MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - COVID-19 has once again caused flight frustrations, as at least three major airlines cancelled flights left and right, causing stress and confusion among travelers, but it was smooth sailing at one South Florida airport on Christmas Eve.
There were no long lines, or long waits at Miami International Airport for many traveling Friday night.
“No frustrations, no cancellations, awesome experiences,” said Bryant Thomas, who was traveling from Atlanta.
As of Friday night, MIA had only reported 17 cancellations.
“Nobody is here, [the Transportation Security Administration area] is empty,” said Lucia Desantana, who was traveling to Uruguay.
A passenger told 7News that she took full advantage of the low turnout and purchased her flight just a few hours earlier.
“There were 10, 12 empty seats on the flight to Uruguay. We got good seats at a pretty good price,” she said.
It was a sharp contrast to what travelers at other airports experienced Friday.
The cancellations from major airlines left travelers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport scrambling to find flights.
One woman who had her flight cancelled said that it’s definitely been stressful.
The airlines are blaming COVID’s newest omicron variant, saying it’s taking a toll on flight crews. Many crew members have been left sick and unable to work.
As a result, United cancelled more than 320 flights, Delta more than 330 flights Friday and Saturday, and JetBlue has cancelled over 140 flights.
At MIA, five of the cancellations were American Airlines flights.
Christian Copeland and her family are among those that were stuck and stranded at FLL. She’s trying to get home to San Francisco, but has already spent hundreds of dollars to try and make it happen.
“We just had to spend extra money on, like, warm clothes,” she said. “We came into a warm climate, but now we’re going back into colder climate, because we might be stuck in Atlanta, might get stuck in Detroit.”
Brandy Peoples flight was cancelled as well. She and her children have also been breaking the bank to get back home to Kentucky.
“Definitely spending some extra money, trying to figure out what is going to be the incremental cost when it’s all said and done, to be able to still get home on the same day,” she said.
United Airlines released a statement that reads, “We’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport. We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”
Copeland said that although this isn’t the way she planned to spend the holidays, and she’s trying her best to see the bigger picture.
“I mean, at least we’re together, but yes, we’re trying to get to the Christmas festivities, but we might not make it. We might be a day late,” said Copeland.
Airline officials advise travelers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
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