A family walks through Terminal A at Orlando International Airport on Christmas Day. AP
Severe weather is compounding the travel chaos in the United States, with storms expected to wreak havoc on roadways in the country's west, though they brought a white Christmas weekend to Seattle and parts of California.
According to Flightaware.com, more than 2,000 flights were cancelled on Sunday — including more than 570 originating from, or headed to, US airports. More than 4,000 delays were reported.
Aircrew and ground staff have fallen sick or gone into quarantine after exposure to Covid, forcing Lufthansa, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and other carriers to cancel flights during a peak travel period.
More than 2,800 flights were scrubbed around the globe on Saturday, including more than 990 originating from or headed to US airports, with over 8,500 delays. On Friday, there were around 2,400 cancellations and 11,000 delays.
"Help @united flight cancelled again. I want to get home for Christmas," one exasperated traveler from the US state of Vermont tweeted early Saturday.
Flightaware data showed United canceled around 200 flights on Friday and nearly 250 Saturday — about 10 percent of those that were scheduled.
"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 Friday.
Delta scrapped 310 flights Saturday and over 100 more Sunday, saying it has "exhausted all options and resources." "We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans," the company said.
The cancellations added to the frustration for many people eager to reunite with their families over the holidays after last year's Christmas was severely curtailed.
Chinese airlines accounted for the highest number of cancellations, with China Eastern scrapping more than 1,000 flights, over 20 percent of its flight plan, on Friday and Saturday — and Air China grounding about 20 percent of its scheduled departures over the period.
The American Automobile Association estimated more than 109 million Americans would travel by plane, train or automobile between December 23 and January 2, a 34 percent increase over the last year.
But most of those plans were made before the detection of Omicron, which has become the dominant strain in the United States, overwhelming hospitals and healthcare workers.
The state of New York reported a record 44,431 new daily positive Covid tests on Friday, as new cases surged nationwide.
As unseasonably warm temperatures were bathing eastern states, the National Weather Service announced winter storm warnings, including a deep freeze, for significant parts of the west.
"Anomalously cold conditions and a barrage of Pacific moisture results in prolonged periods of mountain snow and coastal/valley rain, some of which may fall heavy at times," the NWS said.
An eye-popping two to four feet (61 to 122 centimetres) of snow was forecast to fall this weekend in the Sierra mountains and state of Oregon.
Travel will be "treacherous to at times impossible" from the Sierras to the central Rocky Mountains at the weekend due to whiteout snow conditions, the NWS said.
A government body dealing with the pandemic said the monthlong travel restrictions would start from Saturday and aim to prevent the spread into the country of coronavirus strains from other countries which are believed to be more contagious.
"It is not just a mission that brought back stranded and distressed citizens from around the world, but Vande Bharat has been a mission of hope and happiness, of letting people know that they will not be left behind even in the most testing times," Puri said.
Kuwait has suspended all flights from India until further notice, Bahrain has updated International arrival procedures for passengers from India. Germany is sharply restricting travel from India and Iran has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan.
It was not immediately clear which routes and air carriers would be affected. The NCOC added the decision would be reviewed on May 18. Inbound air traffic will operate at 20% of the total current quantum, while there is no change in the existing Category C list countries.
On her first official visit, Sheikha Bodour met with the Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer, Provost, Deans, University Librarian, and Chief of Protocol to learn about the various portfolios and departments of the university.
The latest emergency order covers the southern region of La Araucania, next to the previously declared Biobio and Nuble regions, located near the middle of the South American country's long Pacific coastline.
The meeting also reviewed the Dubai Waste Management Centre in Al Warsan, the largest of its kind to turn waste into energy. Dubai Municipality launched this in partnership with Dubai Holding and Dubai Holding.