Over the holidays, scores of airlines canceled flights because of weather conditions and staff out with COVID. Now United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has a plan: to cancel flights earlier, ie before passengers arrive at the airport, and reduce the number of flights to make sure there is enough staff.

Kirby also took the opportunity to praise the federal vaccine mask mandate, adding that among United’s 3,000 employees who currently have COVID-19, zero of its vaccinated employees are currently hospitalized.

“We have about 3,000 employees who are currently positive for COVID. Just as an example, in one day alone at Newark, nearly one-third of our workforce called out sick,” he wrote in a memo to employees.



In addition, he revealed that prior to the airline’s vaccine mandate, which took effect in September, more than one United employee was dying from COVID-19 every week.

“But we’ve now gone eight straight weeks with zero COVID-related deaths among our vaccinated employees,” he wrote, noting that based on available data, that means approximately eight to 10 lives were saved by the vaccine requirement.