Dozens of flights canceled in South Florida, leaving plenty of travelers stranded

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Affect Flights — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Image by: Dima Berlin

Major airlines have canceled hundreds of flights across the country as the omicron variant has jumbled schedules and drew down staffing levels during the busy holiday season. Dozens of flights were canceled on Saturday morning at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, leaving travelers stranded on Christmas. 

According to airport officials, over 20 flights were canceled at FLL and at least 24 flights were canceled at MIA as of 10:30 a.m. By 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Miami International Airport had 54 canceled flights while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had 48. The coronavirus pandemic’s omicron variant is having major impact on crews.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating, of course, because we’re stuck here. We can’t travel, so what can I do?” said Oscar Cardozo.

He and his son were supposed to travel back home to Montreal from Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon but received an email hours before their flight saying that it was canceled. 

Now, they’re stuck (like many others), and on top of finding a new flight, they also need to retest for COVID-19, as they are required to be completed 72 hours before departure. 

In a statement from American Airlines, the COO said, “The cancellations were the result of severe winds and staffing being run tight as crewmembers ended up outside of their regular flight sequence.”

According to the FlightAware database, the flights were among the 2,519 cancelations on Saturday. Delta reported the highest number of cancelations with 290, and United followed with 238.

Delta Airlines released a statement on Friday attributing the cancelations to “a combination of issues” including the winter weather in both the northwest and northeast, and the omicron variant.

United Airlines also released a statement reporting the nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a “direct impact on flight crews and the people who run the operations.”

”As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport” the airline continued.

Experts are advising to check ahead before going to the airport and to take a look in advance at what other flights are traveling to the same place around the same time, that way you have a backup flight in case yours gets canceled at the last minute.

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