According to FlightAware´s official website, mass cancellations coinciding with holiday travelers trying to get back home are creating havoc for airlines, who now must scramble to rebook passengers who had their flights delayed or canceled.
Passengers have complained of intense customer service waiting periods as many try to get home for the New Year´s Eve, according to The Washington Post.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that over two million US citizens were traveling for the holidays, which is a remarkable figure as the pandemic continues to surge nationwide amid the spread of the new omicron variant.
Airlines were previously optimistic of a full rebound of flights in December, as around Thanksgiving time, flights were being booked at around 90% of their 2019 capacities, according to the Post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week scaled back the isolation period for those who tested positive for Covid-19 to five days, down from 10, which helped bring team members back to work more quickly, reports the Post.
Some heads of airline companies expressed relief at this decision, but concerns have been raised by employees, including unions for airline workers.
“If any business pressures a worker to return to work before they feel better we will make clear it is an unsafe work environment, which will cause a much greater disruption than any ‘staffing shortages,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said in a statement, according to the Post.