SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Air travelers throughout the United States experienced added stress for the holidays this weekend.
More than 7,300 flights were cancelled or delayed on Saturday, Dec. 25. Around four thousand flights were impacted on Christmas day with airlines citing staff shortages due to COVID-19 infections.
Those issues have also continued into Monday as people around the country try to get home.
The Sioux Falls Regional Airport has been busy for the holidays with flights coming and going. Those arriving to Sioux Falls are just happy to finally be here and off the plane.
“There was a little setback because on the flight to Sioux Falls they had to do a maintenance check and we all had to get off the plane for them to do that and then to re-board. So we’re quite late getting in right now, we’re about 40 minutes late arriving,” traveler Judy Veerman said.
“There’s a lot of delays so I had to hop on a bunch of different flights after sitting on the runway for a couple hours but we made it after sleeping in the Minneapolis airport last night,” Traveler Joshua Davis said.
“Our son and daughter-in-law were trying to fly from Anchorage to Houston yesterday but the weather was so bad in Seattle that the airport was closed and they never made it. So we were really happy that we were flying directly here,” Veerman said.
After a weekend of cancelled or delayed flights across the country, passengers leaving from Sioux Falls today were just hoping for smooth skies throughout their trip.
“We are snowbirds in Arizona. I flew home to have Christmas with my daughter and family. My husband flew to Bismarck to have Christmas with his family and he’s stuck and I’m headed home,” traveler Cheryl Neustel said.
“I do have to get back to work, tomorrow I think it is, so I hope everything works out fine. But, you know, it is what it is,” traveler Robert Meyer said.
Sioux Falls had 25 planes scheduled for take-off today with over 2,600 passengers. The executive director for the airport’s administration says that’s near a daily record for them.
Several airlines have been requesting the CDC shorten the quarantine period for infected staff by half, as they did for health care workers earlier this month.
U.S. health officials on late Monday afternoon that it would cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.