Canceled flights disrupt holiday travel

Many travelers found themselves stranded in airports over the weekend as one word repeatedly appeared on airport video screens—“canceled.”

Airlines scrubbed more than 700 flights on Sunday as positive COVID-19 tests led to staffing shortages. And that came after more than a thousand cancellations on Christmas Day. Globally, airlines scrapped more than 5,000 flights over the weekend.

Will the cancellations continue? Canceled flights are likely to remain a problem this week. Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research, said rising COVID-19 case numbers can be a rough predictor of air travel interruptions, since the sick are likely to include airline workers.

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New U.S. coronavirus infections, fueled mainly by the omicron variant, have exploded in recent weeks, with positive tests now topping 200,000 per day. But omicron appears to be less lethal than previous variants. COVID-19-related deaths have not risen significantly over the past month.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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