Flight Cancellations & Delays Travel Report

Flight cancellations persisted across the U.S. into the first week of January as a combination of winter weather and the Omicron variant affected U.S. carriers.

Adit Damodaran - Jan. 11, 2022

Summary:

Cancellations & Delays

  • Flight cancellations persisted across the U.S. into the first week of January as a combination of winter weather and the Omicron variant affected U.S. carriers. Thus far, the worst day for cancellations appears to have been Monday, January 3rd, 2022, which saw over 3.3k flights canceled, or just under 15% of all flights scheduled to depart that day.

  • Delays began a bit earlier than cancellations over the holiday season, with particularly high delays on Saturday, December 18th, 2021. Delays climbed rapidly after Christmas ahead of New Year’s, peaking on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022.  

Disruption Products

  • Collectively, our Flight Disruption Guarantee (Flight Delay & Missed Connection) is purchased with 21% of all bookings (around 1 in every 5), which is up from 17% pre-Omicron. 


Flight Disruption: Cancellations & Delays

Methodology: For cancellations, we look at the number of flights scheduled to depart from U.S. airports that were canceled on a given day. Similarly, delays are flights departing from U.S. airports that were delayed by at least 15 minutes. As a subset of delays, we also highlight delays over an hour long. There are two y-axes: the left axis represents the number of flights affected whereas the right side gives this same number as a percentage of total flights scheduled. 

Cancellations

Flight cancellations persisted across the U.S. into the first week of January as a combination of winter weather and the Omicron variant affected U.S. carriers. Thus far, the worst day for cancellations appears to have been Monday, January 3rd, 2022, which saw over 3.3k flights canceled, or just under 15% of all flights scheduled to depart that day. We saw cancellations pick up significantly beginning on Christmas Eve (Friday, December 24th, 2021). 

US

Delays

Significant delays began a bit earlier than cancellations over the holiday season, with particularly high delays on Saturday, December 18th, 2021. Delays climbed rapidly after Christmas ahead of New Year’s, peaking on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022. Unlike cancellations, delays have trended down steadily over the past week. 

US

Impacted Airports

Methodology: When assessing impacted airports, we looked at the percent of cancellations and delays for both inbound and outbound flights over the last 30 days (December 11th, 2021 through January 7th, 2022). Airports were ranked by the average percent of scheduled flights affected in that period.

Airports most impacted by cancellations saw severe winter weather over the holidays, whereas those most impacted by delays also likely included airports affected by Omicron related staffing shortages. 

Airport

For Seattle cancellations were most acute the day after Christmas. Chicago airports saw their highest rate of cancellations on New Year’s while D.C’s Reagan National airport experienced its highest rate of cancellations the Monday after New Year’s. With 90% of scheduled flights into and out of DCA cancelled on Monday, January 3rd due to an overnight winter storm, it was the airport most impacted by cancellations over the holiday season. Buffalo’s airport was most impacted Thursday, January 6th.  

Highest

Dallas Love experienced high delays both the week prior to Christmas and around New Year’s weekend, whereas Newark and Denver were affected closer to New Year’s. Spokane and Las Vegas saw their highest percent of delays between Christmas and New Year’s. 

Highest

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