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Omicron Canceled Thousands of Flights. These Airports Were Hit Hardest.

News Airports + Flying
by Olivia Harden Dec 29, 2021

If you had plans to celebrate away from home for the New Year holiday or to even take a well-earned vacation, be prepared to change your plans: Flight delays and cancellations continue to rise as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 rapidly spreads throughout the globe. Combined with frosty weather conditions, airlines and airports are facing down yet another pandemic-related disaster.

On Monday, December 27, more than 2,800 flights were canceled worldwide, and around 1,000 of those flights were within, into or out of the US, according to FlightAware. 11,000 more flights were delayed. On Tuesday, that number rose to 3,130 cancellations, with almost 1,300 of those cancellations being within, into, or out of the US. Delays also rose to 15,226 worldwide, 8,000 of which were within, into, or out of the United States.

It doesn’t seem like these trends are letting up anytime soon. The numbers today as of noon PST are on par with the rest of the week, totaling out to over 2,600 cancellations with 901 coming in or out of the US, and almost 9,000 delays, with 3,115 within, to or from the US. US airlines like Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines seem to be hit the hardest. Alaska has become proactive in canceling or delaying flights a day or two in advance in places like Seattle by about 20 percent to account for de-icing the planes before takeoff, according to Reuters.

If you’re crossing your fingers that you’ll have smooth travels, you might be in trouble at large airports like Denver, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Within the last few hours alone, Denver has canceled 12 flights and delayed almost 60, followed by Los Angeles, canceling 12 flights with 48 delays, and Seattle with 27 delays and 28 cancellations. Here’s a list of the top 10 airports experiencing flight cancellations and delays by the origin airport today thus far.

    1. Seattle-Tacoma Intl (SEA) with 84 cancellations (16 percent) and 70 delays (13 percent)
    2. Newark Liberty Intl (EWR) with 54 cancellations (eight percent) and 79 delays (12 percent)
    3. Chicago O’Hare Intl (ORD) with 39 cancellations (three percent) and 114 delays (11 percent)
    4. Los Angeles Intl (LAX) with 39 cancellations (four percent) and 107 delays (12 percent)
    5. Denver Intl (DEN) with 33 cancellations (three percent) and 145 delays (15 percent)
    6. Boston Logan Intl (BOS) with 24 cancellations (four percent) and 48 delays (nine percent)
    7. Houston Bush Int’ctl (IAH) with 23 cancellations (three percent) and 62 delays (nine percent)
    8. Fort Lauderdale Intl (FLL) with 21 cancellations (four percent) and 57 delays (12 percent)
    9. Minneapolis/St Paul Intl (MSP) with 19 cancellations (three percent) and 104 delays (21 percent)
    10. Orlando Intl (MCO) with 19 cancellations (three percent) and 57 cancellations (10 percent)

You can follow along FlightAware’s Misery Map for live updates of just how miserable your time in the airport might be. And if you end up getting involuntarily bumped from your flight, here’s how to make sure you’re compensated.

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