As Omicron Overshadows Christmas, Thousands of Flights Are Canceled

The setbacks were evident for travelers around the country. On Christmas Eve morning, mats, blankets and pillows lined the floors of the Twin Cities airport, where people had been forced to sleep the night before.

Catherine Lynn, a sales specialist in Watersound, Fla., said she had spent more than two hours on Friday attempting to rebook a flight for her son, who learned his flight that afternoon had been canceled when he tried to check in on the Delta app.

Ms. Lynn said she was happy that she had been able to book a new flight for her son for Friday evening, but she will have to drive to a farther-away airport to pick him up, potentially missing out on Christmas Eve dinner.

At the tail end of a line for rebooking flights, Cesar Zerrato of Elizabeth, N.J., let out a long, anguished moan that drew the attention of a few travelers ahead of him in line at Kennedy International Airport in Queens, N.Y.

Mr. Zerrato, 52, was supposed to be in Bogotá, Colombia, with family for Christmas. Instead, he was caught in an airport loop. On Wednesday his flight to Bogotá from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was canceled, and he had traveled back to the Northeast for a flight to Bogotá from J.F.K. Except now that flight had been canceled, too.

He was trying to rebook on a flight scheduled for Christmas morning.

Mr. Zerrato, still sporting on Friday the jeans and Star Wars T-shirt he had been wearing since Wednesday, described the journey as “all the time, lines, lines.”

He was back in New York, but without his luggage. He feared his bags had managed to do what he hadn’t: Get on a plane out of the country.

Sean Piccoli, Madeleine Ngo and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.