DALLAS — For air travelers, the new year picked up where the old one left off – with lots of frustration. By midmorning Saturday on the East Coast, more than 2,300 U.S. flights had been canceled, according to tracking service FlightAware. That’s the highest single-day toll yet since airlines began blaming staffing shortages on increasing COVID-19 infections among crews just before Christmas.
Saturday’s disruptions weren’t just due to the virus, however. Wintry weather made Chicago the worst place in the country for travelers, with 800 flights scrubbed at O’Hare Airport and more than 250 at Midway Airport.
Southwest had canceled more than 450 flights, or 13% of its schedule. SkyWest, which operates flights as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, grounded more than 400 flights, or 21% of its schedule. American, Delta, United and JetBlue all scrubbed more than 100 flights each.