More delays and cancelations at Sea-Tac as holiday travel season winds down

SEATTLE — The trip home after the holidays proved rough for thousands of travelers, with nearly twice as many cancelations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday as the day before.

The COVID staffing crunch affecting all airlines is one reason.

The weather is another.

While conditions were finally better in Seattle after a week of snow and ice, passengers returning to the Northwest found themselves contending with cancelations because of snow on the East Coast.

Passengers connecting at Sea-Tac for flights to Alaska also ran into problems.

“I can’t get out of here until the seventh,” said Rick Discher, heading home to Sitka. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. I’ve flown out of here a lot.”

Doug Koester’s family tried to get home to Juneau, but there’s bad weather there and a backlog of passengers.

“It’s canceled for today and maybe days and days,” Koester said.

Alaska Airlines canceled 81 flights Monday across its system because of workers out with COVID and the residual impacts of winter weather.

FlightAware reported more than a hundred cancelations Monday at SEA from all airlines, and more than 3,000 nationwide.

Washington, D.C. was particularly hard hit because of a snowstorm.

Passengers also missed flights leaving Sea-Tac for reasons other than weather.

Yalem Almaw arrived three hours early for the first leg of her trip to Ethiopia, only to miss it waiting in a long line at Alaska Airlines.

“There weren’t enough people here to service us,” she said, saying the airline should suggest an earlier arrival time.

Leyla Elazmaoui is headed for Sudan.

She missed a flight after waiting more than four hours in line at the airport for a COVID test.

“My next step is finding a new flight to New Jersey,” she said.

Port of Seattle officials said more than two thousand flights, or about 12 percent, were canceled at SEA over the holidays.

The worst days were December 26th and 30th.