Staff COVID cases and bad weather led to Saturday’s cancellations.
COVID-19 cases among airline staff and poor weather led to 2,581 flight cancellations nationwide as of 4 p.m. Saturday, according to Flight Aware.
The news comes after a week of massive flight cancellations, bringing the total number of flight cancellations this week to more than 12,000.
The number of canceled flights on Saturday was the highest in a single day this week.
Airlines, which have been canceling hundreds of flights every day since Christmas Eve, canceled the highest number of flights on Saturday. On New Year’s Eve, 1,625 flights were cancelled.
On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration warned travelers that flight cancellations would continue due to staffing issues.
Southwest Airlines said it canceled 473 New Year’s flights. The company said it would suspend operations at its Chicago Midway hub on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. CST due to weather conditions.
“Our planners have proactively suspended operations at both Chicago airports beginning at 1:00 p.m. CST today (we are operating well over 200 departures per day at Chicago Midway) in anticipation of gusty winds and blowing snow that decades of our history of operating at this airport show us will slow down airspace and also make de-icing and re-aircraft very difficult,” Southwest told ABC News in a statement.
“There is no doubt that for passengers on all airlines, travel to Chicago will be difficult today,” Southwest Airlines said.
Delta Airlines said it canceled 196 flights on Saturday.
“A combination of issues, including but not limited to inclement weather in parts of the country and the impact of the omicron variant, are causing cancellations,” the airline said on its website.
American Airlines said it canceled 207 flights on Saturday.
“The winter storm in Chicago is impacting our operations, accounting for a significant number of our mainline cancellations,” American said in a statement to ABC News. “This affects both flights to and from Chicago and other flight sequences for our crew. The number of COVID-related sickness calls is consistent with what we have seen over the past few days. The vast majority of affected flights were pre-cancelled yesterday, so we could proactively inform and accommodate our customers and avoid last minute disruptions at the airport.”
American Airlines also said it had “issued a travel advisory to allow all customers whose travel plans are impacted by the Chicago storm to rebook without change fees. We apologize to our customers whose plans travel arrangements have been affected and would like to thank our team who have worked tirelessly to help us take care of our customers.”
Skywest Airlines said it canceled 465 flights on Saturday.
“We continue to experience the impact of weather and the omicron variant at multiple SkyWest hubs, and have proactively canceled a significant number of flights due to weekend weather in Chicago, Denver and Detroit,” Skywest Airlines said in a statement to ABC News. .
Skywest also said its teams are “working non-stop to minimize impact to customers and crew. Customers should check their carrier’s website or app for the latest information on their flight.”