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North Texas-based airlines cancel flights amid omicron, staff shortages & winter weather

American Airlines planes.
Matt York
Associated Press
American Airlines jets sit idly at their gates as a jet arrives at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.

Airlines say staffing shortages and winter weather are contributing to cancellations.

On Monday, more than 1,000 flights in the U.S. were canceled. That's in addition to the more than 3,000 domestic and international flights that were canceled over the holiday weekend, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Stranded passengers were forced to cancel or postpone their holiday plans.

Airlines based in North Texas weren’t hit as hard as other airlines. However, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and Fort Worth-based American Airlines were still forced to cancel flights due to the omicron surge, staff shortages, as well as winter weather in other parts of the country.

Southwest Airlines had to cancel at least 50 flights on Monday due to weather conditions, according to a spokesperson for the airline.

Derek Walls, spokesperson for American Airlines, said in an email that a number of COVID-related sick calls led to cancellations on Monday. He said the airline proactively notified customers and is working as quickly as possible to rebook the flights.

At least 86 American Airlines flights were canceled on Sunday. Another 84 were canceled Monday, according to

Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said the airline booked too many flights with too few pilots.

“The bottom line is you don't have enough pilots to fly the operation that you sold tickets for,” Tajer said. “That's just wrong. You can't plan on perfect days, you have to plan for the tough days.”

Tajer said pilots’ priority is to the passengers but that the airline’s overbooking is causing hardship for pilots as well.

“We’re stuck out away from home, missing holiday events when we get reassigned onto another flight that has been moved around and the pilots didn't make it,” Tajer said. “This creates a lot of not only professional but personal havoc.”

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the Growth and Infrastructure Reporter for KERA News.