LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Thousands of flights were either canceled or delayed over the holiday weekend across the U.S., but here in Blue Grass state, flight operations were unaffected by the mass travel hysteria.
Delta Airlines reported that across the U.S. on Sunday, Dec. 26, “Delta canceled 374 of 4,155 scheduled mainline and connection flights.” With Delta Airline hubs in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Seattle (SEA), Salt Lake City (SLC), Delta saw operations continue to be disrupted through Monday because of the winter weather, as well as the omicron variant’s impact on flight crews.
In Kentucky, The Blue Grass Airport (LEX) reported zero cancelations and saw 70 total flights on Sunday, accommodating around 4,000 travelers both inbound and outbound.
Lauren White, Community Relations Manager, said they expect to see the same numbers Tuesday, Dec. 28.
LEX connects travelers to 18 different destinations across the U.S., and so far has not seen any impacts on airport operations, due to the state’s rising cases of the omicron variant. LEX said they’ve continued to enforce the federal mask mandates and do not plan on changing their policies anytime soon.
While operations were smooth sailing for LEX over the holiday weekend, travelers encountered hiccups either inbound or outbound at the airport.
Sarah McCann, one traveler who was visiting family in Lexington from Houston, Tx., said, “My first flight actually got canceled a couple of days before I was even supposed to go to the airport, so it was about two days before they already canceled my flight going into Chicago.”
McCann is one of the thousands of travelers who ran into repeated issues with holiday travel.
“I was supposed to leave at 7:30 on Christmas eve, I didn’t leave until 10. They delayed that flight, and that was frustrating. I was like, “Aw man again?” McCann said.
Flying out LEX, McCann’s odds would increasingly be in her favor as the airport did not have to cancel or delay any flights over the holiday weekend, nor anticipate having to do so this week.
“We were thankful to not have seen any of the interruptions that many travelers were seeing nationwide,” Lauren White, Community Relations Manager at the Blue Grass airport said. “We definitely saw a good amount of holiday travelers, especially coming home from some different locations on Sunday, which was great to see.”
White also reported that the airport saw an increase in the number of travelers taking advantage of the long holiday weekend.
“It was definitely a peak day for us,” White said. “We saw somewhere between four-to-five thousand travelers in the Bluegrass Airport on Sunday alone.”
Kentucky’s weather reached the seventies over the holiday weekend, and the airport reported no staffing shortages due to rising omicron cases.
”That’s why we were running well and didn’t run into any issues,” White said.
Another traveler was Rebecca Neely, who arrived in Lexington Monday afternoon after visiting family in Boston.
“That flight was canceled, then there was another flight that evening, but it was canceled, so I was put on the 10’oclock flight the next morning,” Neely said.
Neely said her experience with Delta Airlines had always been positive, but this trip was a downward cascade of errors. Neely said she was even offered meal and hotel vouchers that got switched up by accident, causing her more inconvenience on her forced overnight stay.
Monday morning, Neely was supposed to fly into Louisville, but no flights were available, so she flew into Lexington instead, and ran into yet another problem.
“They lost my luggage. They don’t know where it’s at. I was just praying to God to get me here. It was exhausting, I’m very tired,” Neely said.
Delta has assured Neely that her lost luggage will be located and delivered to her home.
The best way travelers have been able to stay informed throughout the chaos has been through the airline’s apps. Travelers said the alerts have been helpful, including Carmen Serio.
Serio is flying on American Airlines with her family on their way to New Orleans. She got an alert Monday morning.
“We did get a notification about the lack of American Airlines employees who have come down with Covid, so we are kind of concerned that we are going to get a flight cancellation, but hopefully not.”
Serio said she and her family will be keeping their fingers crossed, as they prepared to board for their evening flight.
The long holiday weekend is not over for some yet.
White said LEX is expecting another peak day of travel Tuesday, as more Kentuckians return home from the holidays, as well as from canceled or delayed flights across the U.S.