‘Stuck’ travelers scramble to get home for Christmas after flights canceled

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Hundreds of flights are canceled across the country, including dozens out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, leaving travelers stranded on Christmas Eve.

Delta, United, JetBlue and other airlines nixed hundreds of domestic flights, and even more international ones. Their main reason for the cancellations is the spike in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, leaving them short-staffed.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating, of course, because we’re stuck here. We can’t travel, so what can I do?” said Oscar Cardozo.

He and his son were supposed to fly home to Montreal from Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon but got an email hours before their flight saying it was canceled.

Now, they’re stuck, and on top of finding a new flight, they also need to get new coronavirus tests, as they’re required to be done 72 hours before their flight, and Friday marks three days since they got theirs.


“The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” United said in a statement. “As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”

Delta said it canceled flights Friday because of the impact of omicron and the possibility of bad weather after it had “exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying.”

The airlines both said they were trying to rebook passengers.

Cardozo was left looking for a way to get home.

“Try to find somebody that’s got answers for us,” he said.

The biggest pieces of advice experts are giving right now are to check ahead before going to the airport and to take a look in advance at what other flights are heading to the same place around the same time, just in case your flight gets canceled at the last minute.

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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