27,000 US Flights Cancelled Since Christmas Eve

Today in airports around the world, 3,189 flights were cancelled, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. And 5,155 more flights were cancelled yesterday (with another 1,345 flights also already cancelled for tomorrow). Even in the U.S., the Washington Post reports on "an epic travel meltdown in its third week that has forced the cancellation of more than 27,000 flights since the first signs of trouble on Christmas Eve," again citing figures from FlightAware. By January 1st the number of cancelled U.S. flights just since Christmas Eve was already at 12,000 — and now the Post reports things still haven't gotten any better: A triple whammy of robust demand for holiday travel, staffing shortages triggered by a surge in coronavirus cases and bouts of wintry weather at airline hubs has ushered in one of the worst periods for air travelers in years. More than two weeks later, the surge in daily flight cancellations has shown no signs of abating: Some airlines have announced schedule cuts through the end of the month as they fight to recover... While the number of scrubbed flights has been the biggest obstacle for travelers, it's not the only disruption. About one-third of flights nationwide that have taken off in the past two weeks have been late, with the average delay topping 50 minutes on some days, according to FlightAware. Then there are the hundreds of suitcases and bags still to be claimed at airports — some that didn't follow passengers onto connecting flights; others that were lost when passengers were rerouted through different airports after their original flights were canceled... Since the start of the pandemic, about 50,000 airline employees have left the industry through retirements or voluntary buyouts. When passenger demand began ramping up last spring, airlines scrambled to bring back workers. But a tight job market made recruiting more difficult, and gaps remain even as thousands of new employees have been hired.

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