Flight cancellations pile up again on Tuesday

For a fourth consecutive day, U.S. flight cancellations exceeded 1,000 on Tuesday. Airlines are once again citing omicron-related call-outs and winter weather as the reasons.

“The ongoing impact of these factors is not something we can predict, but we do anticipate additional delays and cancellations this week, unfortunately,” Allegiant Air spokeswoman Hilarie Grey said. 

As of 3 p.m. Eastern time, the U.S. cancellation count had climbed to 1,080, according to FlightAware. 

Alaska Airlines, which had its operation sharply impacted by a snowstorm in Seattle over the weekend, continues to be the mainline U.S. carrier dealing with the highest percentage of cancellations. Alaska canceled 17% of its scheduled mainline flights on Tuesday, while regional subsidiary Horizon Air canceled 22% of its schedule. 

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Alaska anticipates more difficulties in the coming days, with more bad weather coming and employees calling in sick due to Covid-19 infection.

“Given the challenging weather situation in Seattle, impacting guests throughout our network, we strongly urge guests who do not have to travel before Jan. 2 to consider rescheduling their travel to a later date,” the airline said in a statement. “With more snow expected this week and staffing issues, we’re unable to re-accommodate most guests for at least three days.”

SkyWest, which flies regional flights for Alaska as well as Delta, United and American, canceled 11% of its schedule on Tuesday. Among other U.S. carriers, Spirit canceled 10% of its schedule, JetBlue 8% and Allegiant 6%. 

The Big 3 carriers also continued to struggle with operations. Delta said it canceled more than 250 of its 4,100-plus scheduled mainline and regional flights due to omicron call-outs and winter weather. 

United said it canceled 93 mainline and regional flights Tuesday due to Covid. Overall, the carrier had 132 cancellations within its mainline fleet Tuesday, according to FlightAware, to go along with cancellations within the United Express regional network.

American Airlines had 98 total cancellations within its mainline and regional networks, according Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, a union representing American pilots. 

Tajer said that inadequate pilot staffing has played a role in American’s cancellations over the holiday period alongside omicron-related call-outs. 

“They have been thinly staffed coming into this and they are trying to fly a robust schedule,” he said. 

Among other U.S. airlines, Southwest canceled 2% of its Tuesday schedule. Frontier canceled just three flights. And Hawaiian had no cancellations. 

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