Nearly 3,000 flights have been cancelled worldwide as airlines cite COVID-19 staffing issues, according to reports.
United Airlines confirmed that more than 100 flights that were scheduled for Christmas Eve have been canceled by the company as it grapples with the spread of the omicron variant, according to the Hill.
So far, 4,604 flights have been delayed. About 500 flights are delayed within, into, or out of the United States on Friday. Also, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines said Thursday that they had canceled hundreds of Christmas Eve flights.
JetBlue has also canceled more than 50 flights. Alaska Airlines said in a statement to CNN that it had canceled 17 flights on Thursday because of omicron, and that more cancellations were possible on Friday. Per CNN, it has cancelled 11 more flights as of Friday morning, according to the Hill.
White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that large gatherings this holiday season are not safe from the coronavirus, even for those fully vaccinated with a booster shot.
"Christmas travel would increase the spread of the variant even among the fully vaccinated," he said.
The flight cancellations come as Francis Collins, the outgoing National Institutes of Health director, warned on Sunday that the US could begin seeing 1 million COVID-19 infections per day if Americans don't take coronavirus precautions.