Close to a week and a half, travelers across the United States have been left stranded as thousands of flights have been canceled and delayed.
Practically 1,400 U.S. flights were canceled on Thursday and nearly 8,000 have been delayed, according to FlightAware, which tracks flights status in real-time. There have been more than 8,400 cancellations and more than 45,000 delays within, to, or from the U.S. since Christmas Eve.
“We look at flights but see, the thing is they’re connected to people,” said Captain Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesperson for their pilot’s union, Allied Pilots Association. “For each one of those passengers, there may be five to 10 family members and friends that were counting on them being at the holiday table.”
While Southwest has associated this week’s flight uproars to winter weather, several other U.S. airlines have also cited the surge of COVID cases among staff as contributing factors.
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There were more than 1.8 million new COVID cases reported in the U.S. this past week according to the analysis of Johns Hopkins data. Flu cases have been on the rise, too.
In a perfect storm of circumstances, between inclement weather and another coronavirus wave, travel industry experts expect the holiday travel season to come to a bumpy end for customers, and winter is just beginning.