More than 4,000 flights canceled globally New Year's Day due to weather, ongoing COVID-19 surge

More than 4,000 flights were canceled across the world on New Year's Day amid a surge of coronavirus cases and bad weather.

Flight-tracking website FlightAware reported 4,282 canceled flights on Saturday across the globe, with more than 1,800 canceled in the U.S. alone. That follows more than 1,400 canceled flights in the U.S. on New Year's Eve.

More than 5,000 flights have also been delayed, according to FlightAware, as winter storms are expected in much of the Midwestern U.S. over the weekend.


Millions of people are still traveling through the weekend amid delays and cancelations. The Transportation Security Administration reported 1.6 million people passing through its checkpoints on Friday.

According to FlightAware's Misery Map, major delays and cancelations were reported at airports in Miami, Fla., New York City and Dallas, Texas.

Amid a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant, airlines are struggling with staffing shortages as employees fall sick.

On Thursday, JetBlue Airways announced it was canceling 1,200 flights through mid-January in expectation of omicron worsening in the next couple of weeks.

According to FlightAware, the company had canceled 118 trips on Saturday, or 11 percent of all its flights that day, by early afternoon. Another 24 percent of JetBlue's Saturday flights had been delayed by that time.

Other major airlines also canceled significant percentages of their flights, per FlightAware. For instance, Southwest Airlines canceled 472 flights and China Eastern, based in Shanghai, canceled 513, with those cancelations accounting for 13 percent and 26 percent, respectively, of all the flights they had scheduled on Saturday.



The CEO of Delta Air Lines in December asked the CDC to lower its isolation and quarantine guidelines for those who are infected with or exposed to COVID-19, arguing that the existing guidelines were contributing to staffing shortages.

The CDC on Monday dropped the recommended isolation period for those who come into contact with the virus, recommending five days of isolation as opposed to the previous recommendation of 10 days.