Omicron Variant Prompts Delays, Cancellations at San Diego Airport

The airport was quiet with minimal travelers passing through on Christmas Eve

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Delta and United Airlines Friday canceled several flights at San Diego International Airport on Friday, attributing the cancellations to complications from the omicron COVID-19 variant and inclement weather in some parts of the country.

One local parent at the airport told NBC 7 on Friday that he was concerned a family member would be affected by the Delta outages.

"My son is traveling this morning, and we were a little concerned because we hear that Delta and United cancelled a bunch of flights," Scott Arnold said, adding later, "to be frank, he’s stopping in Atlanta on his way to the East Coast, so we are hoping for the best and prepared to do something if needed."

Scott's wife, Susana, shared her husband's concerns.

"He has a connection in Atlanta, [where] we don’t have any relatives — he’s flying alone," Susana said. "He’s a minor, but he’s too old to be accompanied because he’s 17, so our biggest concern is perhaps that he gets stuck in Atlanta and his connection … arriving late. There’s less and less flight available the later the day goes."

Traveler Tricia Bal was just wrapping up a vacation in San Diego and was headed home on a United flight.

"I checked, and, according to United, it’s on time. so I hope it stays that way and I’ll keep checking and if that changes then we will have to adapt," Bal said, later sharing up her backup plan if her flight was canceled: "We’ll have to see if we can get a flight out as soon as possible, and, if not, we will have to stay here maybe a few more days, which wouldn’t be the end of the world but it would be a change of plans."

Luis Nascimento, who was headed to São Paulo, ran into issues, he told NBC 7 on Friday, but was able to find a silver lining

"Well, my flight has been delayed a couple of times, but since I’m having issues getting my test results from Kaiser, it actually helped me, so I’m still waiting, otherwise I would’ve missed the flight by now but it was delayed a couple of times already."

United Airlines spokeswoman Maddie King said United flies an average of 4,000 flights daily during the holiday season, pointing out Friday's cancellations "represent a small portion of those flights."

"The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation," King said. "As a result, we have unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport. We are sorry for the disruption and are working hard to re-book as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays."

On, the airline posted a notification about its canceled flights.

"As winter weather impacts the Northwest and Northeast U.S, the Omicron variant continues to surge, and Delta teams exhausted all options and resources before canceling around 158 flights in today's nearly 3,100-flight schdeule," Delta said. "We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working together around the clock to reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get customers where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible. When that is not possible, Delta reservations specialists coordinate with our operations and customer center to get those impacted on the next available flight."

Delta said a combination of issues, including but not limited to inclement weather in some parts of the country coupled with impacts of the Omicron variant are "driving cancellations and potential delays." Delta said upwards of 150 flight cancellations per day are expected both Saturday and Sunday this holiday weekend.

Customers are encouraged to check their flight status and manage their re-booking on or via the Fly Delta mobile app. Updates can also be sent directly to a mobile device or by email.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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