Omicron cases force airlines to cancel hundreds of Christmas Eve flights

SPOKANE, Wash.— Getting home for the holidays just got harder for some people flying out on Christmas Eve. That’s because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alaska, Delta and United airlines said the omicron variant is forcing some flight cancelations.

United said it was seeing about 120 flight cancelations for Friday across its network.

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

Alaska said even though it prepared for the busy holiday travel days, some of its employees reported that they might have been exposed to COVID. Therefore, they must quarantine at home. That led to 17 flight cancelations on Thursday. The airline said it could also lead to more cancelations on Christmas Eve.

“We apologize to our guests impacted by the cancellations that may have taken a bit of the merry out of this holiday season. We realize it’s incredibly frustrating when travel doesn’t go as planned, especially now as many of us are eager to connect with family and friends,’ the airline said in a statement. “We’re working as quickly as possible to get all our affected guests rebooked on other flights. To allow our guests to rebook their flights at their own convenience, we’ve implemented a flexible travel waiver on alaskaair.com. Guests with travel scheduled between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2 can change their tickets online, with travel to be completed by Jan. 31, 2022.”

In a statement, Delta said the cancelations are because of a combination of issues, including but not limited to “potential inclement weather in some areas and the impact of the omicron variant.”

“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. 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.”

If you’re flying in or out of the Spokane International Airport, you can check your flight status here. 

If you are traveling through SeaTac Airport, click here to check the status of your flight.

You can also check with your airline.

RELATED: Driving or flying to your holiday destination? Here’s how to check travel conditions

RELATED: To grandmother’s house or no? Omicron disrupts holiday plans