PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Thousands of people who traveled home for the holidays are now trying to get back to Pittsburgh, but flight delays and cancellations are making it difficult.

It’s a mess here and across the country as several factors collide at once: a surge of travelers over the holidays, airline employees not being able to work because of COVID and bad weather. After enjoying the holidays, it’s not the news many travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport wanted to hear Monday.

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“Our flight today was originally canceled,” said Brian Leard who was trying to fly home to Lawrence, Kansas.

“Originally I was supposed to fly from Pittsburgh to D.C. and up to Hartford, and D.C. was snowed out. The flights have been canceled,” said Michael Lawn from State College.

Flight delays and cancellations have made it a rough road home for many. On Monday alone, more than 4,500 domestic flights were canceled across the country. In Pittsburgh, 43 flights were canceled, about 15% of all flights, and more than 75 were delayed.

The holiday surge put pressure on the system. More than 2 million people went through TSA checkpoints Sunday, Jan. 2, a big jump from the 1.3 million compared to last year.

But the virus and weather were too much to handle.

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“What’s amazing is it’s affecting all airlines, many airports. It’s a mess on a mess on a mess,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst.

Airlines are working to get employees back after COVID illness and exposure, with the Omicron variant wreaking havoc.

The multiple flight cancellations mean Lawn has to delay starting his new job.

“I talked to my company and they’re going to have to push my start date back a week and figure out new plans from there,” he said.

The bad weather continues along the coast of the northeastern united states, so be sure to check online for your flight status.

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Things are looking better for Tuesday with only about 300 cancellations across the country and improving weather.

Kristine Sorensen