Dozens of Houston flights canceled or delayed on Christmas Eve – Houston Chronicle

Dozens of flights planned to go through George Bush Intercontinental Airport were canceled or delayed Christmas Eve, as a global spike in COVID cases impacted flight crews.

The same trend was seen around the world, with more than 7,500 flight delays and more than 2,200 cancellations by Friday afternoon, according to flight tracker database FlightAware. Of those flights, more than 1,700 delays and 2,200 cancellations were flights within, originating in or destined for the U.S.

In Houston, 71 flights were delayed and 41 canceled by Friday afternoon at Bush Intercontinental. Another 39 were canceled for Saturday.

United and Delta both blamed a rise in Omicron cases for staff shortages causing the disruption.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” officials from United said in a prepared statement Thursday. “As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”

Delta Air Lines also said severe weather caused some delays and cancellations.

“Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying — before canceling around 90 flights for Friday,” officials said in a statement. “We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. 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.”

By Friday afternoon, hundreds more flight delays and cancellations across the globe were scheduled for Saturday.

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