Bad weather and Omicron variant play global havoc with weekend holiday travel

Across the globe this past weekend, over 4,000 scheduled flights were cancelled either as a direct consequence of poor weather or the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. In the United States alone, over 2,400 flights either arriving or departing were cancelled on Sunday, January 2, while globally, over 11,000 flights were delayed.

According to FlightAware, American carriers with the most cancellations included SkyWest and SouthWest with 510 and 419 cancelled flights respectively. The high level of transmission with the Omicron variant has seen multiple instances of pilots and crew having to quarantine, resulting in multiple flight cancellations. This is despite carriers having provided a raft of attractive financial incentives for previously laid off staff to return, together with bonuses to work over the holiday season. According to some airline unions, the fear of contracting COVID-19 and the prospect of having to deal with increasing numbers of unruly passengers has led to a reluctance to work overtime.

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