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Minimal impact in Cleveland after Delta, United cancel flights ahead of Christmas due to omicron variant; expert says future cancellations uncertain

While the impact in Cleveland was minute, flight cancellations moving forward remain uncertain, especially in the next 10 days.

CLEVELAND — Just hours before Christmas Day, several airlines canceled flights because of COVID-19 cases amongst flight crews.

At least seven flights out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport were canceled on Friday, with an additional 10 that were expected to land there also canceled, according to Flightaware.com.

The final stretch to making it home for the holidays came to a screeching halt for some.

“We were definitely worried about getting here in the first place,” one couple who landed in Cleveland said.

Delta and United airlines both pulled the plug on some flights, some because of weather, others because of the coronavirus. At least 111 Delta flights and 69 United flights have been canceled for Christmas Day.

“So many people are flying; so many people are looking forward to get back up in the skies,” University of Akron aviation expert Andrew Thomas told 3News.

While the impact in Cleveland was minute, flight cancellations moving forward remain uncertain, especially in the next 10 days.

“I think what we are going to be dealing with probably the next several months, as this variant plays itself out, is a lot of hassle, some flight cancellations on a daily basis, some unpredictability in regard to that,” Thomas said.

United Airlines said in a statement in part, “The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation.”

“It really becomes a big juggling act on the part of the airline,” Thomas said. “They’re really either going to be dealing with people who are canceling their trips or kid of piecemealing people together.”

Delta Airlines released a statement saying it has, “Exhausted all options and resources, including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying.”

“There’s still a 9 in 10 chance that your flight would be green lighted and you would be able to go,” Thomas said.

If you’re booking or re-booking a flight, experts remind you to double check your list for cancellation policies and consider travel insurance, especially for international trips.

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