Hundreds more flights canceled over COVID-driven staffing issues

At least 760 more flights were canceled across the US on Monday morning as the Christmas travel chaos sparked by COVID-driven shortages and delays continued.

As of 8 a.m., 760 flights to, from or within the US had been axed and another 930 were delayed across the country, FlightAware data showed.

It added to the staggering 2,300 US flights that were canceled over the Christmas holiday weekend as some airlines struggled to replace crew members struck down by the Omicron variant.

Huge lines snaked through airport terminals across the country Sunday as travelers tried to check in or get rebooked on new flights, according to videos posted on social media.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 2 million people at its checkpoints nationwide Sunday.

Travelers line up at a curbside check-in area at Denver International Airport on December 26, 2021.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The agency said it expected to screen nearly 30 million people from Dec. 20 through Jan. 3.

Delta, United and JetBlue have all acknowledged that their disruptions were due in part to staffers being affected by the spread of COVID.

American Airlines said its cancellations on Saturday were down to “COVID-related sick calls.”

Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights Sunday, citing staffing problems tied to COVID-19 to extend the nation's travel problems beyond Christmas.
Airlines continued to cancel hundreds of flights, citing staffing problems tied to COVID-19 to extend the nation’s travel problems beyond Christmas.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

“The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” United said in a statement.

“As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”

Other factors, including bad weather, have also contributed to the widespread cancellations, according to the airlines.

Travelers use their baggage for seats near the Southwest Airlines baggage carousels in Denver International Airport.
Travelers use their baggage for seats near the baggage carousels in Denver International Airport.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

To ease staffing shortages, countries including Spain and the UK have recently reduced the length of COVID-19 isolation periods by letting people return to work sooner after testing positive for or being exposed to the virus.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian was among those who have called on the Biden administration to take similar steps or risk further disruptions in air travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend those who test positive for COVID isolate for 10 days.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 2 million people at its checkpoints nationwide on December 26, 2021.
The TSA said it screened more than 2 million people at its checkpoints nationwide on December 26, 2021.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The US shortened isolation rules for health care workers only last Thursday.

With Post wires