Some airline passengers face rocky holiday travel as COVID, staffing issues cancel hundreds of flights

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) – COVID-19, combined with hundreds of cancellations nationwide, made for some tricky holiday travel for many airline passengers.  Hundreds of U.S. flights were canceled and hundreds more delayed due to COVID-related staffing problems.

The foot traffic inside the terminal at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was light for the evening of Christmas Eve. Some passengers we talked to say their travel experience was smooth sailing, while others say it was a little rocky.

“We were supposed to leave at 6:55, then 7:15, 7:51, now 8:51,” said passenger Sabrina Turner.

The Turner family was eager to board their Spirit flight to Orlando to spend Christmas with relatives.

“I just want to get to my grandparents, cousins, you know, just spend time with the family,” said Lanaya Turner.

“I’m just glad to be here because this is a good vacation time for us, so we’re just hoping and praying that we won’t get canceled or delayed or anything any further,” said Michael Turner.

Nationwide, airlines including United, Delta and JetBlue canceled a total of 600 U.S. flights, mainly due to staff coming down with or quarantining for COVID-19.

2,300 flights were canceled around the world and another 1,800 were delayed on Christmas Eve.

“A little concerned about cancellations, we were concerned about getting stuck in Florida, but we were fine,” said Jennifer Arian.

Friday evening, the schedule board at Hopkins Airport showed a few cancellations, all appearing to be United flights.

The Arian family says they weren’t as concerned about cancellations as they were making sure they all took precautions to avoid COVID.

“We took Allegiant and they were great and everything, in terms of sanitizing and making sure, you know, that the kids were safe and we were safe,” said Matt Arian.

“With COVID, yes, definitely concerned, but we were all wearing masks and vaccinated, so hopefully we took the necessary precautions,” added his wife, Jennifer.

Lufthansa Airlines cancelled a dozen Trans-Atlantic flights, but PJ Borojvic made it from Germany to Cleveland in time for the holidays.

“If you don’t have the vaccine, like documents, you can’t go inside, it’s really hard… I came here because I have family, I want to visit my family for the Christmas time and I took the PCR test. Even if you are vaccinated, you have to take the PCR test,” said Borojvic.

A spokesman tells FOX 8 the airport cannot say exactly how many flights were cancelled at Hopkins, but as always, they ask travelers to check with their airline before making their way to the airport.

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