TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The surge in new COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant has forced airlines to cancel flights around the country. Now, several airlines are reporting staffing issues due to the virus.
Cancellations have impacted passengers across the country and at Tampa International Airport.
“We are flying to Albuquerque and our flight got delayed about two hours,” passenger Ethan Mason said.
To paraphrase Bugs Bunny, that wrong turn at Albuquerque has created a big problem for the Mason family.
“The two hour delay into Houston means we are likely to miss our flight into Albuquerque, so we are trying to figure out how to get those flights because there’s not a lot of flights,” Mason said.
His mother says it’s having an impact on their Christmas plans.
“Well, we’ve got two kids that are on a flight that was canceled and the rest of the family is on another flight, so we were all supposed to arrive within a few minutes of each other originally and now we are going to be three hours apart,” said Angela Mason who is now concerned they may not all be together for Christmas.
“We’d like to be settled tonight so we can all be together on Christmas Day, so it would be nice to all be togethe,” she added.
The Mason family isn’t alone. According to FlightAware, more than two thousand domestic flights have been canceled by airlines in the U.S. Chris Fadigan and his new wife found out Thursday there is a problem with their flight on Friday.
“As of yesterday it was pushed back till 1:15 ish today and just in the last hour it was pushed to 3:15 or so, however that would have us missing our connector,” Fadigan said.
It’s not the first time COVID has impacted the lives of the young couple.
“We got married in the times of COVID, so I haven’t changed my last name yet,” Fadigan’s wife, Stephanie Avery said.
Instead of getting angry or frustrated, they came up with a good alternative plan.
“With everything going on in the world, with COVID and staffing issues, we kind of just very quickly had a radical acceptance that this may not happen as we planned it, so thinking of a destination that would have a lot of hotels, maybe Vegas as our jumping off point and we can go anywhere from there and drive to a national park or something and make the best of it,” Fadigan said.
Several airlines at the Tampa Airport were forced to cancel flights on Friday, including United, Delta, Jet Blue and Alaska Airlines.