Headline RoundupDecember 24th, 2021

Omicron Variant Causes Airlines To Cancel Thousands of Christmas Eve Flights

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Over 3,500 flights across the globe that were scheduled for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were abruptly canceled on Friday.

According to flight tracker FlightAware, between 5% and 10% of U.S. airline flights were canceled. Airline representatives attributed the surge of cancellations to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. A spokesperson for United Airlines said that "the nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation." Airlines for America, the group that lobbies on behalf of all major U.S. airlines, is calling on the CDC to relax the quarantine rules for fully vaccinated staff members, and proposed a 5-day isolation period rather than 10 days from the time that symptoms begin. Southwest Airlines, which suffered a "high volume in cancellations" back in October after announcing its decision to mandate vaccinations, said "things are running smoothly." Meanwhile, other airlines such as American Airlines had "nothing to report."

Coverage was fairly consistent across the spectrum. Some outlets quoted conflicting tallies for the total number of flights canceled.

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