Travelers stranded as staff shortages force cancellations – CBS Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After more than 2,500 flights were grounded on Saturday, thousands of travelers found themselves stranded at the airport, waiting for their names to be called for the next available flight.
“I had to change my flight reservation about four or five times,” a traveler told CBS.
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Ground flights cause massive delays and cancellations over the course of a weekend when around 10 million passengers are expected to fly across the country this holiday weekend. In LAX alone, more than 540,000 people are expected to take their flights this weekend. On Saturday at LAX there were 280 delays and 134 cancellations.
Airlines attribute the cancellations and delays to winter weather conditions and the highly contagious variant of Omicron that has infected many airport workers, with more than 1,700 TSA officers sick with COVID-19.
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“The airlines didn’t see this new variant coming,” said Brian Sumers, travel editor. “If pilots, flight attendants, and boarding agents can’t get to work, how can airlines handle the program they sold to the public months ago?
United Airlines has offered triple pay to incent pilots in hopes of alleviating January shortages. A union of flight attendants is fighting back against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after the agency reduced the isolation time for those infected to five days from the original 10.
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“The problem is, now we’re adding more and more sick people to our ranks,” said flight attendant Sara Nelson. We’re going to have more crews who are sick.