PDX largely spared from COVID-canceled holiday flights


Airlines all say only a very small percentage of their flights are canceled

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Santa isn’t the only one flying this holiday weekend. But thousands of travelers may have to adjust their plans as airlines cancel flights over staffing shortages caused by COVID issues.

Airlines that fly into and out of PDX have canceled flights, but so far none of the cancellations have affected Portland. Alaska canceled 9 flights on Friday and expect about the same number on Christmas Day. United canceled 180 flights on Friday, while Delta nixed 158 flights.

PDX Arrivals
PDX Departures

But all the airlines said those cancellations are a small percentage of their daily flights, and that most travelers are flying as scheduled.

Travelers at PDX who spoke with KOIN 6 News said things, so far, have been fine.

Julie was at the airport waiting for her husband to arrive. “We’re super excited. We have signs,” she said. Her husband was “just a little delayed, no cancellations.”

Rachel said the same thing as she waited for her son to arrive.

“My son proposed to his fiancé last week, coming home for the holidays, so he doesn’t know we’re standing out here,” Rachel said. But her son wasn’t delayed at all, she said.

Jim Richardson, who was traveling, said he heard about the delays in the news and was worried about it. But he had no problems.

Richardson, who said he’s vaccinated, also said he got tested within 24 hours of his flight. “I’m all boosted and everything so I felt safer that way. I think with omicron I think you could see a lot of things canceled. I do believe that.”

Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said the airlines have been upfront about what’s causing these cancellations.

“United and Delta have been vocal in admitting that many of these cancellations are because of COVID,” Harteveldt said, “even though they have vaccinated employees, and even though they and other airlines have taken steps to reduce the chance of COVID affecting their workforce.”

Like the pandemic, travel experts said this is a global issue.

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