Some flights delayed and canceled at IAH on Christmas Day due to omicron surge

HOUSTON – Monday is going to be one of the busiest travel days of the year due to Christmas travelers heading home.

Experts say to pack your patience because thousands of flights have already been canceled this weekend due to COVID, coupled with staffing issues.

On Christmas Day, it was quiet at IAH, but this weekend, COVID and snowy weather conditions have caused thousands of flights across the U.S. to be scrapped.

Here in Houston, 40 flights were canceled leaving Bush Airport and 43 flights were canceled coming in.

Dena Dawson is back in Houston after celebrating her 50th birthday in Las Vegas.

“We wanted to do something different for Christmas,” Dawson said. “We had a three-day birthday celebration.”

Dawson said her celebration almost didn’t happen because her outbound flight was delayed for several hours.

She was also concerned about the growing number of COVID cases and the new omicron variant.

“I was like, ‘Do you think we need to go, do you think we need to stay?’” she said.

Over the weekend, more than 2,000 flights were canceled all across the nation due to rough weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, airline crews and staff that called out sick due to COVID-related issues.

“The plan was to be there for Christmas Eve with the folks, and dinner, and all those kinds of things,” another traveler Julie Beilfuss said. “It happens though. It’s not something that is in everyone’s control.”

In spite of rising COVID cases, millions are still traveling. The Transportation Security Administration reports more than 1.7 million people have been screened at airports across the country since Friday.

As we countdown to the new year, airport officials says don’t forget to pack your patience.

“Make sure that your cellphone is charged so that you are getting those airline alerts in case anything changes. I recommend you bring snacks, just in case lines are long and you’re getting hungry,” Director of Communications at Reno-Tahoe International Airport Stacey Sunday said.

Airport officials said if you’re traveling for the New Year, don’t forget to arrive at the airport extra early, don’t forget your mask and check in with your flight to see if anything has changed.