Flight disruptions felt at San Diego airport as weather, staffing woes challenge industry

Business

SAN DIEGO — More than 3,000 flights have been canceled this New Year’s Eve nationwide and nearly 10,000 are delayed, impacting airports of all sizes including here in San Diego.

As of early evening Friday, 10 flights were canceled and nearly 100 were seeing delays.

“I wanted to make sure I spend New Year’s with my family,” traveler Francisco Nieves said. “I thought that was going to be in jeopardy multiple times, so it was very stressful.”

Within the U.S., about 10,000 thousand flight cancellations have happened since Christmas Eve and the disruptions continue now through New Year’s Eve.

“After about an hour or an hour and a half on board the airplane, we deplaned and eventually we got an overnight stay in a hotel,” said Sean Glynn, trying to return home to England.

Glenna Colling was trying to get home to Canada Friday morning when her flight was eventually canceled.

“I boarded the flight on time, so that was great and then sat for like an hour,” Colling said, “and then they decided we needed to deplane.”

At Terminal 2 at the San Diego International Airport, the lines were scarce, but the flight boards were lit up with delays. Some were lucky enough to rebooked, but rarely getting to their destination as planned.

“Now we managed to rebook our flight with the same flight back to UK, but a day later,” Glynn said.

“But still, it’s a letdown for New Year’s Eve,” said Colling, who won’t make it home until Saturday.

Tough weather conditions have played a factor in the disruption of flights for Southwest and Alaska Airlines, but the sharp rise in omicron cases also places a strain on staffing at almost all major airlines.

Jet Blue announced this week it would be reducing flights through mid-January. Delta airlines swiftly adopted the CDC’s updated isolation guidance, giving vaccinated workers who test positive for covid-19 five days paid leave.

“I don’t want to fly right now. It’s a nightmare,” Nieves said. “When visiting others, I don’t want to rant or let them know my experiences, but I was just wondering what happened in the last couple of days.”

Travelers are encouraged to sign up for alerts from airlines so they can be notified as soon as possible of a change in flight.

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