Pandemic keeps holiday travel numbers below average at MSP Airport

During this holiday season, MSP Airport is seeing an average of 30,000 flyers passing through its security checkpoints each day.

That’s about three quarters of what they would see before the pandemic, but not without more problems.

"It’s so frustrating, it’s very frustrating because I’m supposed to get there and I’m working tomorrow morning," traveler Margaret Mburu said.

Depending on the day, flyers have faced bad weather, staffing shortages, and on Monday morning, software glitches. Kyle Potter writes about all things airfare for Thrifty Traveler.

"It’s safe to say upwards of 90 to 100 cancellations in a day is not a good day if you’re an airline or airport," Potter said.

Sun Country cancelled all of its domestic flights scheduled before 8 on Monday morning because of a computer software problem.

"It’s kind of been a perfect storm of bad things happening," Potter said.

Margaret Mburu saw her plans take an unexpected turn later in the afternoon. Her Delta flight back to Washington, D.C. was delayed several times.

"I don’t know if it’ll be canceled or if they’ll just keep saying delayed," Mburu said.

"I definitely think it’s possible that will continue to see these kinds of mass cancellations well into the New Year," Potter continued. "The omicron variant is very clearly causing some major problems."

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cutting isolation restrictions from 10 days to five days on Monday, airlines could see employees who test positive return to work more quickly. But experts say travelers should always be ready for delays.

"I would really warn anyone who’s traveling, not just today or tomorrow, but basically any time into the New Year, to prepare for the worst," Potter said. "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."

"We’re going to do the very best we can to process people as quickly and efficiently as possible given the circumstances," MSP Airport spokesperson Patrick Hogan finished.