American Airlines glitch gives pilots holiday at Christmas

Aaron Brown
December 3, 2017

The carrier and its pilot union said Friday that there will be enough pilots available to cover all of American's December flights, despite its scheduling blunder.

With the upcoming December holiday travel season, many were shocked on Wednesday when management at American Airlines revealed that there had been an error involving the pilot schedule bidding system.

However, the latest word from the airline is that these issues have been addressed.

The error caused the scheduling system to show that the airline had sufficient crew for some flights when it did not.

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"With this agreement in principle, we anticipate that American Airlines will be able to maintain a full December schedule as planned for its passengers", the Allied Pilots Association (APA) wrote in a statement to its members. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve almost 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. "That number of open flights continues to decrease, thanks to our pilots who are stepping up to the plate and picking up trips", American said.

But the union that represents American Airlines' pilots disputes the airline's calculations, saying "thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned". But that means American will have to rebuild its schedule and is offering pilots time and a half their normal hourly wage.

American said that the two sides "have put that worry to rest to make sure our flights will operate as scheduled".

On Friday, after pilots sat down with American's senior leadership, the union announced it had withdrawn a grievance, which said that American's initial solution to the staffing shortage violated the pilots' contract because of how it restricted overtime pay. Both the carrier and the pilots' association have not disclosed the details of the settlement. Still, stressed fliers took to social media, asking the airline if they'd be able to make it home during the busy holiday season.

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