SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While many people seemed to embrace traveling on Christmas Eve, passengers from coast to coast had to deal with flight cancellations throughout the day.

“I got a text message this morning saying that my flight was cancelled earlier,” said Patrick Schuler, a traveler at SFO. “It is what it is – things happen.”

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While several airlines had to cancel flights, the two U.S. carriers that cancelled the most flights were United Airlines and Delta Airlines. As of 5:30 p.m., United cancelled 194 flights, and Delta cancelled 171 flights, according to the flight-tracking website flightaware.com.

Spokespersons for both airlines explained the rapidly spreading Omicron variant had a direct impact on their operations.

A Delta spokesperson provided KPIX 5 with the following statement:

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“As winter weather impacts the northwest and northeast U.S. the omicron variant continues to surge, Delta teams exhausted all options and resources before canceling around 158 flights in Friday’s nearly 3,100-flight schedule.

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working together around the clock to reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get customers where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible. When that’s not possible, Delta Reservations specialists coordinate with our Operations and Customer Center to get those impacted on the next available flight.

“A combination of issues, including but not limited to inclement weather in some areas of the country and the impact of the omicron variant, are driving cancellations and potential delays. Upwards of 150 cancels are expected Saturday and Sunday. Customers are encouraged to check their flight status and manage their rebooking via Delta.com or the Fly Delta mobile app. Updates can also be sent directly to a mobile device or by email.”

A United Spokesperson provided KPIX 5 with the following statement:

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“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport. We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”