JetBlue cancels nearly 1,300 flights over a two-week period

JetBlue has canceled 1,280 flights between Dec. 30 and Jan. 13 as it continues to deal with a surge in sick calls from employees infected with the omicron variant of Covid-19. 

“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,” the New York-based airline said in a Thursday email. “To give our customers as much notice as possible to make alternate plans and re-accommodate them on other flights, we are proactively reducing our schedule.”

As a result of the cancellations, JetBlue is waiving change fees on its basic economy tickets through Jan. 31. JetBlue’s other fare classes never have change fees.

Many JetBlue customers with canceled flights will be eligible for a refund. 

The carrier’s announcement comes as U.S. travelers face a seventh straight day of heavy flight cancellations. As of 1 p.m. on the East Coast, more than 1,100 U.S. flights had been canceled and nearly 3,200 delayed, according to FlightAware. 

JetBlue canceled 17% of its Thursday schedule. Allegiant had the highest cancellation rate among mainline U.S. carriers at 18%. 

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