Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

American Airlines glitch means no Xmas pilots

American Airlines glitch means no Xmas pilots

"Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are now unassigned to pilots", American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said to USA TODAY's Today in the Sky blog.

American says it hopes to resolve the problem to avoid canceling flights.

The airline is offering pilots pay at 50 per cent higher than normal rates in a bid to crew the jeopardised flights.

Still, some pilots indicated that there is still enough time to fix the situation.

"While the overtime is legal, the way they're doling out is not in compliance with our contract", said Capt. Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the APA in an interview with CNN.

The scheduling problem, which American described as an isolated incident, could affect flights at around a dozen airports, including the carrier's primary hub at Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as airports in Boston, Charlotte, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City.

While American Airlines says only a "few hundred" flights remain without pilots, the Allied Pilots Association says the true number of flights still in jeopardy on cancellation is in the "thousands". The system let pilots drop some trips they had been assigned next month because it incorrectly showed that there were sufficient crew members willing to pick up the flights. You want the days off?

The Grinch may not steal Christmas at American Airlines, after all.

"In addition, we have more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months, and they provide us with the ability to fly numerous trips that are now uncovered", spokesman Matt Miller said.

The APA said it has responded by filing a Presidential Grievance, and said that neither it nor the contract between APA pilots and the airline can guarantee the promised payment of the premium being offered.

A scheduling glitch could leave American Airlines passengers stranded for one of the busiest travel times of the year.

"I'm watching a "Grinch that stole Christmas" thing happening", he added to Reuters.

In contrast to American's suggestion that the problem is well under control, APA said in a November 30 statement that it remains "seriously concerned" about "significant schedule disruption" over the holidays.

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