Hundreds of flights canceled, staff shortages due to Omicron

Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 22:55:32-05

(WXYZ) — Travelers are making their way to and from metro Detroit for the Christmas holiday. However, this season major airlines report staffing shortages nationwide. The Omicron variant is being blamed, and it’s led to hundreds of flight cancellations this weekend.

“It was just annoying," traveler Amy Emmons said of a cancellation.

She said she and her family are headed to Jacksonville, Florida to see her brother and his family. They were supposed to travel tomorrow on Christmas, but she says she received a text at 6:30 pm last night. The message informed her their flight was canceled.

“So I tried calling. I was on hold for 53 minutes. So I was lucky to go online and pick a new flight. They wanted us to fly out on the 26th, but the girls really wanted to see their cousins," Emmons explained.

They’re headed out. Lamont Milbourne said he’s stuck on a layover to Baltimore.

He recalled, “They took our pilot and gave it to another flight because they needed somebody on the flight. But we were getting to board in 10 minutes. Like, how do you do that?”

It was a last minute shuffle. Airlines like Delta and United report staff shortages because of the Omicron variant.

According to, Delta Airlines canceled 145 flight today and 111 flights for Saturday.

United Airlines canceled a total of 244 between and tomorrow.

Southwest Airlines said operations are running smoothly. American Airlines essentially said the same.

Like those airlines, not every passenger dealt with a headache.

Traveler Roli Okpiaehele said, “Oh, the flight was smooth. We just had a sick passenger on board, but he was well taken care of.”