SALT LAKE CITY — Weather and the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are combining to make Christmas air travel a challenge for thousands of Americans and potentially millions worldwide.
READ: Hundreds of Christmas Eve flights canceled due to COVID-19
Some of those impacts are hitting Salt Lake International Airport.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, nearly two dozen flights had been delayed locally and 14 others canceled.
Elaine Archuleta from Taylorsville spent a sleepless night wondering if her son and his family would make it home in time for the holiday.
She was overjoyed when they all finally arrived early Friday morning and especially thrilled to see her young grandson, Anthony.
“He put a little dance on for me to see and just fills my heart for Christmas!” Elaine said. “The best gift I could ever get!”
It turned out to be a 12-hour travel ordeal for this young family on a flight from Tulsa, Oklahoma which typically only takes a few hours.
“Yeah, we got laid over for 7 hours and we slept in the little nursing room because we had nowhere to go, and we had to figure out a flight, so,” said Mario Archuleta. “Any kind of travel with a toddler can be difficult but a 7 hour layover?” asked reporter Scott McKane. “7 hour layover, yeah,” Mario answered.
The family was very emotional and appreciative about getting to Utah and being able to spend Christmas together.
READ: American Airlines cancels over 740 flights Sunday, citing weather and staffing issues
That may not be the case for many others here in the US and around the world.
Globally, airlines have canceled more than 2000 flights and hundreds are now canceled here in the U.S.
Airline officials say much of the problem has to do with the rapid spread of Omicron which is forcing flight crews and ground personnel to call out sick.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your flight .. as well as the itineraries for friends and family.