(KRON) — JetBlue Airways announced it’s canceling approximately 1,280 flights starting Thursday through mid-January to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The announcements comes after several major airlines including United Airlines, Delta Airlines and American Airlines, have canceled more than 4,000 flights since Christmas Eve due to bad weather and staff shortages.
“Like many businesses and organizations, we have seen a surge in the number of sick calls from Omicron. We entered the holiday season with the highest staffing levels we’ve had since the pandemic began and are using all resources available to cover our staffing needs,” said Derek Dombrowski, manager of corporate communications for JetBlue.
“The health and safety of our crewmembers and customers remains our top priority as we work through this pandemic, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that these schedule changes bring.”
The airlines said regarding change and cancel flexibility, all JetBlue fares come with free change and cancel ability except for Blue Basic fares which come with flexibility for a fee.
A fee waiver is available for all customers with travel through January who want to adjust their plans.
To learn more, click here.
“Like many businesses and organizations, we have seen a surge in the number of sick calls from Omicron. We entered the holiday season with the highest staffing levels we’ve had since the pandemic began and are using all resources available to cover our staffing needs,” said Dombrowski.
“To give our customers give as much notice possible to make alternate plans and re-accommodate them on other flights, we are proactively reducing our schedule through January 13.”
Dombrowski tells KRON4 News a team of 22,000 crewmembers, many of whom are stepping up and volunteering, are working additional hours to get customers where they need to go.
To minimize disruption from Omicron, the airlines is implementing the following steps:
- Deploying leaders and managers to staff frontline operations where they are trained to do so.
- Offering additional incentives for crewmembers not scheduled to work to pick up additional shifts and trips.
- Trimming our schedule in advance to give customers as much notice as possible and reduce last-minute cancellations at the airport.
- Cancelling flights where there is the least amount of disruption to customers, especially in cases where we can combine flights to the same destination.
Additionally, the airlines is anticipating an increase of COVID-19 cases throughout the next couple weeks in the northeast — where a majority of crewmembers are based.
“This means there is a high likelihood of additional cancellations until case counts start to come down,” said Dombrowski.
“Anyone traveling should monitor their flight status on jetblue.com, review all email notifications from JetBlue, and arrive at the airport early, especially for those checking bags or traveling internationally, in the event lines and wait times are longer than normal.”