks to freezing temperatures and the threat of black ice, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta’s U.S. hub, saw the most disruption of any airport in the world on Sunday — 94 flights canceled and 109 delayed. Another 119 flights due to arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson have been canceled and 94 delayed.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency until Monday “to mitigate the potential consequences of this winter weather.”
Continue reading:How to avoid flight delays and cancellations
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