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<p>United cancels more than 100 flights </p>

United cancels more than 100 flights

More than 1,000 Christmas flights cancelled in response to Omicron

United Airlines scraps 150 Christmas Eve flights

Helen Coffey
Friday 24 December 2021 08:07

More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled in the run-up to Christmas, leaving travellers stranded far from loved ones.

The surge in Omicron cases across the globe is largely to blame, with United Airlines scrapping at least 150 Christmas Eve flights in the US, according to data from flight tracking site FlightAware.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” said a United staff memo, seen by CNN.

The airline said in a statement to customers: “We're sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”

And the chaos could continue into Christmas Day.

A United spokesperson told The New York Times: “We are really managing this day by day. There may be some more flight cancellations for Saturday. It’s possible.”

Also in the US, Delta has axed more than 100 Christmas Eve flights at the last minute.

The carrier attributed the cancellations to various factors, including the Omicron spike.

“We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” Delta said.

“Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.”

Alaska Airlines has also dropped 17 flights and said more cancellations may happen today as a result of the Omicron variant.

Elsewhere, Australia has seen multiple flight cancellations in Sydney and Melbourne amid record numbers of coronavirus infections.

Some 80 services out of 500 scheduled to arrive at or depart from Sydney on 24 December have been nixed; more than 10 per cent of Melbourne’s Christmas Eve flights are off (more than 70 out of 700). Brisbane Airport has cancelled 45 flights so far.

“A large number of our frontline team members are being required to test and isolate as close contacts given the increasing number of cases in the general community,” a Jetstar Airways spokesperson said of the disruption to services.

“As a result, we have had to make some late adjustments to our schedule.”

Closer to home, Ryanair has chopped its January schedule by a third due to new European travel restrictions imposed to halt the spread of Omicron.

Europe’s biggest budget carrier said the tightening border controls had “notably weakened” near-term Christmas and new year bookings, and that January capacity was dropping from a planned 10 million passengers to six-seven million.

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