A Chicago snowstorm caused more than 1,000 flight cancelations as New Year travel mayhem worsens.

The winter storm is the latest blow to the travel industry as around 900 flights were canceled across the US on Thursday due to the new Covid variant causing staff shortages.

On Saturday, over 1,000 flights were canceled in Chicago as a New Year's Day snowstorm made its way into the area.

At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, 844 flights were canceled, while at Midway Airport, an additional 273 were axed.

By late Saturday afternoon on the East Coast, more than 2,600 US flights and nearly 4,600 worldwide had been canceled, according to tracking service FlightAware.

That is the highest single-day U.S. toll yet since just before Christmas, when airlines began blaming staffing shortages on increasing COVID-19 infections among crews.

More than 12,000 U.S. flights have been canceled since December 24.

JetBlue has axed another 1,280 more flights between December 30 and January 13 as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.

Southwest Airlines suspended all operations at Midway and O'Hare airports because of the forecast.

An airline spokeswoman said Southwest knows from years of operating at Midway that high winds and blowing snow make it hard to get planes back in the air quickly.

City officials warned travelers about how the winter storm would impact holiday weekend travel plans.


Forecasters in Chicago predict the heaviest periods of snow to fall between 2pm and 11pm across the area.

A winter storm warning is in effect for nearly all Chicago-area suburbs.

In Cook County, the warning began at noon on Saturday and will continue until 6am Sunday.

The alert said that about five to nine inches of snow are expected to fall across the region with wind gusts of 40 mph in the afternoon and evening.

Travel was projected to be problematic during the storm, with blowing snow expected to dramatically reduce visibility in open areas.

According to the National Weather Service, a winter storm with heavy snow is expected to stride toward the Northeast as a new storm hits the Pacific Northwest.


On Wednesday, more than 850 flights were axed by midday, per the tracking website FlightAware.

Travelers have been hit with chaos across the holiday season as there were around 1,300 cancelations on Tuesday and another 1,500 on Monday.

Carriers such as JetBlue, United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines have axed more than 4,000 flights since Christmas Eve.

In a note obtained by CNBC, three JetBlue bosses said: "This past week has been one of our most difficult operating periods during the pandemic.

"The exponential growth in Omicron cases over just a couple of days is at a level that no one could reasonably prepare for."

SkyWest was forced to scrap 195 flights as severe weather hit its hubs and reported staffing issues.

The Pacific Northwest was battered with cold and heavy snow over the weekend.

Seattle-Tacoma international airport had the highest percentage of departing and arriving flights on Wednesday, according to FlightAware.

The south of the country also saw travel chaos as on Tuesday, 164 flights were delayed at Miami Airport.

Meanwhile, at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, there were 117 flights delayed, according to data released on Tuesday afternoon.

Pictures from Ronald Reagan airport in Arlington, Virginia, show staff trying to sort through dozens of suitcases and bags in the departure terminal.

The sudden delays and cancelations left travelers scrambling to get home.